Debunking the GOPropaganda ‘part-time’ lie

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

BullshitjThe key to GOPropaganda is the insidious "Big Lie" technique — keep repeating the lie over and over again until in the minds of low information voters the repetition of the lie becomes ingrained in their consciousness as a fact — "yeah, I remember hearing that somewhere."

One of the most prevalent GOPropaganda lies in recent years is the claim that the Affordable Care Act aka "ObamaCare" is making America a part-time employment country. There is not one GOPropagandist in the conservative media entertainment complex or GOP politician who has not repeated this claim.

Just this past Sunday, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, a fluffer for Wall Street CEOs, was a guest on NBC's Meet the Press Gregory and claimed "As a result of Obamacare, we are becoming something of a part-time employment country." Of course, "Dancing Dave" did not challenge her to support her assertion.

But with the belated release of Labor Department statistics on Tuesday, there was a raft of reporting debunking the GOPropaganda "part-time" lie.

Ben Casselman at Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal put the truth to the lie, Don’t Blame Health Law for High Part-Time Employment:

Don’t blame the health law for high levels of part-time employment. In
fact, using the law’s definitions, part-time work isn’t increasing at
all as a share of employment, at least not yet.

Part-TimeNearly 8 million American were working part-time in September because
they couldn’t find full-time work. Overall, 27 million people — nearly a
fifth of all employees — are working part-time, well above historical
norms.

Many critics of the Obama administration have pointed the finger for the prevalence of part-time jobs at the Affordable Care Act,
the 2010 law better known to some as “Obamacare.” The law’s so-called
“employer mandate” requires most midsize and larger companies to offer
health insurance to their full-time employees. That, critics argue,
provides companies with an incentive to hire part-timers instead.

* * *

But a closer look at the data provides little evidence for the notion
that the health law is driving a shift to part-time work, although it
could as the mandate deadline approaches.

First of all, over a longer time frame, part-time work has actually been
falling as a share of employment in recent years. Before the recession,
about 17% of employed Americans worked 35 hours or less, the standard Labor Department
definition of “part time.” During the recession, that figure rose,
briefly hitting 20%. It’s been trending down since then, but only
slowly, hitting 19% in September.

The uptick in part-time employment earlier this year now looks like a
statistical blip: Part-time employment fell in late 2012, then rebounded
in early 2013, and has now fallen for two consecutive months. But even
if the upward trend resumes, it’s doubtful that the health law is to
blame.

* * *

Put another way: If the Labor Department used the same definition of
“part-time” as the health law, its data would show no increase in
part-time work over the past year.

Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times similarly reported, Obamacare and part-time jobs: The myth exploded (again):

The [jobs] report's most notable nugget is the change in part-time work.
Over the last month the number of workers in part-time jobs for economic
reasons–slack demand, cutbacks in hours–has remained stable. Over the
last year, however, it has fallen by 681,000. Those part-timers also
constitute a smaller share of all workers–5.5% in September compared to
6% a year earlier.

That puts the lie to the popular conservative meme that Obamacare
has transformed America's workforce into part-timers. The idea is that
employers wishing to evade the law's requirement that they offer health
insurance to employees working more than 30 hours a week will cut their
hours to 29 or less. The shorthand about this provided by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), that one-stop shop for Obamacare disinformation, was "single parents who have been forced into part-time work." 

Previous employment reports
have shown no evidence for that, and the new report undermines the myth
further. Moreover, the monthly report defines "part-time" more loosely
than the Affordable Care Act — 35 hours a week or less, compared to the
ACA's 30 hours–which means there's even less evidence for the
Obamacare/part-time meme.

And PolitiFact (yes I am keenly aware of its questionable subjective fact-checking) called CNBC's Maria Bartiromo's statement "False." Bartiromo says Obamacare is turning us into 'a part-time employment country':

Our research finds Bartiromo’s claim flawed. Not because we don’t have a lot of part-timers. We do.

But the overwhelming driver is a lackluster recovery, not Obamacare.
And when you look at the past, the percentage of part-timers has been
even higher than it is today.

* * *

A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco puts
the current situation into context. The recession drove up the fraction
of part-time workers from about 17 percent in 2007 to a peak of 19.7
percent in 2010. It has declined since then. As of the latest data, it stands at 19 percent.

The study’s bottom line is that recessions drive up the fraction of
the workforce who are in part-time jobs when they would rather be
working full-time. The 1983 recession pushed the share of part-timers to
20.3 percent. That’s significantly higher than the peak for the 2008
recession.

What’s different this time though is that the part-time employment
rate has remained higher for many more months than in past recessions.
The authors put the cause squarely at the feet of the overall economy.

"The U.S. labor market has recovered only about three-fourths of the
jobs lost during the recession and its aftermath, which leaves finding a
full-time job still challenging for many workers," they said. "General
labor market slack remains the key factor keeping part-time employment
high."

The report considers whether the Affordable Care Act could be shaping
employers' hiring decisions, but concludes that other factors —
including long-standing IRS rules — suggest the ACA has not made a
significant change.

* * *

Government numbers actually show that the fraction of part-timers in the
workforce has declined since 2010 and in a longer historical
perspective, the share of part-timers was less during this recession
than in the downturn of 1983.

* * *

An independent analysis suggests that the lack of full-time work is
the most significant explanation for a persistently high share of
part-time work in the labor force.

We rate the claim False.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes did an excellent segment on this GOPropaganda "part-time" lie on All In on Tuesday night.

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