Human Events Blog

America’s Obamanomic transformation to part-time work continues

Eyebrows are vanishing into hairlines from coast to coast over a story in the Orlando Sentinel, in which a restaurant chain experiments with moving to a part-time workforce… a move explicitly intended to help the company escape from the horrors of ObamaCare:

In an experiment apparently aimed at keeping down the cost of health-care reform, Orlando-based Darden Restaurants has stopped offering full-time schedules to many hourly workers in at least a few Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters and LongHorn Steakhouses.

Darden said the test is taking place in “a select number” of restaurants in four markets, including Central Florida, but would not give details. The company said there has been no decision made about expanding it.

In an emailed statement, Darden said staffing changes are “just one of the many things we are evaluating to help us address the cost implications health care reform will have on our business. There are still many unanswered questions regarding the health care regulations and we simply do not have enough information to make any decisions at this time.”

Darden might be able to solve this problem by relocating into Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district, where ObamaCare waivers are easy to come by, but maybe they like being based in Florida.  It’s not just this one company transitioning to part time, either:

Analysts say many other companies, including the White Castle hamburger chain, are considering employing fewer full-timers because of key features of the Affordable Care Act scheduled to go into effect in 2014. Under that law, large companies must provide affordable health insurance to employees working an average of at least 30 hours per week.

If they do not, the companies can face fines of up to $3,000 for each employee who then turns to an exchange — an online marketplace — for insurance.

“I think a lot of those employers, especially restaurants, are just going to ensure nobody gets scheduled more than 30 hours a week,” said Matthew Snook, partner with human-resources consulting company Mercer.

Darden’s previous health insurance plan is banned under ObamaCare’s mandates.  But… but… Barack Obama said that if you like your plan, you can keep your plan!  In fact, he’s still saying it, even as his rhetoric sours from political spin into bitter farce.

Once again, the childish fantasies of socialists have run into hard, cold economic reality.  Incentives produce responses.  Increasing the cost of anything, including full-time labor, reduces demand.  Behavior tailored to avoid cumbersome mandates and tax increases is less beneficial for all concerned, but at a certain point, such behavior becomes inevitable.  It’s great to be able to offer full-time positions and extra hours to your best workers, but if the government makes that unaffordable, there are alternative strategies.

What’s the Obamanomics solution to the disastrous changes his policies have been wreaking in the American workforce?  Nationalize the restaurant industry?  Pass a law requiring a certain percentage of every staff be given full-time positions… followed by a bailout of bankrupt restaurants, or maybe some sneering editorials telling Americans to stop complaining about dropping fifty bucks to eat at White Castle?

Do you want to improve the employment situation in America?  There is absolutely no doubt about what Step One needs to be: repeal ObamaCare.

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