by Mark Ivy
Hundreds of thousands of middle class and low-income earners across the nation are being hit with the realization that the long-strived-for and relied upon 40-hour-work week is dying and being lowered into the grave.
My life partner, Iohn, was informed this week his company is capping the number of hours to 30 within the next month. From the Cornfield to the Pacific back to the Atlantic Seaboard north to the Canadian border and south to the Gulf of Mexico, the same news is being given to hard-working Americans.
The cut-back in hours is not a result of companies and businesses finding more productivity with fewer hours worked along with an increase in wages paid, but rather due to the egregious demands of the health insurance reform law known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
While the ACA will not be fully implemented until next January, businesses, big and small, are trimming the number of hours worked and the number of employees considered full-time to stay under the threshold set by the law for required health insurance coverage.
Any business or company with 50 or more employees working over 30 hours per week must offer health insurance to employees.
Employers are balking and taking a knife to hours.
Those most affected are minimum wage earners. But other middle class workers are also feeling the scapel cutting into the weekly paycheck as well.
On the good side, there will be more job openings, but for lower pay and fewer hours.
Could this also be the end of the opportunity, so long cherished, to realize the American dream?
In Iohn's case he will be working four days per week, without benefit of overtime and hours capped at 30. He is already looking for other opportunities to work those three days off and gain more hours and income. The problem of course is that if successful in finding another job for those days, he will pay more in income taxes for holding down two jobs instead of one.
It is already being reported that in April, the average work week for non-supervisory employees was 30.0 hours for the month. The responsibility for the cut backs taking a big bite out of American workers' paychecks can be laid at the feet of President Barack Obama and his legacy legislation, the ACA.
Warning bells have rung since the bill, now law, first made its debut in 2009 and then Democratic congressional majorities sending the act to the White House to be signed into law in 2010. The alarms went off up until last year's Supreme Court decision finding the ACA constitutional as a taxing instrument.
Now, even Democrats, including the ACA's main sponsor and writer, Senator Max Baucus of Montana, are being very vocal expressing their concerns and issues with the law. A poll last week found only 35% of Americans in support of the law. A majority of those polled want the bill overhauled or repealed. Reportedly a full 47% of Americans thought the law had been sent to the shredder and was no longer valid.
When the ACA is fully implemented in 2014, how many workers will find how unaffordable the law has made health insurace after their paychecks have taken a major hit?
From the Cornfield, I have spoken out against the ACA from the beginning. My worst fears are coming to fruitition, although my voice and countless others were disregarded.
It is time to say, "Rest in peace, 40-hour-work week."
by Mark Ivy
For several years I have been actively giving my opinion on politics, the news, GLBT issues, the economy, health and so much more. It all began back in my other life before being disabled when I was an old-fashioned print reporter for a small town daily newspaper, The Linton Daily Citizen.
Even after I changed career fields and moved on, I continued to not shy from providing my perspective on any given subject. Throughout the 2012 presidential campaign, I would share my views on all the candidates, their positions as well as those who would open mouth and slide down in the mud. I have been quite active doing this since discovering CNN's iReport.
With the voluminous amount of articles I was writing on my sister blog, Inside My Mind, and a sub-blog, Cornfield, I decided last year to launch a blog completely devoted to "opinion from a different perspective" as a website, http://fromthecornfield.com. My health now is cutting into my devotion to my passion to put out to the world what I think of politics and what is happening in the world.
I have taken to blogging to keep in contact with the world around me, share my opinion, and for therapeutic reasons. Writing online helps me maintain my sanity as my health deteriorates.
The reality is that while I am putting my thoughts out for the world to see, I am probably the least read writer on the world wide web. While I do get hits to my blog, the majority seem to be from IP addresses known to be spammers. These suspect IPs are primarily from China and Asia, but also come from Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union as well as from South America, particularly Brazil and Guatemala, and occasionally from Africa and the Middle East.
While I appreciate seeing the hits, it would be better if the hits were from anyone who actually cared to read my words of wit and my inept drivel. But alas, seems I must resign myself to the dubious honor of not just an unread writer, but the most unread writer on the planet.
Comments are welcome on any of my articles, but rarely does anyone comment. Perhaps the reason is I try to keep the comment section free of spam and links to bogus sites infected with malware. All comments are subject to approval, but this is to protect legitimate visitors and readers.
Who knows maybe once I am gone, what I have written in cyberspace may become part of the historical account and an insight of how people in the early part of the 21st Century thought. For now I remain your humble servant, an unread writer.