“The Affordable Care Act will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”
Sounds like typical Republican slander, right? What’s surprising about this quote is that it doesn’t come from any right-wing nutjob, but rather from a letter penned by three of the nation’s largest labor unions, the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and UNITE HERE. These are democratic supporters and donors that, at the time of Obamacare’s passing, supported the law and in fact, provided some of the political pressure that eventually secured the law’s corrupt passage. What changed?
In a word, nothing. The economy didn’t recover. Jobs haven’t been created. While unemployment has nominally fallen from 7.8% when Obama took office to 7.6% now, that number doesn’t mean anything. If unemployment was still calculated the way it used to be, counting the number of workers that have been discouraged and left the job market, the number of workers who have work well below their skill level, and those who can only find part-time work, it’s actually 14.6% and rose last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To help paint this dismal picture of American reality, home ownership is at an 18-year low. Labor Force Participation is at a 31 year low. Middle class median income has fallen 5% since Obama was sworn in. 15 million more Americans receive food stamps now than when Obama took office according to the department of agriculture. The poverty rate has increased from 14.3% to nearly 17% during Obama’s reign and middle class net worth is at the same nominal dollar value it was in 1992, which is substantially less than it was even then, due to inflation.
Keep in mind, the recession ended four years and a month ago. After four years of recovery, the middle class is unequivocally worse off than they were at the start of the recovery, let alone before the Great Recession even happened.
To circle back to Obamacare, the law is directly responsible for some of the middle class’s economic woes. The U-6 unemployment number, counting workers who are working part-time instead of full time among other things, is steadily rising because Obamacare requires companies with 50 or more workers to provide health benefits to all workers working more than 30 hours a week.
Since Obamacare passed, you’d be hard pressed to find a chain restaurant worker, or other low-skilled laborer working more than 30 hours a week. It makes more sense for companies to hire four 30 hour employees without laying out for their healthcare instead of three 40 hour employees with healthcare benefits.
Unions, the organizations responsible for putting laborers securely in the middle class, are understandably upset. A century of hard-fought battles to gain respectable benefits for laborers has been undone in one fell stroke by Obamacare.
Shockingly enough, the people who have benefited the most from Obama’s presidency are the rich. During just 2009-2010, the top 1% saw their incomes increase by 11.6% while everyone else’s incomes grew by just .2%.
This underscores a truth about big government that has been known for decades. As Reagan put it, “You can’t be for big government, big taxes, big bureaucracy, and still be for the little guy.” Big government can only serve to help special interests, the well-off and the well-connected. Obamacare merely exacerbates this problem by putting the government even more deeply in control of healthcare, 18% of our nation’s economy. We can’t expect the middle class to start doing any better than they are now until Obamacare is repealed.