Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's Time to Restore Small Business - By Andrew Solomon

We, the small business owners, are the last truly repressed minorities in America today.  We used to be the engine of the economy, representing the bulk of new jobs created as well as solidly retained, in some cases lasting a person's entire life, working for just one single employer.

Much has been said regarding Obamacare's individual mandate – its stiff penalties that increase overtime, the stratospheric rise in premiums and deductibles – but there has been little coverage of how it has negatively impacted workplaces across the country from a business owner's POV.  

Most businesses – not all – already provided insurance to their seasoned full-time staff.  It wouldn't seem that outlandish, therefore, to force them to do what was already being done.  This is not true.  The business always had the option of stopping coverage or modifying it if the need arose due to slipping sales.

Forcing a private entity, in this case a business, is never morally appropriate.  Number one: it is private.  Its owners have inherent sovereign freedoms.  Obama didn't seem to care about individual freedoms.  Force, the act of prying into the life of another, dictating terms by fiat under penalty of threat and violence, was morally acceptable to this man, who had never felt the heat of having to cut a single payroll or come up with a quarterly tax to the feds or the state.

But that isn't the reason for this article.  Individuals also were subjugated by Obama in the same way to buy insurance, pay a tax, or refuse both and go to jail.  

What the media never explained to people, as they never do about employers, were all the regulations that sent small businesses spinning into chaos who now had to buy expensive tracking software and monitor all their employees or face huge fines.

First, we had to deal with the 9.5% "affordability" penalty, whereby an employee could never be forced to pay more than 9.5% of his gross earnings to health care costs.  That was revised slightly higher to 9.6% this fiscal year.  What it did was force employers to track an employee's wage every month to see if his earnings exceeded that artificial benchmark.  It left us scrambling constantly, discussing rate increase with our brokers as well as allocated hours to make sure we didn't screw it up.  The vigilance of such regulations was hugely demanding of our time.

In addition, and even more perversely, we were forced to offer "affordable" coverage to any employee working over 30 hours per week.  This forced us to begin looking at employees differently.  They were now all potential liabilities to the company, land mines that could go off any time, triggering a penalty.  So since our staff always had variable hours (not fixed), we were forced to track the part-time (less than 30 hours) versus full-time every month, and if any went over that amount, we had to immediately investigate why with each manager – who had to, in turn, talk to the employee who violated that arrangement.  The time spent with these discussions were commonplace and took us away from actually running our business.

Soon, the twenty-niner club was born out of necessity, and we had more part-time staff than full.  It created less loyalty in the workforce, higher turnover, and poorer morale.  Part-time employees had to find another part-time job elsewhere to get more hours.  It was absolutely foul.  

Even more pernicious was the potential for ageism, since elderly employees had a higher premium and thus a higher cost to the company.  There was a natural in-built incentive to avoid hiring older employees due to a higher cost associated with them.  

Finally, the amount of time and money spent tracking, talking, monitoring, paying fines, and new taxes; filling out 1095 forms; and truly now being more of a health care company (thanks, Obama) that just happened to be in retail on the side just goes to illustrate how out of touch and callous Obama was, with a complete disregard for both individuals as well as employers in living their own lives.  And all for what, in the end?  To help breed dependency within the small percentage of folks who went to the exchanges and onto a subsidy so he could ingrain patronage and mine new votes from an increasingly dependent class?  

We have lost so much – not just as a company.  Our nation has wasted eight years with this vain and costly experiment in statist coercion.  It has stalled our economy and been hostile to hiring in general since now all you're doing is taking on new liabilities.  

Donald Trump needs to get us back on track.  The first thing he must do is remove the entire hallmark legislation of Obama that was nothing more than an exercise in Obama's own vanity in feeling the need to tinker with the lives of millions by manipulating them through an illegitimate use of force.

Annihilate it, Mr. Trump.  It's good that you shook hands with our sitting president as a show of good form, but now is not the time for etiquette.  You must act on your promises to those who supported you and move to end this colossal waste of time and money.