| September 24, 2013

The great job killer

Obamacare is coming, and one predicted result has been job cuts by employers who can no longer afford to employ as many workers as before. The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore recently wondered if that prediction was true, so he went to a man who should know: Oklahoma’s own Bob Funk, a founder and still honcho at Express Employment Services, one of the nation’s largest employment firms.

“Employers are living in a state of fear,” Mr. Funk said flatly, citing Obamacare, regulations, and accounting requirements flowing out of Washington. He said his business is booming precisely because more employers are shifting from full-time workers who would have to be covered with more expensive health insurance under Obamacare to part-timers provided by Express. Since Obamacare has set a 50-employee threshold for coverage, lots of employers are stopping at 49 full-time workers and asking companies like Express to provide the rest of their workforce.

Participation in the labor force is at a 35-year low, Mr. Funk said, another sign that federal policies seem designed precisely to discourage work. Not surprisingly, he cited high-growth areas like Texas as the same areas where local policymakers have cut taxes and curtailed regulation.

Mr. Funk’s wide-ranging interview also criticized overly generous welfare and disability programs for discouraging work, but he kept coming back to the looming introduction of Obamacare as the greatest potential job killer of them all. Express, he said, will continue to boom as the American economy as a whole takes hit after hit from too much Washington.

Proponents of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion (in any form) in Oklahoma have tried to claim Obamacare’s employer mandate is insignificant. They say it doesn’t hurt business. But Mr. Funk and reality demonstrate otherwise. The National Federation of Independent Business and its Oklahoma chapter have warned on multiple occasions of the damage being done by Obamacare. Investor’s Business Daily is keeping a running tally of employers who have cut jobs or work hours due to Obamacare. At least one community college in Oklahoma is restructuring faculty hours to avoid increased costs as a result of Obamacare. Confirming the complexity and added burden of Obamacare, even a local payroll company has said that about 70 percent of its new business is because of Obamacare.

Mr. Funk should be commended for his courage to tell the truth about how badly Obamacare is damaging the economy and people’s lives. His candor is particularly bold considering the extent to which this administration will use the IRS to target its perceived enemies.

Obamacare continues to fail. Obamacare is the great job killer. In order to reverse this destructive course, we will need more job creators like Mr. Funk who are willing to speak up and show the path to job creation.

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