Hiring is up, fears are down, or not!
The USA Today’s front page editorial on hiring (Hiring is up, a sign health law fears fading, 8/21/2013) is a clear sign of reporting “fleas on the dog” as good news. The report that small employers, with 50 or fewer employees, doubled new hires in the past six months to 82,000 jobs is scratching the surface of the fear produced through the Affordable Care Act. Presumably any increase in new hires is good news in our ponderously slow economic recovery. This “good news” and “reduced fear” does not bother to indicate how many of the new hires are part-time workers. So much for the whole truth in your front page editorial.
Managing to half-report the whole truth, the above report still focuses upon the fleas, rather than the dog. Pairing the dog and health-care fear is a horse of a different color, as they said in the Wizard of Oz. Fear of health care costs in employment is an issue which influences not only new hires, but the entire US work force. For folks who read data in tables, the following table shows about 136 million folks employed in the US. This is about two-million fewer folks employed now than before the crash of 2008 began. The total number of folks working is the size of the whole dog. The Affordable Care Act has had a profound influence on the entire work force of 136 million folks in the United States, excluding farm workers.
To report the whole story about employment and fear from health care, one need look only at the distribution of full-time and part-time employment. The growth in jobs, which the USA Today is so proud of, is that 70% of this growth is in part-time hires (Fox News 8/21/2013). What you miss on the whole dog, is that “the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.2 million in July. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2013)
As folks who eat out regularly, we have been monitoring our struggling waiters and waitresses for the past two years, since folks started reading the provisions of the 2,700 page Affordable Care Act, and the subsequent 17,000 pages of regulations which businesses must understand to remain in business. For over a year, the restaurant businesses have been cutting back on employees’ hours, making them part-time workers to avoid the onerous requirements of the health care law. They are a part of the 8.2 million employed folks who have been cut back from full-time to part time work.
This “consequence” applies to all businesses with fewer than 50 employees. What you are not reporting is that 2 million fewer folks are working now than earlier, and 8 million additional folks are now working part time, in large measure, because of the Affordable Care Act. Because of this, the median family income (full and part time) is now down 5% overall (Fox Business News, 8/21/2013). This is reported as the first time in history that the median income has fallen dramatically. Are we supposed to interpret this as good employment news?
The Affordable Care Act is, at best, a cancer on employment in the private sector. Cherry picking data which looks good on the surface is fundamentally dishonest, and amounts to glorifying the fleas on the dog. But there is no apparent limit on the extent to which the media may suck-up to the current administration, and its cancerous influence on America’s private employment sector.