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Hollow Threats

Joel Pett
© Joel Pett

I’ve been wondering when someone would point out the utter ludicrousness of right wingers claiming that Obamacare was going to force businesses to lay off employees and cut benefits. Like, did they think we wouldn’t notice that they’ve been doing that for years without Obamacare?

Not to mention that just threatening to not raise the debt ceiling probably will cost far more jobs than Obamacare, while actually following through on their stupid threat will cost even more jobs. Why would we ever believe they care about jobs?

UPDATE: Actually, there is no evidence that Obamacare is causing an increase in part-time jobs at the expense of full-time jobs. In fact, the number of “involuntary” part-time jobs is falling. Apparently, this is another propaganda myth cooked up by anti-Obamacare forces (cough, Karl Rove and Fox News).



  1. Duckman wrote:

    Clearly your an economics major.

    Newsflash: When massive recessions hit companies cut back. When the economy fails to recover and/or shows sign of falling apart again they are going to continue cutting/keeping though cuts in order to horde cash and make it through the next problem.

    Newsflash 2.0: Jobs already cut/not added because of Obamacare

    Note: I am for obamacare. Just pointing out some very basic ways a company works.

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Clearly you’re not an English major.

    I may not be an economic major, but I’ve taken economics classes. And I’ve started companies and been hired as the CEO of other companies. So I like to think I know at least “some very basic ways a company works”.

    And in fact, I’m starting a new company now, and I very likely would not have done that if Obamacare didn’t exist. I am absolutely certain that the effect of Obamacare will be to increase jobs significantly. It is small businesses that generate most of the new jobs, and Obamacare will make it much easier for people to leave their current jobs and start a new business (since they will be able to have health insurance).

    Seems pretty obvious to me!

    Most of the claims that Obamacare will cut benefits comes from the provision that companies with more than 50 full time employees have to offer health insurance. Because of that, companies are getting rid of full time employees and hiring part time employees so they will have fewer than 50 full time employees. So if this is the problem, just change it! Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    I’ve also seen numbers that claim that employment will go down, but those numbers are based on projections that some people (particularly those close to retirement age) will leave their jobs earlier because they don’t have to keep working in order to have health insurance. So that will free up jobs for other people, which is a good thing!

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
  3. Michael wrote:

    There’s also more going on with the economy than just the claim that it hasn’t recovered from the recession. While I’m not an economist, I do read columns and books by a number of people that are. And they point out that there’s something very bizarre going on with corporations right now: failure to invest when traditional business cycle models say they should. Large corporations are experiencing record profits, the DJIA is at an all-time high, demand is (slowly) recovering, etc., etc. By textbook definitions of business cycles, companies should be in the midst of hiring and investing for future growth, but it’s not happening. Even the “This Time is Different” work of Reinhart and Rogoff fails to explain what’s going on.

    Economists are puzzled by the phenomenon. One working theory is that the obsession with shareholder value and quarterly profits has reached a tipping point.

    As for the effect of Obamacare on small business, I’ll defer to IK, because I have not started a small business. One thing that I am curious of is how it works with the franchise model. If every McDonald’s franchise owner has fewer than 50 employees, does that mean that McDonald’s is off the hook for health care benefits for all those employees? Beyond just the Obamacare question, at what point should a corporation be legally and morally responsible for the actions of its franchisees?

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  4. wildwood wrote:

    Is it silly to think that the people who are in charge of large companies might not be spending money in the hopes that a continuing sad economy will make it harder for the Democrats to get another president in office? I don’t have figures, but I’m guessing the the vast majority of those people voted Republican.

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink
  5. PapaJ wrote:

    Just a simple thank you again for sticking with Political Irony. You are obviously very busy and yet you find a way to share your insights. I for one appreciate it every day.

    I am a part of the economy. Retired from one career. Now retiring from consulting as I think about starting another business, while managing properties. I am encouraged that I will have health insurance options and I won’t be turned down for my per existing condition of having two knee replacements.

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
  6. Michael wrote:

    Wildwood, I find that unlikely. While there are exceptions like the Koch brothers and Papa John, I haven’t seen much evidence that big business leaders really get into politics. Sure, they vote Republican, but that’s because Republicans consistently work to lower their taxes. As for their businesses, they focus purely on the bottom line. I find it highly unlikely that they’re willing to cut their profits for up to 8 years as some sort of protest. Frankly, there isn’t enough of a difference between a Democratic president and a Republican president to make up for the lost cash in the short-run.

    Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink
  7. wildwood wrote:

    I don’t think it’s a form of protest. I think it’s looking at a longer picture. They can get more of what they want, legislatively, if the “right” people are in office, starting with the president, but not excluding congress. It might not be the only reason they are holding on to the money, but it might play a part in that decision.

    Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink
  8. Michael wrote:

    But a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. There is very little certainty that they can pull it off at the presidential level, especially given demographic trends. When it comes to playing state-level games with redistricting, the GOP has been very successful in holding onto power. That’s why PA voters cast 56% of their U.S. House votes for Democrats, but the Democrats only possess 6 out of 15 House seats. You can’t gerrymander votes for the presidential elections.

    It’s fine that we disagree. I just think it’s unlikely that the majority of business leaders are forgoing certain profits right now for the possibility of profits later. I just find the shareholder value theory to be more convincing.

    Friday, August 30, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Here’s an interesting addition to the conversation I found:

    I know it’s FOX but I didn’t see it anywhere else except the Washington Times, but thats also conservative.

    Friday, August 30, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    That’s old news. The AFLCIO has been proposing changes to Obamacare for a while. We’ve had lots of changes to Medicare and to Social Security over the years too.

    I agree with them that the exemption for workers who work less than 30 hours might be causing a problem, but personally I’d like to see how much of a problem it causes when the law actually goes into effect.

    UPDATE: See the update to the original post — the exemption for part-time workers is not causing a problem. This is propaganda.

    Friday, August 30, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  11. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree, but what seems to be different is there are no proposed changes to the law from the administration, just exemptions and waivers that can seem to be favors. I’d like to see them proposals to amend the law so it’s fair and above board for all, not behind closed door deals like some that were used to gain votes for passing the bill. I know it doesn’t necessarily translate to action from congress, but if it’s proposed then it’s on the table and available for debate at least.

    Friday, August 30, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

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