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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Darth Vader dilemma

The more they squeeze, the more regulatory resistance slips through their fingers like sand:
Consider what administration officials announcing the new exemption for medium-sized employers had to say about firms that might fire workers to get under the threshold and avoid hugely expensive new requirements of the law. Obama officials made clear in a press briefing that firms would not be allowed to lay off workers to get into the preferred class of those businesses with 50 to 99 employees. How will the feds know what employers were thinking when hiring and firing? Simple. Firms will be required to certify to the IRS – under penalty of perjury – that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in their staffing decisions. To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs.
Welcome to the USSA. You can't understand leftist reasoning until you grasp that everything they do is based on a static universe. From evolution to health care regulation, their policies inevitably involve the Ricardian Vice of reducing the situation down to the simplest possible binary choice, then being mystified when their actions inspire a reaction.

Followed, of course, by their futile attempts to use force to demand compliance.

The biggest problem won't be firms laying off workers to get into the preferred class, but rather, all the firms that will no longer grow out of it.

Labels:

102 Comments:

Anonymous Idle Spectator February 11, 2014 2:45 PM  

Because no one ever, ever, lies about their motivations.

"I'll have sex with you. Do you love me?"
"I'm just going to have this ONE beer."
"Officer I don't know how that thing got there..."
"He's just a friend."

Blogger James Dixon February 11, 2014 2:49 PM  

> Because no one ever, ever, lies about their motivations.

Least of all leftists.

But most companies have been getting ready for this for the past 2 years now, and either have already made their cuts or have plans in place to do so that can't be tracked back to Obamacare.

OpenID cailcorishev February 11, 2014 2:55 PM  

I'll never forget this story; I think it was passed on by Rush Limbaugh back when he was getting started, but it originally came from some congressman. This congressman was trying to make a point about how you can't just soak the rich because there aren't enough rich people, so politicians who claim they will balance the budget by raising taxes only on the rich are lying. So he asked the Congressional Budget Office for a report on how much would be collected if you simply took 100% of the wealth of all millionaires. They returned a number, which as expected wasn't nearly enough to balance things -- but they also returned projections for future years.

The point, of course, is that if you took all their wealth one year, there would be no wealth to take the next year. But as you say, they see everything as static, so productive people are a money tree: take whatever percentage of their wealth you like this year, and it'll be there to take again the next year. It doesn't occur to them to think it would ever stop.

Blogger Russell Lemley February 11, 2014 2:57 PM  

Last sentence: bingo.

Anonymous Jemison Thorsby February 11, 2014 2:57 PM  

My vote for best blog post title here over the past week or so...

Anonymous anon123 February 11, 2014 2:57 PM  

@ James Dixon
Or are exempt from compliance.

Anonymous 11B February 11, 2014 2:57 PM  

In the words of Caplan they will just have to "peacefully destroy" those businesses that don't cooperate.

Anonymous Jemison Thorsby February 11, 2014 3:00 PM  

@ cailcorishev -- given a current 'official' national debt of about $17 trillion, all you have to consider is that this would be the entire wealth of 17 million 'millionaires' to realize how completely screwed this system is. Apply the same calculation to the unfunded liabilities figure, and shudder.

Anonymous Peter Garstig February 11, 2014 3:05 PM  

Cail, there's a video.

Anonymous Krul February 11, 2014 3:07 PM  

Firms will be required to certify to the IRS – under penalty of perjury – that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in their staffing decisions.

They really can't be sure. Not unless they add a mandatory "cross my heart and hope to die" clause.

Anonymous Porky February 11, 2014 3:10 PM  

From evolution to health care regulation, their policies inevitably involve the Ricardian Vice of reducing the situation down to the simplest possible binary choice, then being mystified when their actions inspire a reaction.

For people who are "mystified" they sure seem to be stocking up on a lot of hollowpoint ammo.

Anonymous Feh February 11, 2014 3:12 PM  

Eh they will just assume that any company that cuts to get under 99 employees was trying to cheat, and it will be up to that company to prove they were NOT doing so.

OpenID cailcorishev February 11, 2014 3:14 PM  

But most companies have been getting ready for this for the past 2 years now, and either have already made their cuts or have plans in place to do so that can't be tracked back to Obamacare.

There are also those who have ruled out any business expansion or new enterprise that would require hiring employees. If it can't be done by a couple partners or with subcontracting, it's not worth the hassle.

Anonymous Catan February 11, 2014 3:15 PM  

A static universe, exactly. They think they are being smart by separating every "issue" or situation and looking at it from some quantitative, atomized point of view that explicitly ignores the possible effects of their fix. The only thing that concerns them is solving the problem in front of them.

It's almost like our education indoctrination system did its job perfectly on these people. After all, isn't one question – one answer the standard classroom formula? And when we disagree, who do they point to for evidence that their answer is the correct one? Their teachers...

Anonymous Ferd February 11, 2014 3:17 PM  

I suppose i am going to only have 99 businesses staffed with 99 employees.

Government is so cute with its stupid statistics and number rackets. I know a very large business with millions in revenue staffed with 5 or 6 really really good employees.

"They really can't be sure. Not unless they add a mandatory "cross my heart and hope to die" clause. "
And you know what? Some government wonk will think that IS required to make folks comply.

Anonymous The CronoLink February 11, 2014 3:20 PM  

How come people are not acting their script, comrade?

Anonymous Not Gara February 11, 2014 3:28 PM  

It was Grand Moff Tarkin, not Darth vader! YOU LIE!

Blogger James Dixon February 11, 2014 3:30 PM  

> Some government wonk will think that IS required to make folks comply.

Of course, that's why they specified " under penalty of perjury".

Anonymous Joe Doakes February 11, 2014 3:34 PM  

The laws of economics can’t be repealed. But they can be waived by Executive Order? Who knew?

All those generations of Americans who thought the way to prosperity was hard work instead of waiting for government handouts . . . I bet they feel stupid now.
.

Anonymous Harsh February 11, 2014 3:34 PM  

Next step: dissolve the Imperial Senate and use fear to keep the local systems in line.

Anonymous FP February 11, 2014 3:37 PM  

Directive 10-289 in action.

Anonymous Tarkin February 11, 2014 3:37 PM  

You would prefer another target, a military target? Then name the system! I grow tired of asking this so it will be the last time.

Anonymous DT February 11, 2014 3:40 PM  

Do we even have a Congress any more? How can Obama issue all these exemptions and new rules and BS? Is he not bound to follow the letter of the law that Congress passed?

Where is the opposition party again? Where are their lawyers? Would it even matter if someone sued an employer for failing to provide insurance coverage under an illegal exemption, or would the USSC just rubber stamp Dear Leader's proclamations?

Blogger JartStar February 11, 2014 3:44 PM  

The biggest problem won't be firms laying off workers to get into the preferred class, but rather, all the firms that will no longer grow out of it.

They just have to swear they are not growing out of it too to avoid Obamacare. What's the big deal?

Anonymous Idle Spectator February 11, 2014 3:44 PM  

"Who ate the last piece of pizza?" NOT ME.

"It's not you, it's me..."

"I'm really busy. I can't go out tonight." Stays home and eats pizza.

Anonymous Harsh February 11, 2014 3:49 PM  

Where is the opposition party again?

Moscow

Anonymous FP February 11, 2014 3:50 PM  

"or would the USSC just rubber stamp Dear Leader's proclamations?"

They already have and Scalia admitted it last week when he brought up "inter arma enim silent leges".

Anonymous Brother Thomas February 11, 2014 3:57 PM  

Results don't matter, intensions do.

The world is a mental ward.

Anonymous Concerned Rabbit Hunter February 11, 2014 3:58 PM  

Never fear, we will have to destroy Russia to save the Russians:

http://ericmargolis.com/2014/02/f-europe/

And then everyone can have health insurance.

Anonymous hygate February 11, 2014 3:59 PM  

I don't see how this can be legal, not that that has stopped them in the past. Is there some super-secret section of the law that states, "you cannot make rational choices in regards to your business that takes into account this law."

They are getting desperate.

Blogger RobertT February 11, 2014 4:01 PM  

There is a long & rich legislative history preventing this kind of stuff. Judge Learned Hand, one of the most quoted justices who were never on the Supreme Court famously said, "Anyone can arrange his affairs so that his taxes will be as low as possible." Franklin Roosevelt and Henry Morgenthau went after Andrew Mellon, one of the most famous philanthropists ever, for not paying sufficient income tax and were slapped down. The same result in the Glenshaw Glass case and other cases. As long as you have a valid business purpose and meet certain other reasonable requirements, including ordinary, reasonable and necessary, you are essentially bulletproof to the government. Of course that all meant a lot more when the government actually paid some attention to judicial precedence.

Anonymous rycamor February 11, 2014 4:07 PM  

The president and vice president of the company looked at each other before signing the document, "So we're 100% agreed that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in these layoffs?" the president said.

"Absolutely.", his VP murmured in assent.

"OK, did you mean absolutely it was, or it was not a motivating factor?"

"I mean, it absolutely was not."

"...I need you to say the whole sentence."

His VP sighed, "Yes Bob. We are 100% agreed that ObamaCare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, was NOT a motivating factor in these layoffs."

Bob's shoulders visibly relaxed. He leaned back in his seat, then tossed a pair of leather workman's gloves at his VP. "OK, so as of today, obviously, you're gonna be back on the floor handling the metal stampers. Unfortunately, we can't give you a pay raise or that would... raise suspicions. In fact, I'm going to have to take a little more out of your pay each week to cover insurance, now that you're back in hazardous work." He spoke the next line with careful emphasis, as if hamming for an off-screen audience, "It's very interesting that you felt your job was *unnecessary* because we are so *top-heavy* with management, and you wanted to get back out there and *get your hands dirty again*."

He raised his eyebrows and sent a visual urging to his companion.

Again the VP sighed, "Um... yeah... Bob, I just got tired of this cushy office and 2-hour lunches and felt a real desire to get out there and be part of the team again." He nodded and raised his own eyebrows in question and received Bob's nod of approval."

"OK, so that's done then. See you, uh--oh yeah... guess I won't see you Saturday on the links, because the production team's playing a lot of... you know... catch up, due to our current ah...situation. Well, that's that." He closed his briefcase with a snap.

Anonymous Rick Johnsmeyer February 11, 2014 4:08 PM  

Why is employment linked to health insurance at all? That makes no sense. Certainly not ECONOMIC sense. It's yet another weird aspect of the Rube Goldberg healthcare system in the US.

Anonymous TX February 11, 2014 4:08 PM  

:Why is employment linked to health insurance at all? That makes no sense. :

WW2 wage and price controls. Thank you FDR!

Anonymous Brother Thomas February 11, 2014 4:14 PM  

@Rick Johnsmeyer February 11, 2014 4:08 PM "Why is employment linked to health insurance at all?"


FDR, WWII, price & labor rate controls. Employers worked around it by offering benefits instead of salary. It proves Vox's point. Actually the point has been proven over and over again since the dawn of time.

Anonymous Salt February 11, 2014 4:15 PM  

Imagine the potential nightmare of trying to put a company to bed? It's the IRS, and they commonly say "disallowed."

IRS: "Fuck you! Pay us!"

Anonymous WinstonWebb February 11, 2014 4:22 PM  

Harsh February 11, 2014 3:34 PM

Next step: dissolve the Imperial Senate and use fear to keep the local systems in line.


How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?

Anonymous Giraffe February 11, 2014 4:32 PM  

The biggest problem won't be firms laying off workers to get into the preferred class, but rather, all the firms that will no longer grow out of it.

Of course, they will solve that problem by eliminating the exemption for the preferred class. If the whole thing survives long enough.

Anonymous Stilicho February 11, 2014 4:33 PM  

How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?

He'll unleash the full power of the def star...

Or unleash Michelle...her midichlorian count is off the charts and far too high to be believed unless she's been freebasing male Yoda hormones...

Blogger JDC February 11, 2014 4:34 PM  

If they don't like the results they will simply change the preferable number of 50-99 to 2...it doesn't matter, they're making this shite up as they go anyway.

Anonymous Stilicho February 11, 2014 4:37 PM  

Don't worry, the IRS will not be enforcing the "avoiding Obamacare" rule against anyone whose heart (and political contributions) are in the "right" place, savvy?

Anonymous WinstonWebb February 11, 2014 4:44 PM  

"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' YOU are."

Blogger RC February 11, 2014 4:48 PM  

So it's now illegal to consider taxes and penalties when organizing one's affairs. And, just like hate crimes where the severity of a crime depends upon the alleged perpetrators motives, every business decision will be impugned with "bad" motives.

"No, I didn't lay off ten people to avoid Obamacare."
"No, I didn't move that asset to another state to avoid punitive taxation."
"No, I didn't fire that woman because she was female, gay, black, over forty..."
"No, I didn't take out four rounds of $2500 cash to avoid the $10K reporting requirement."

The whole damn country is a penal colony.

Anonymous Atlas February 11, 2014 4:52 PM  

All these companies would have to do is spin off divisions and make them each a separate legal company all under the aegis of a "master company." Keep them all at 90 employees and run most if not all workers at part-time or contract workers. Problem solved.

This "rule" seems to fly in the face of economies of scale too. I am amused.

We probably will see more companies and jobs moving overseas due to this.

Blogger L. Beau February 11, 2014 5:01 PM  

TO: Not Gara, Harsh, Tarkin, and WinstonWebb
RE: Pop Culture Geekhood

Y'all are nerds...and I love you for that!

Stilicho: There are no prequels... George Lucas was betrayed and murdered in 1999.

Anonymous Brother Thomas February 11, 2014 5:07 PM  

@WinstonWebb February 11, 2014 4:44 PM "When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' YOU are."


That's a very interesting quote. Was it Bastiat?

Blogger El Borak February 11, 2014 5:14 PM  

Was it Bastiat?

Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

Anonymous WinstonWebb February 11, 2014 5:16 PM  

It's Ayn Rand - from Atlas Shrugged

Anonymous WinstonWebb February 11, 2014 5:18 PM  

Borak in while I was editing (and ultimately deleting) my lame comparison between Rand and Bastiat.

Anonymous Krul February 11, 2014 5:19 PM  

Re: Brother Thomas,

It's from Francisco D'Anconia's Money Speech in Atlas Shrugged.

Blogger Larry February 11, 2014 5:23 PM  

"But most companies have been getting ready for this for the past 2 years now, and either have already made their cuts or have plans in place to do so that can't be tracked back to Obamacare."

Unfortunately nearly everybody who runs a business has talked to somebody about their options or have notes or emails or something which will convict them of planning a cut of employees because of Obamacare.

Anonymous allyn71 February 11, 2014 5:24 PM  

Not that anyone will have the balls to do it but would love to see someone tell the IRS "I am firing them because of Obamacare, what the hell you going to do about it?".

This place is so fucked.



Blogger Larry February 11, 2014 5:34 PM  

"But most companies have been getting ready for this for the past 2 years now, and either have already made their cuts or have plans in place to do so that can't be tracked back to Obamacare."

Unfortunately nearly everybody who runs a business has talked to somebody about their options or have notes or emails or something which will convict them of planning a cut of employees because of Obamacare.

Blogger Larry February 11, 2014 5:34 PM  

"But most companies have been getting ready for this for the past 2 years now, and either have already made their cuts or have plans in place to do so that can't be tracked back to Obamacare."

Unfortunately nearly everybody who runs a business has talked to somebody about their options or have notes or emails or something which will convict them of planning a cut of employees because of Obamacare.

Blogger Larry February 11, 2014 5:34 PM  

"But most companies have been getting ready for this for the past 2 years now, and either have already made their cuts or have plans in place to do so that can't be tracked back to Obamacare."

Unfortunately nearly everybody who runs a business has talked to somebody about their options or have notes or emails or something which will convict them of planning a cut of employees because of Obamacare.

Blogger Larry February 11, 2014 5:34 PM  

"But most companies have been getting ready for this for the past 2 years now, and either have already made their cuts or have plans in place to do so that can't be tracked back to Obamacare."

Unfortunately nearly everybody who runs a business has talked to somebody about their options or have notes or emails or something which will convict them of planning a cut of employees because of Obamacare.

Anonymous ChicagoRefugee February 11, 2014 5:40 PM  

It was a good comment, Larry, but not so good as to warrant incessant repetition.

Anonymous WinstonWebb February 11, 2014 5:50 PM  

"House votes 221-201 to raise debt ceiling without any additional provisions"

Idiots.
Predictable idiots.

Blogger George February 11, 2014 5:57 PM  

The point of this is not to prevent business from laying off people to avoid ObamaCare. Any sneaky person can figure a way to do that without leaving any tracks. The point is to prevent people from being interview on Fox News and saying "I HAD to lay people off because of ObamaCare." When the people from Olive Garden said they cut people's hours to get under the definition of full time that embarrassed Obama badly. His handlers want to avoid a repeat of that.

Blogger JaimeInTexas February 11, 2014 5:58 PM  

Does the law make it illegal to lay off people?

Anonymous Flinders February 11, 2014 5:59 PM  

You know when I was a kid, most of my friends that grew up to be lefties were a lot more infatuated with the Imperials. When the more sophisticated video games came a long, they always chose the dark side. I was a a Rebel from the day I first watched it.

Anonymous John VI February 11, 2014 6:05 PM  

I do wonder how this will spur the techno geeks to create both software and hardware systems to replace the human workers? Now the math isnt so much " is the robot less expensive than the hourly rate of an employee" as it is" is the penalty for going over X employees greater than the cost of a robot worker for expansion?"

Fun times...

John VI

Anonymous allyn71 February 11, 2014 6:06 PM  

@ George

That is exactly the point. Basically the President just said he is the Mob Boss and the country was just told that if they don't keep quiet some of his boys, the IRS, are gonna come by and pay you a visit.

Blogger Krul February 11, 2014 6:20 PM  

Obama officials made clear in a press briefing that firms would not be allowed to lay off workers to get into the preferred class of those businesses with 50 to 99 employees.

What's the penalty for noncompliance?

If an employer fires 5 people because of Obamacare and says so, then what? Will he be forced to rehire them? Will he go to jail? Will he pay a fine?

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 February 11, 2014 6:22 PM  

Does the law make it illegal to lay off people?

No.
First, it isn't a "law" it's a policy enforcement provision that the Treasury Department may or may not be able to legally perform.
Second, it has nothing to do with laying people off, you just can't admit to the press or to the people that the reason for the layoffs were, in fact, because of the crushing weight of the Healthcare Demolition Act of 2010.
It's basically a non-disclosure agreement, mafia-style.

Anonymous Noah Calrissian February 11, 2014 6:28 PM  

This deal is getting worse all the time!

Blogger RobertW February 11, 2014 6:34 PM  

I own a small B2B software company that producers prepackaged software. I have ten people working for me. As much as I hate to say it, I will never hire another American, except possibly as a short term contractor. The moving target regulations, the taxes, and the overall government meddlesomeness make it just too much of a risk.

Anonymous Edjamacator February 11, 2014 6:38 PM  

Second, it has nothing to do with laying people off, you just can't admit to the press or to the people that the reason for the layoffs were, in fact, because of the crushing weight of the Healthcare Demolition Act of 2010.

Which just means "we really don't care if you fire people, we just don't want our good name sullied when it happens because of us."

Anonymous allyn71 February 11, 2014 6:46 PM  

The polling for 2014 must be starting to come in and it must not be pretty.

Desperate times, desperate measures.

Anonymous trk February 11, 2014 7:08 PM  

Vox shipt first

Anonymous trk February 11, 2014 7:08 PM  

Vox shot first. Damn tiny keys

Anonymous p-dawg February 11, 2014 7:19 PM  

You just spread a little lagniappe to the local IRS agent, and problem solved. That's how it works in a banana republic.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus February 11, 2014 7:46 PM  

Huckleberry - est. 1977: "...you just can't admit to the press or to the people that the reason for the layoffs were, in fact, because of the crushing weight of the Healthcare Demolition Act of 2010."

Exactly.

The new ruling class isn't universally and neutrally "brilliant"; it has a strong cultural and temperamental "play-book", and part of it is relatively pervasive controls on what can be said, by whom, in what context.

Sometimes that produces dark miracles, like the conquest of the West with no real public awareness. Sometimes it produces disasters; Obamacare might not have been what it is if people could have openly discussed how the roll-out was going to go wrong. And sometimes it's a bit of both. But the rules of who says what, and above all who gets blamed and who will not be blamed, are maintained.

Anonymous Biff February 11, 2014 7:58 PM  

So if you give money to Republicans, Obama lawyers can use that as evidence that you fire people to avoid Obamacare.

Blogger tz February 11, 2014 8:28 PM  

Injustice delayed is injustice denied. But that is why the senate eliminated filibustering nominees.

Anonymous Catan February 11, 2014 8:33 PM  

Second, it has nothing to do with laying people off, you just can't admit to the press or to the people that the reason for the layoffs were, in fact, because of the crushing weight of the Healthcare Demolition Act of 2010.

Bingo. Absolutely.

This is about preventing word from getting out as to the cause of the layoffs, especially from the businesses themselves, the most reliable witnesses in the matter.

The brazen corruption is getting unbelievable. On ace today, saw a post about the FCC sending teams out to interview local TV news stations about whether they are doing enough 'critical' news coverage (like the environment), and how their coverage reflects 'underserved communities'.

Bone chilling. I can't do it service, just read it if interested.

Link

Anonymous Catan February 11, 2014 8:39 PM  

They make them sign a form stating they didn't fire them because of Obamacare, under penalty of perjury.

So that if they ever tell the truth in public, they'll be committing perjury.

Anonymous Obvious February 11, 2014 8:39 PM  

Haven't you been pretty vehement about using force to prevent the stranglehold of ideologies you don't agree with?

Blogger Krul February 11, 2014 8:42 PM  

Obvious, are you a veteran?

Anonymous jamsco February 11, 2014 8:52 PM  

"It was Grand Moff Tarkin, not Darth vader!"

I, too, am stunned that Vox would make such an egregious error.

Anonymous a_peraspera February 11, 2014 9:17 PM  

So this is what, the third change he's made to Obamacare in three months? And he just announces these changes in speeches.

Are the changes written down somewhere, so employers know what the current guideline is? Is there a "change log" on a government website somewhere?

Or are employers just supposed to record the speeches and remember them all, and what order they go in...?

Anonymous zen0 February 11, 2014 9:27 PM  

I watched the film "The Butler" on DVD recently. You know, the one that made Obama cry.

I think I know why he was moved to tears. All the presidents in the movie were drunks, drug addicts, loonies, alzheimer victims, or victims of assassination. Sometimes various combinations thereof.

Typical narcissistic reaction.

Anonymous CX February 11, 2014 9:50 PM  

@rycamor

I lold, thanks for that.. hah.

Blogger Alcuin February 11, 2014 11:28 PM  

"It was Grand Moff Tarkin, not Darth vader!"

I, too, am stunned that Vox would make such an egregious error.


Shouldn't it be Leia's Dilemma since she's the one who pointed it out to Tarkin? Zeno's Paradox is named after Zeno after all, not Achilles or the tortoise.

Also, none of the restrictions on medium-size businesses prevents smaller businesses from loudly proclaiming at every possible chance that they can't expand due to Obamacare. I'd like to see the Feds try and stop that from happening.

Anonymous dh February 12, 2014 12:24 AM  

Or are employers just supposed to record the speeches and remember them all, and what order they go in...?

They will get published in the Federal register as either (a) advisories, (b) proposed rule making or (c) temporary rule making. In case of essentially lawless enforcement priorities (i.e. we won't prosecute you or enforce a penalty), it will probably be the first method.

Blogger JCclimber February 12, 2014 12:43 AM  

my first employer after leaving college went through great lengths to avoid the permanent headcount expanding above 49 people.
We stayed between 45 and 49 employees, year after year. I bet even now, a couple decades later, they are still under the 50 threshold.
Subcontractors and spinoff affiliated business enterprises for the win, baby!

Blogger IM2L844 February 12, 2014 1:40 AM  

I think the SCOTUS will hear this one.

Anonymous Discard February 12, 2014 1:44 AM  

Larry X 4: Even if this were a law, passed by Congress and signed by BHO this very minute, it can't take effect yesterday. Employers who have made provisions to evade Obamacare did not break the law as it then was.
Assuming that the IRS will observe the law, of course.

Anonymous Jack Amok February 12, 2014 2:06 AM  

I don't see how this can be legal, not that that has stopped them in the past

Agree with what you're saying, but it's worth noting that being illegal has - occasionally, not always, but occasionally - stopped them in the past. The inflection point of our affairs is that it doesn't seem to be stopping them in the present, and likely won't in the future.


Unfortunately nearly everybody who runs a business has talked to somebody about their options or have notes or emails or something which will convict them of planning a cut of employees because of Obamacare.

Possibly even multiple copies...

Anonymous kh123 February 12, 2014 3:04 AM  

"it can't take effect yesterday."

No no, but see, unlike "clawback" or switching a conservatorship to a receivership, ex post facto is a Latin term; therefore it must be doubly-plus-legal.

Anonymous Darth Jones February 12, 2014 3:51 AM  

I have altered the deal; pray I don't alter it any further.

Anonymous jack February 12, 2014 3:53 AM  

Tarkin was obviously a puppet. Vader was the power behind the figurehead. Leia, in talking to Tarkin, was talking to Vader. IMO.
Does it matter who was talking to who? Fully engaged in this practical lesson in dictatorship building why split narrow hairs?

Never forget; we are the new threat; the new Jewish threat, to put a final polish on this apple. The National Socialists are called by an updated title, here in the 21st. century, but they are still what they are. Would it not be an interesting hoot if Herr Hitler were still calling the shots having managed to prove the veracity of his anti-aging scientists?
There may be a book here. Eco should write it. And, it would take 2 months of hard reading to read it.

Anonymous Castaigne February 12, 2014 4:00 AM  

@Jemison Thorsby: "given a current 'official' national debt of about $17 trillion, all you have to consider is that this would be the entire wealth of 17 million 'millionaires' to realize how completely screwed this system is. Apply the same calculation to the unfunded liabilities figure, and shudder."

I don't worry about the national debt and you shouldn't either. Yes, we owe the rest of the world $17 trillion...what most people fail to realize (since it's not well-publicized) is the rest of the world owes US approximately $16.66 trillion. So if they ever decide to call their markers in, we'll just do the same right back.

Then we only have to come up with $340 billion. I think Warren Buffett and Bill Gates can lend us that out of their pocket change.

---

@Feh: "Eh they will just assume that any company that cuts to get under 99 employees was trying to cheat, and it will be up to that company to prove they were NOT doing so."

Thus the importance of your HR department having correct documentation ready and waiting as to why that wasn't the reason.
Wait, you don't have an HR department?
C'mon, this is the 21st century. Upgrade...

---

@DT: "Do we even have a Congress any more? How can Obama issue all these exemptions and new rules and BS? Is he not bound to follow the letter of the law that Congress passed?"

Uh, no. That's not how it works.
Congress creates a bill. They vote, the bill gets passed into law. The bill contains guidelines, with vague "Exact implementation is up to whatever federal agency is dealing with this."

As President Obama is the head of the federal bureaucracy (as given by the US Constitution) he's the one who decides how it is implemented and enforced. So long as what he does is not deemed unconstitutional and as long as it is within the guidelines of the law, he can delegate it on down or issue orders as he sees fit.

We tried, early on the in Republic, hammering out EXACTLY what everyone would do, but it ended up being a clusterfuck as no one was allowed any wriggle room - and if the law said something fucked, well, you were just shit out of luck. By the time Jefferson was President, Congress had gotten tired of all that rigamorale and everything has been guidelines ever since.

Anonymous Castaigne February 12, 2014 4:01 AM  

@hygate: "I don't see how this can be legal, not that that has stopped them in the past."

If you read the ACA, Obam and the beauracracy have the ability to do this. It is perfectly within the guidelines. They were given carte blanche on implementation. That hasn't been deemed unconstitutional, therefore it is legal.

---

@Rick Johnsmeyer: "Why is employment linked to health insurance at all? That makes no sense."

This system started during World War II, to offset wage controls. Companies couldn't offer competitive wages, but they could provide healthcare benefits. This was hugely successful and the process was cemented in 1954 when the IRS decided that employer-paid health insurance premiums were tax exempt.

If it were unlinked and the premiums not made tax exempt, companies would likely have to raise wages to compensate and greater employee mobility would occur as people would not longer be tied to a company for insurance purposes. This is anti-corporate and pro-labor, and therefore is uncapitalistic. You WANT your employees to remain wageslaves, not have agency. You can get more hours out of them that way.

---

@Atlas: "All these companies would have to do is spin off divisions and make them each a separate legal company all under the aegis of a "master company.""

Not so fast there, boss. The IRS is already wise to that trick (from nigh-on decades ago) and have that tactic already accounted for in their regulations. See your tax attorney for details.

Anonymous Castaigne February 12, 2014 4:01 AM  

@Krul: "If an employer fires 5 people because of Obamacare and says so, then what? Will he be forced to rehire them? Will he go to jail? Will he pay a fine?"

According to the ACA and resultant IRS regs, the IRS will smile, audit the shit out of you, and then assess your taxes at the above 100 employees rate, and then tack on additional fines for you to pay. If you do not elect to pay them, well, there's always federal tax court.

---

@RobertW: "I own a small B2B software company that producers prepackaged software. I have ten people working for me."

You should join the 21st century and sell out to Oracle, Google, Microsoft, or another Big Tech firm. There's no place for small business in modern IT. It's obsolete.

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Anonymous Anti-Democracy Activist February 12, 2014 10:14 AM  

I got 99 employee problems, but Obamacare ain't one.

Anonymous Thales February 12, 2014 10:38 AM  

Not that anyone will have the balls to do it but would love to see someone tell the IRS "I am firing them because of Obamacare, what the hell you going to do about it?".

You mean not many CFOs will have the balls to check the box on the IRS form which gets them into trouble? Who knew?! I'm guessing 100% of these 51-99 companies will have CFOs who check the correct box. I also predict that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow...

Anonymous Dr. Kenneth Noisewater February 12, 2014 12:34 PM  

I, too, am stunned that Vox would make such an egregious error.

Beware the wrath of Tarkin's fanclub: the Moff Divers...

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