The Sunday Dispatch: Commentary: Pat Toomey Pennsylvanians are worried about jobs

September 12, 2013

Pat Toomey, September 11 – Over the past three weeks, I visited 28 Pennsylvania counties. I met with business owners, students, and workers along the way. I hosted town hall meetings and jobs roundtable discussions with many hundreds of Pennsylvanians. At all these stops, one message came through loud and clear. People are worried about jobs.

I heard agreement from one corner of the state to the other — the economy is sluggish and the job market is disappointing. Folks understand that the policies out of Washington are exacerbating the problem.

Pennsylvanians cited many examples of policies that are stifling job creation. But two areas were mentioned above others and have people worried the most: ObamaCare and energy.

Examples of how ObamaCare is already affecting employment can be seen in the news most days, but I heard it first hand in the last few weeks. Small business owners are worried about the threshold that subjects them to additional health care mandates if they have more than 50 full-time workers. One town hall participant – an entrepreneur with 60 employees – asked me, “What am I supposed to do, lay off 11 people?”

Workers are also worried that their hours may be cut. The law states that employers must comply with the often unaffordable Obamacare mandates for full-time workers clocking 30 or more hours per week. In response, businesses are cutting employees’ hours to less than 30. It is perverse indeed when laws encourage less hiring and fewer hours.