Heavy Burden of Obamacare

Now that the reality of Barack Obama’s re-election is settling in, the U.S. economy is shifting and making the necessary adjustments to brace for four more agonizing years of Hope ‘n’ Change™. In the last 10 days, we’ve seen news of the fallout in everything from the stock market plummeting to jobless claims skyrocketing and the poverty rate spiking. Thanks to Obama’s assault on job creators, the list of businesses announcing layoffs, cuts and closings is growing daily. But not to worry: Obama says the “private sector is doing fine.”

There are two policies that bear primary blame: ObamaCare and the fiscal cliff. Markets and business owners are struggling to prepare for these two gut punches. With the fiscal cliff, of course, higher taxes could cripple particularly small businesses’ ability to hire or expand. But ObamaCare is doing much the same thing in a way that will only worsen as the tentacles of regulation extend ever further.

There are many more mandates in the law besides the infamous individual mandate to buy health insurance. For example, businesses of 50 or more employees face the potentially crushing burden of providing full, approved benefits to employees that work more than 30 hours — considered “full-time” employees per the decree of the new law — or fines of $2,000 per employee if they don’t comply. The response is entirely predictable: Businesses avoid hiring that 50th employee, they reduce hours for their current employees or they pay the penalty, which is often cheaper than insurance, though it leaves employees on government exchanges.

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