Human Events Blog

Forward! To mass layoffs!

Obamanomics grinds grimly onward,  as CNBC brings word that on the day after the election, “Boeing announced a major restructuring of its defense division on Wednesday that will cut 30 percent of management jobs from 2010 levels, close facilities in California, and consolidate several business units to cut costs.”  It was sweet of them to keep that under wraps until after the election, wasn’t it?

And that’s not even the dreaded “sequestration” layoffs, which Obama broke the law to convince defense contractors to keep under wraps until after the election.  Those are yet to come.  The upside to living in a banana Republic with Party-dominated media is that life is full of “unexpected” surprises, to use the word that has come to dominate economic news in the Obama era.

Another round of layoffs announced on Wednesday came from Hawker Beechcraft, which announced it would close facilities in Arkansas, Arizona, and Texas, resulting in 400 jobs lost, while another 170 jobs would be cut from corporate offices in Kansas and Arkansas.

Also on the day after the election, the CEO of the Papa John’s pizza restaurant chain, John Schnatter, told a small community college audience in Florida that ObamaCare would likely result in cuts to employee hours by franchise owners seeking to escape the law’s mandates by eliminating full-time positions, a move he described as “common sense” and “lose-lose.”

Schnatter also predicted ObamaCare would add between $5 million and $8 million to his business costs (which is fine, because he’s an evil rich guy who supported Mitt Romney for president, and we all know that truly patriotic job creators happily pay for increased business costs out of their own pockets) and that it would add 10 to 14 cents to the cost of his pizzas, which is a bummer, but under Obamanomics theory is totally unrelated to the process of extracting that “fair share” from idle plutocrats.  Then he headed off to help out with a telethon for Hurricane Sandy victims and write the Red Cross a million-dollar check, but we all know that private charity is irrelevant, as only Big Government can save us from big storms.

The Huffington Post relays the thoughts of Fox Business Network corresponded Charlie Gasparino, who says Wall Street executives are “in mourning” after Obama’s re-election, because “they know that Wall Street is going to lay off a lot more people.”  About 10,000 of them by the end of the year, in fact, if the New York state comptroller’s estimate is accurate.  It’s not a big deal though, because those people are evil.  Everyone knows that investment capital and consumer loans should be redistributed by selfless government agencies, not greedy bankers.

According to Gasparino, things could look up if “Republicans and Democrats happen to reach a long-term budget deal similar to Simpson-Bowles,” which could mean “the market is going to go through the roof” to “Dow 20,000, easy.”  But he knows perfectly well that’s not going to happen.  We’ll more likely get the usual: big tax increases right now, combined with vague promises of largely symbolic spending cuts at some indeterminate point in the future.

Once the sequestration cuts and financial industry devastation are done, the real action to watch in the job market next year will be the transition of full-time workers to part-time.  That’s a very attractive option for escaping from ObamaCare and reducing payroll costs, without producing headline-grabbing mass layoffs (executives don’t like giving the impression their companies are terminally ill) or depriving operations of needed labor altogether.  As a New York Times article noted in October, it’s increasingly easy for service companies (which accounted for the bulk of job creation in the last pre-election employment report) to do, using “sophisticated software that tracks the flow of customers, allowing managers to assign just enough employees to handle the anticipated demand.”  It’s a trend that’s been developing for a long time, but there are now powerful incentives accelerating it.

The result “has been a bane to many workers, pushing many into poverty and forcing some onto food stamps and Medicaid. And with work schedules that change week to week, workers can find it hard to arrange child care, attend college or hold a second job.”  Fortunately, there are lots of food stamps to give away here in the New Normal, and it’s likely that pleas for more extensive government-provided child care to assist America’s part-time workforce would not fall upon deaf ears.

Update: An anonymous business owner in Las Vegas told talk-radio host Kevin Wall he fired 22 of his 114 employees on the day after President Obama’s re-election because “elections have consequences” and “at the end of the day, I need to survive.”  He said this was necessary to “make sure I have enough money to cover the payroll taxes and the additional health care I’m gonna have to do.”

“Well unfortunately, and most of my employees are Hispanic — I’m not gonna go into what kind of company I have, but I have mostly Hispanic employees — well unfortunately we know what happened and I can’t wait around anymore, I have to be proactive,” the businessman continued.  “I had to lay off 22 people today to make sure that my business is gonna thrive and I’m gonna be around for years to come.  I have to build up that nest egg now for the taxes and regulations that are coming my way.  Elections do have consequences, but so do choices.  A choice you make every day has consequences and you know what, I’ve always put my employees first, but unfortunately today I have to put me and my family first, and you watch what’s gonna happen.  I’m just one guy with 114 employees — well was 114 employees — watch what happens in the next six months.  The Dow alone lost 314 points today. There’s a tsunami coming and if you didn’t think this election had consequences, just wait.”

The entire conversation can be heard by clicking this link.

Update: FreedomWorks has an extensive list of even more post-election layoffs resulting directly from Obama policies.   Among the bigger names: Welch-Allyn, Dana Holding Corporation, Stryker, Boston Scientific, and Medtronic.  The confirmed post-election jobs death toll from this list stands at 5,263 jobs, but much more are on the way, including a 5 percent cut in the huge Stryker workforce, a probably comparable reduction of Dana’s even larger staff, and talk of jobs being sent to China.  The transition to part-time labor I mentioned above is also discussed.

Update: Twitchy.com relays the Twitter messages of more small business owners who are preparing to batten down the hatches and issue pink slips.

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