The 49ers By MICHAEL TANNER

How ObamaCare will keep unemployment high — by forcing small companies to cut their workforce to fewer than 50 people

Shortly after Nov. 6, Zane Tankel, who runs 40 Applebee’s restaurants in the New York City area, announced that his company was freezing employment and would not build any new restaurants. President Obama’s re-election, Tankel explained, meant that ObamaCare was likely to be fully implemented, costing his company millions of dollars and significantly raising the cost of hiring a worker.

Tankel’s statement prompted outrage and threats of a boycott, but he was far from alone. Already John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, has announced that he would likely lay off some workers. Earlier, Schnatter said that ObamaCare would cost his business $5 billion to $8 billion annually, forcing him to increase the price of pizzas.

Meanwhile, two other restaurant chains, Olive Garden and Red Lobster, are moving many of their employees from full- to part-time work in order to avoid the law’s mandate that anyone working more than 30 hours must have insurance. An owner of 40 Denny’s in Florida, meanwhile, says he’ll add a 5% surcharge to customer bills in 2014 to cover his increased costs.
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ObamaCare’s rules make expansion expensive, particularly for the 500,000 US businesses that have fewer than 100 employees.

Suppose that a firm with 49 employees does not provide health benefits. Hiring one more worker will trigger the mandate. The company would now have to provide insurance coverage to all 50 workers or pay a tax penalty.

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