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Report: Obamacare forces most Charlottesville, Va., firms to go part-time

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Virginia,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Obamacare,Jobs,Health Care,Economy

An influential Charlottesville, Va., money management team claims that Obamacare has forced many firms in Thomas Jefferson's hometown to switch to part-time workers, and that one manager was told he'd be fired if he hired a 50th full-time worker, the number that triggers the costly health care system.

"Economic self-defense has many firms forcing their employees to work less than 30 hours a week regardless of their preference or availability. This trend seems to be universal even here in Charlottesville," David John Marotta and Megan Russell of Marotta Wealth Management said in an online memo to investors. The firm handles many Charlottesville investors.

They added: "We hesitate to name all the businesses in town that are cutting employee hours below 30. Even though the list includes almost all major franchises, most firms have been smart enough to keep the changes as quiet as possible." The reason: "The backlash and boycotts have been harsh and vitriolic from liberals."

Nonetheless, firms have been just as tough on managers in Charlottesville, ordering those that run smaller companies to keep hours and full-time workers below the Obamacare base level of 50. Going over 50 means firms will either have to start offering health insurance or pay a significant fine.

"These smaller companies have a great incentive to keep their employees under this magic number," wrote Marotta and Russell. "We heard that one local firm told a business manager that if he allowed the hiring of a 50th employee, he would be fired to bring the number back under the limit."

The duo note that Obamacare is also hurting larger firms that can't cut employee numbers below 50. They give an example of a firm with 530 full-time workers and explain that a $1 million fine will be required if the firm doesn't offer health insurance. But, they add, it's still cheaper than offering the insurance "because government regulations more than double the cost of health care on younger workers."

Their memo suggests that Obamacare is resulting in a "jobless" recovery.

"This is part of the reason why employment statistics show part-time employment on the rise while the number of hours being worked remains constant. It also explains the economic benefits of outsourcing, sending jobs overseas or using technology to replace workers. These alternatives to employment can save money by avoiding the Obamacare employer mandates even if they appear to cost more on paper," wrote the money managers.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.