Saturday, July 27, 2013

SHOCKER! WisGOP business owner deceives on Obamacare

Apparently Republican business owners have learned next to nothing from the elections we had 8 months ago, because they're still trying to trot out deceptions about Obamacare and the effects it'll have on their businesses. The latest example comes from a story planted on a Rhinelander TV station where the Trig's grocery chain in the Northwoods claims it would have gone out of business within a year because they would have had to actually offer their employees health insurance.

They reason Trig's said it decided not to hire people full-time because of the "freeloader tax" that Obamacare has for larger businesses, when those businesses have employees who work more than 30 hours a week that aren't currently getting health care benefits. Here's the one-sided story from WFJW.

John Peterson at Democurmudgeon has a good breakdown of Trig's cynical complaint, and why they're using Obamacare as their excuse for driving down wages in the name of maximizing profit. As John notes,
The locals should wonder what kind of community, small town business would screw them over like this. But the public has bought into the idea business can do any lousy thing it wants and get away with it.

It's ironic to hear a business complain about having more of the citizenry being insured outside of a job, because an employee that gets Obamacare keeps the business from having to pay for employees' insurance, which should raise the business's bottom line - well, unless you already are abusing the system like Trig's has been. In fact, many businesses already offload their employees health care benefits onto the taxpayer, as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services notes more than 174,000 Wisconsinites have jobs, but are still on BadgerCare. Walmart is the clear "leader" in this category, but it also includes many of the largest chains in the nation.

Largest number of Wisc. employees on BadgerCare, Q1 2013
Walmart 3,028
McDonald's 1,466
Aurora Health Care 1,030
Menard's 794
Walgreen's 713
UW System 708
Roundy's 706

On a quick tangent, the UW System number is remarkable, because the DHS notes that 5 years ago, in Q2 2008, the UW System was 46th in the same category. You think raising premiums with Act 10 and lowering pay of employees in the last 5 years might have been a reason? (Damn right it is)

Back to Obamacare, now. From the employee side, going using the Affordable Care Act also has its benefits. It can lower insurance premiums to the employee compared to being at the mercy of the private market, which that person should have more money to spend on products at a business instead of having those people's funds going to pay for medical care. It also lessens the chances that employee faces a financial catastrophe from suffering a serious illness while uninsured.

But there's another reason Trig's is complaining about Obamacare, and it's one that Channel 12 in Rhinelander left out, probably due to ignorance and laziness. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's database shows that the head honchos at Trig's (the Solberg family) are big GOP donors that have given tens of thousands of dollars to WisGOP and WisGOP candidates since 2010, including $10,000 to Scott Walker in 2010 and $2,500 more to Walker after Act 10 and the state budget was passed in 2011. These Baggers even gave more than $2,000 each to Northwoods morons like Kim Simac and Tom Tiffany, while not giving a dime to Democrats since 2009.

Let me put that choice into focus. Instead of paying their employees at their 5 stores in Northern Wisconsin a slightly better wage or helping to pay for their employees' health care, the Solbergs would rather pay off GOP politicians with their profits, and lower the hours of their current employees just to prove a political point. No wonder they parrot Walker's line about Obamacare being "unworkable", as they've invested a lot of money into trying to elect politicians that will screw up Obamacare's implementation in Wisconsin, and won't tolerate it succeeding, even if it helps their business and their community in the long run.

What WisGOP and their donors are actively pursuing is a strategy that the Washington Post's Greg Sargent accurately describes as "sabotage governing." As Sargent mentions, in 2013, GOPs don't care about the results of policies and legislation, just as long as they get their way. goes well beyond Obamacare implementation and the relentless blockading of Obama nominees for the explicit purpose of preventing democratically-created agencies from functioning. We’ve slowly crossed over into something a bit different. It’s now become accepted as normal that Republicans will threaten explicitly to allow harm to the country to get what they want, and will allow untold numbers of Americans to be hurt rather than even enter into negotiations over the sort of compromises that lie at the heart of basic governing.
This is seditious behavior that should make anyone who practices it unfit for office, but the Solberg CEOs at Trig's and the Walker-type WisGOP politicians they support don't care. These guys want it all, and as part of that philosophy, they will gladly reduce the chances of survival for a large number of people and businesses as long as they think they can grab a few more dollars and consolidate more power. Even if it's a stupid fiscal or business decision (and the WisGOP decision to fight Obamacare certainly is that), in RW bubble-world, it is better to strike the pose than compromise, accept and succeed.

These are the type of fact-free sociopaths we're dealing with on the issue of Obamacare, and Channel 12 in Rhinelander is the type of lazy media that swallows this crap without investigating it. Know this, strike back with facts and force, and do it over, and over, and over. Because Trig's and other pro-GOP businesses will be lying over the next year over....and over....and over.


  1. Thank you for sharing this! I recently got a job at Trigs. I'm a student so I'm ok with the part time hours, and the minimum wage is better than nothing. I'm on my parents insurance still, but if I wasn't, this would not be a job to support myself with.

    When I was hired they told me that I would not get more than 28 hours, so they wouldn't have to pay for my insurance, because of Obamacare, which would soon "ruin all businesses across the country and crash the economy." Still my other options for employment as a student who can only work part time, weren't much better.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story, Brandi.

    Funny you bring up the Obamacare provision allowing you to stay on your parents' insurance, because that in itself should help you (somewhat) offset the low wage you're getting, without you risking the chance of going into serious financial distress in case of a serious illness happening when you're uninsured.