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Saturday, Sep 20, 2014
Commentary

Obama speeches ignore Obamacare's unfair impacts


Published:

President Obama visited Florida last week to talk about the economy. Never mind that speeches don't create jobs. No, the president decided the best use of his time wasn't working on job-creating legislation but rather rehashing the same old empty promises he's made over and over again.

If he took a moment to listen to Florida voters, he'd know that his policies are not the solution; they are part of the economic problem - specifically, Obamacare. Not long ago, we could only debate the job-killing impacts of Obamacare in theory. Now they're making headlines.

Many businesses, schools, and municipalities are cutting back on the number of hours their employees can work. That's because Obamacare will impose added expenses for every employee who works over 30 hours at a company that employs more than 50 people. With budgets already tight, employers face an impossible choice: cut back on hours or cut back on workers. It's a lose-lose situation.

In Florida, some of the most recent victims of Obamacare are colleges. Hillsborough Community College and St. Petersburg College, for example, have both announced they will have to cut back on the hours of adjunct faculty members and other employees in order to comply with Obamacare.

As reported in The Tampa Tribune, at HCC, 110 part-time faculty and non-faculty employees will have their hours reduced; otherwise, the college would incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs. HCC calls it an "economic necessity" to make these cuts.

St. Petersburg College will reduce the hours of 91 faculty and employees, facing the same difficult decisions. David Baime, a senior vice president of the American Association of Community Colleges, says these "institutions are caught between a rock and a hard place." And the blame rests squarely with Obamacare.

Elsewhere in Florida, Brevard County has also been forced to make cutbacks. Without reductions in employee hours, Obamacare would cost Brevard County taxpayers $1.38 million. So far, 37 county employees have seen their hours cut.

Obamacare's restrictions are also hitting college students who work to pay for books, tuition, and living expenses. Colleges are now forced to cap the number of hours students can work each week on campus. If the students work 30 hours or more, the college will get hit with stiff penalties from the government for not providing health insurance. At the University of North Alabama, student workers are now capped at 29 hours a week; at Central Michigan University, the cap is 25 hours. CMU estimates that without these caps, they'd be forced to pay the government $5 million.

Stories like these are playing out all across the country. That could explain, at least in part, a national trend revealed in the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs reports: America is becoming a part-time economy. More part-time jobs are being created than full-time jobs. Thus far in 2013, employers have added seven times as many part-time workers as full-time workers. That's a dramatic change from the same time last year when more full-time jobs were added than part-time.

Democrats justified Obamacare using the claim that it would increase the number of Americans who had access to health care. But employees at Florida colleges, in Brevard County, and in part-time positions in companies all across America will be earning less - and still will not have employer-provided health care.

That's not fair. Now these workers and their families have to decide whether to take on other part-time jobs. Or they have to figure out how to get by with even less income. In trying to fix a problem, Obamacare actually made it worse.

It's also not fair to the unemployed. Thanks to Obamacare, there are fewer opportunities for full-time work. Employers are also less likely to create new positions and expand their operations. The Democrats' health care law is keeping more Americans unemployed or underemployed.

It's no wonder that a majority of Americans disapprove of the law and that a recent CBS News poll found "more Americans than ever want Obamacare repealed."

Maybe that explains why the president was so eager to get back to campaign-style speeches last week. With the failures of his signature legislation in the headlines, he wanted to change the subject.

Reince Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Committee.

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