Behold Obama’s New 29-Hour Work Week

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Obamacare mandates that businesses provide health insurance for all full-time employees, which the law defines as anyone working 30 or more hours per week. The response from businesses has been to start cutting the hours of employees to get under that mandate.

Thus, the new 29-hour work week:

Some low-wage employers are moving toward hiring part-time workers instead of full-time ones to mitigate the health-care overhaul’s requirement that large companies provide health insurance for full-time workers or pay a fee.

Several restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours a week. That is the threshold at which large employers in 2014 would have to offer workers a minimum level of insurance or pay a penalty starting at $2,000 for each worker.

The shift is one of the first significant steps by employers to avoid requirements under the health-care law, and whether the trend continues hinges on Tuesday’s election results. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has pledged to overturn the Affordable Care Act, although he would face obstacles doing so.

This is the problem with government solutions to social problems: Regulations are static, but markets are dynamic. In this instance, businesses aren’t reacting to the government’s health insurance mandate in the expected way. Rather than saddling themselves with huge new costs for insurance, they’re simply working around the mandate.

Which isn’t great for workers – especially low-skill and entry-level workers – who are going to have a harder time finding all the work hours they need.

There is far too much faith put in the government’s ability to impose its will on society.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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