In his first post-election news conference, President Obama reaffirmed his vow to the middle class, “I’ve got one mandate…a mandate to help middle-class families and families that are working hard to try to get into the middle class.”
So, what happened to that pledge since last November? Why are hardworking Americans like South Carolina resident Kris struggling even more in 2013? To him, the Obamacare mandates have trumped the middle-class mandate, causing economic grief for Kris and many others across the nation.
“For the past 5 years, I was a full-time employee at a local food chain with insurance, vacation, 401K and other benefits. Due to the threat of Obamacare, the store cut more than 50% of its full time employees to part time with a maximum of 28 hours per week. Along with this cut came the loss of benefits and reduction in my hourly rate,” explained Kris, who realized quickly that this was just the beginning.
His wife’s insurance policy at work, which Kris was able to join, had to come into compliance with Affordable Care Act requirements. That triggered a 20% across-the-board increase in premiums – not a welcomed change for a family who just lost $260 a week due to hours being cut.
Like many Americans, Kris is trying to cope with the new “normal” under Obamacare. For years, policy wonks and pundits alike have been sounding the alarm that the law’s new taxes, mandates and regulations would have a devastating toll on the middle class. In 2011, Heritage wrote:
“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) imposes numerous tax hikes that transfer more than $500 billion over 10 years—and more in the future—from hardworking American families and businesses to Congress for spending on new entitlements and subsidies. In addition, higher tax rates on working and investing will discourage economic growth both now and in the future, further lowering the standard of living.”
Anticipated or not, it does not ease the financial pain and frustration for Kris and his family.
“Obamacare is not only destroying our healthcare; it is destroying the American middle class. So far, the total lose to our family is $14,700 a year and has forced me to seek another part-time job to try to make ends meet. I don’t know what kind of America Washington is trying to create, but it is not the one I grew up in,” Kris lamented.