Video: Obama slams Staples for discouraging part-time workers to get ObamaCare

posted at 2:01 pm on February 11, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Which is actually the opposite of what’s happening at Staples. Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith got a one-on-one interview with Barack Obama and offered a few challenging questions on foreign policy and Obama’s lack of success on behalf of some parts of his voting coalition. This question about Staples, a story on which Buzzfeed reported earlier, looked like more of a slam dunk, but Obama ended up getting it wrong in the end (via NewsAlert):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2qA_8sqa6s

BuzzFeed News: If I can move on to the Affordable Care Act. We reported yesterday that the office supply store Staples is — I’m sure this is an issue you’ve heard about before — is telling its workers that it will fire them if they work more than 25 hours a week. A manager had told a worker we talked to that “Obama’s responsible for this policy,” and they’re putting these notices on the wall of their break room saying that. I wonder what you’d say to the CEO of Staples, Ronald Sargent, about that policy?

Obama: What I would say is that millions of people are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. Satisfaction is high. The typical premium is less than 100 bucks.

BuzzFeed News: But this is a specific consequence…

Obama: No, I’m gonna answer the question. And that there is no reason for an employer who is not currently providing health care to their workers to discourage them from either getting health insurance on the job or being able to avail themselves of the Affordable Care Act. I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably and give them some basic financial security, and if they can’t, then they should be willing to allow those workers to get the Affordable Care Act without cutting wages. [emphasis mine — Ed] This is the same argument that I’ve made with respect to something like paid sick leave. We have 43 million Americans who, if they get sick or their child gets sick, are looking at either losing their paycheck or going to the job sick or leaving their child at home sick. It’s one thing when you’ve got a mom-and-pop store who can’t afford to provide paid sick leave or health insurance or minimum wage to workers — even though a large percentage of those small businesses do it because they know it’s the right thing to do — but when I hear large corporations that make billions of dollars in profits trying to blame our interest in providing health insurance as an excuse for cutting back workers’ wages, shame on them.

Er, what? No one is preventing these part-time workers from “get[ting] the Affordable Care Act.” In fact, that’s exactly what Staples is encouraging them to do — get their own health insurance through the exchanges. Staples executives are protecting the shareholders at whom Obama scoffs from paying large costs associated with the kind of employer-based policies that ObamaCare mandates by limiting their hours. By doing so, those employees can get their coverage through a state or federal ACA exchange.

In fact, there’s no way Staples could prevent them from “get[ing] the Affordable Care Act,” except by providing employer-based coverage, at which point they would become ineligible for the ACA’s subsidies. For that matter, if the typical premium is only $100 or less (thanks to those taxpayer-provided subsidies), the ACA would be a better deal for part-timers, no? I’d bet that Staples’ full-time employees are paying more than $100 a month for their contributions.  The reason the manager stated that “Obama’s responsible for this policy” is because the ACA mandates that employers provide coverage for anyone who works 30 or more hours a week. That was a price incentive that anyone other than the current administration could see coming a mile away. (However, the policy itself is ten or more years old, Staples said earlier today, which makes this a bit of poetic license on the part of the manager who created the sign. Staples also said it regularly promotes people to full time positions from their part time staff, including into management.)

Remember when Democrats liked the idea of people getting their own coverage rather than relying on their employers? Here’s Nancy Pelosi in March 2010 lamenting the “job locking” that prevented an artistic renaissance in America, or something:

So, you can‘t—everybody has so much to gain from this, small businesses, as I said, seniors, young people, women, our economy. Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance or that people could start a business and be entrepreneurial and take risk, but not job loss because of a child with asthma or someone in the family is bipolar—you name it, any condition—is job locking.

And again in May 2010:

And two years ago:

Looks like even passing the bill hasn’t made Obama familiar with what’s in it.

Regarding the interview itself, BuzzFeed seems to have acquitted itself well. There were plenty of jokes about cat GIFs when the interview was announced, but this was not a bad effort — and certainly better than Vox’s interview, which Jack Shafer called “Nerf ball” questioning that sounded “like extended commercials for the Obama-in-2016 campaign. I’ve seen subtler Scientology recruitment films.” Obama’s missteps in these interviews seem to be in part because his guard was down, expecting friendly treatment and assuming he was talking within the club, as it were. He might do better by facing off against those from media that treats Obama and his administration more critically. If he ever wants to give that a try, I’d be happy to take him up on it.


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Comments

…and I know where I’ll be getting my office supplies from now on.

thirtyandseven on February 11, 2015 at 2:04 PM

Good thing nobody cares what he thinks anymore……..
Well, at least nobody that matters.

LeftCoastRight on February 11, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Rainbows and unicorns.

John the Libertarian on February 11, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Obamacare is drowning kind of like Obama is….

sorrowen on February 11, 2015 at 2:06 PM

Greeeeeeedy corporations! I wonder frequently when that lie is no longer effective.

Judge_Dredd on February 11, 2015 at 2:06 PM

That was easy.

Gatsu on February 11, 2015 at 2:07 PM

Good thing nobody cares what he thinks anymore……..
Well, at least nobody that matters.

LeftCoastRight on February 11, 2015 at 2:05 PM

..as evidenced by the fact that he’s giving interviews to green-lipped, Cheerios-soaking scrunts and Buzzfeed. He’ll probably next turn up in Penny Saver and The Valley Green Sheet and Smart Shopper.

The War Planner on February 11, 2015 at 2:07 PM

oh, and better late than never…

BISHOP!

thirtyandseven on February 11, 2015 at 2:08 PM

The oaf should kick himself, into that dumb head of his, duh.

Schadenfreude on February 11, 2015 at 2:09 PM

25 hour work week? Has Obama ever worked half that?

No wonder he’s pissed. 25 hours is slavery!

ConstantineXI on February 11, 2015 at 2:10 PM

Good thing nobody cares what he thinks anymore……..
Well, at least nobody that matters.

LeftCoastRight on February 11, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Take that damn pen and phone away.

He thinks he’s in CHARGE of something.

ConstantineXI on February 11, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Obama just made it obvious that he doesn’t even know what Obamacare is.
blink on February 11, 2015 at 2:04 PM
Obama lives in a world where gay marriage will be acceptable and Obamacare work ironically he is likely destroying both. Yes the Supreme Court can go f$&@ themselves they aren’t able to change natures laws…

sorrowen on February 11, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Two things.

First, where in hell does Obama think private businesses will get the money to fund increased mandated medical health insurance costs and still remain successful or at least close to the average 2-5% profit margin?

Second, how many times has this President of the United States singled out a private business to bad mouth or make an example of?

Not the role of a President to single out any business…unless it is in flagrant violation of established law and doing such is a major threat to the economy of the United States. [There is precedent. Major violations. Not all that common anymore.]

And this President has not one clue as to how the actual real world business operates. In 2008 Obama complained more than once that insurance companies were rip-off’s because he had a car, once, and got into an accident, and they refused to fix his car…because, unbeknownst to Obama, carrying minimal liability does not cover collision damage. Then there is the case of Stanley, his mother, who Obama alleged was refused medical insurance and medical care when she was dying of cancer…a total fabrication on Obama’s part…total.

Smartest guy in the room? Damn. Small. Room.

coldwarrior on February 11, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Obamacare Insurance is ‘Unaffordable’ for 105 Million Americans

That’s 1/3rd of the population, for all the trolls of HA.

Schadenfreude on February 11, 2015 at 2:13 PM

I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect…

Resentment, division, class envy and entitlement — the coins of the realm in the “Community Organizer” trade. Nothing ever changes with this guy.

Cicero43 on February 11, 2015 at 2:15 PM

I N E P T

Rode Werk on February 11, 2015 at 2:17 PM

The reason the manager stated that “Obama’s responsible for this policy” is because the ACA mandates that employers provide coverage for anyone who works 30 or more hours a week. That was a price incentive that anyone other than the current administration could see coming a mile away.

That’s one way to create small business growth; chop down the big ones!

cbenoistd on February 11, 2015 at 2:17 PM

Hahaha!

Okay, yeah, I know I shouldn’t laugh, but Liberals are SOOOOOO unrealistic at times.

I know of a large healthcare provider here in NC who increased deductibles to 10K on their 2015 health insurance policy for employees. It was the only way they could keep premiums to less than the 9.5% mark for lower wage employees. And per the law, keeping a two-tiered health insurance system is a no-no.

Talk about a bunch of ticked off people!

Obama really needs to get a grip on reality!

lineholder on February 11, 2015 at 2:17 PM

I don’t think it’s poetic license because before DeathCare if a guy went over the limit by an hour or so he got paid an extra hour, now he goes over and you can be assured a government apparatchik will react with extreme prejudice.

DeathCare is such a disaster that every company who can be soaked for funding will be soaked, and if HHS needs to point to one guy who went over his time by one hour then so be it.

Bishop on February 11, 2015 at 2:17 PM

Obamacare Insurance is ‘Unaffordable’ for 105 Million Americans

That’s 1/3rd of the population, for all the trolls of HA.

Schadenfreude on February 11, 2015 at 2:13 PM

if they are trolls then they can only do common core math.

Oil Can on February 11, 2015 at 2:19 PM

What’s amazing is when he talks about the pay rate of Staples executives, and how corporations like Staples can afford to pay for insurance.

Where does he think that money to pay for insurance comes from? Corporations like Staples do not pay taxes, do not pay for insurance, do not pay to keep the lights on, do not pay the employees, do not pay rent…the customers pay for all of that. Staples doesn’t print money, they take money from a customer, in exchange for product and service, and they take that money and pay it out.

When taxes increase, they increase their prices, wages go up, so does prices.

This is basic econ, that 99% of the liberals have no idea, they actually think corporations pay for healthcare, many could care less if it goes up, they just charge it to the customers…and seeing as their competitors are in the same boat, they all raise their prices because free market is stifled.

right2bright on February 11, 2015 at 2:20 PM

I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect will do so soon and a certain federal agency whose name rhymes with Infernal Bevenue Mervice will be looking too.”

Bishop on February 11, 2015 at 2:20 PM

Staples? Stock? How is it doing? You ask?

Buying Office Depot for a couple billion.

Giving Office Depot’s CEO about $39 million to go away, too.

Staples? Must be doing OK.

coldwarrior on February 11, 2015 at 2:20 PM

Obama’s missteps in these interviews seem to be in part because his guard was down, expecting friendly treatment and assuming he was talking within the club, as it were.

No, they aren’t largely because his guard is down. He’s that fundamentally clueless about the real world – including the specifics of his ‘signature legislation’ and its effects in the real world.

His grasp of the real world is probably one of the most vapid in the history of the Presidency. His worldview is dominated by his thoroughly indoctrinated ideological view and biases. It’s demonstrated by his naive and contemptuous treatment of business – except for the businesses that he wants to succeed because it either advances his agenda or they pay. Things like profit margins or accountability to shareholders are meaningless to Obama. It’s all about the ideology – and he’s naive enough to believe that the ideology is powerful to change the real world as opposed to the real world demonstrating how bankrupt the ideology is.

Athos on February 11, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Infernal Bevenue Mervice ????

Bishop on February 11, 2015 at 2:20 PM

ROFL!!!

lineholder on February 11, 2015 at 2:22 PM

DeathCare is such a disaster that every company who can be soaked for funding will be soaked, and if HHS needs to point to one guy who went over his time by one hour then so be it.

Bishop on February 11, 2015 at 2:17 PM

And as a side note, those policies of “under 30 hours”, and the review and auditing of that takes time and money, which increases operating costs.

Every law put into place costs business money to monitor it, the “hidden costs”, and it adds up quickly.

right2bright on February 11, 2015 at 2:23 PM

All he heard was:

{my name….on a lunch room cork board…..major corporation….my fault…..}

And he just tee’d off.

BobMbx on February 11, 2015 at 2:23 PM

Obama slams Staples

…JugEars needs to slam…staples into his Lips!…STFU!

JugEarsButtHurt on February 11, 2015 at 2:24 PM

I’d bet that Staples’ full-time employees are paying more than $100 a month for their contributions.

When I found out my current employer only wanted me to pay $250 for health insurance, it was like getting a raise over what I was paying at my last employer.

Occams Stubble on February 11, 2015 at 2:24 PM

Obamacare Insurance is ‘Unaffordable’ for 105 Million Americans

That’s 1/3rd of the population, for all the trolls of HA.

Schadenfreude on February 11, 2015 at 2:13 PM

if they are trolls then they can only do common core math.

Oil Can on February 11, 2015 at 2:19 PM

In common core troll math, the correct answer is whichever one advances or supports their vapid ‘argument’.

Athos on February 11, 2015 at 2:24 PM

He’s that fundamentally clueless about the real world – including the specifics of his ‘signature legislation’ and its effects in the real world.

Athos on February 11, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Kimmel could probably get him to sign a petition to increase illiteracy across the country.

BobMbx on February 11, 2015 at 2:26 PM

The rich didn’t get rich by writing a lot of checks. How many CEOs have you seen sleeping under bridges since Obama promised to make them pay their “fair share”?

Judge_Dredd on February 11, 2015 at 2:26 PM

The “Obamacare” that ate…Obama?

Hmmm.

22044 on February 11, 2015 at 2:28 PM

Obama: What I would say is that millions of people are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. Satisfaction is high. The typical premium is less than 100 bucks.

Liar.

Sheerq on February 11, 2015 at 2:36 PM

Shhhhh…..we don’t talk about obamacare around here anymore.
everdiso on July 22, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Schadenfreude on February 11, 2015 at 2:36 PM

Cicero43 on February 11, 2015 at 2:15 PM

You read my mind.

Obama is a tiny, small man obsessed with keeping score.

jangle12 on February 11, 2015 at 2:37 PM

But these Obamacare posts are about whistling past the graveyard, by next Novemeber Democrats will be openly running on the ACA. Mark my words.
libfreeordie on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

When premiums decline y’all are going to be pissed!
libfreeordie on May 7, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Schadenfreude on February 11, 2015 at 2:37 PM

It’s like the oaf in chief has no business acumen whatsoever.

HumpBot Salvation on February 11, 2015 at 2:38 PM

Obama’s NPD is showing!

Talk about thin-skinned

lineholder on February 11, 2015 at 2:41 PM

He might do better by facing off against those from media that treats Obama and his administration more critically. If he ever wants to give that a try, I’d be happy to take him up on it.

That would be epic!

lineholder on February 11, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Ned the Pecker to arrive shortly and claim obamacare is working because the health insurance companies are raking in billions thanks to obamacare.

HumpBot Salvation on February 11, 2015 at 2:43 PM

All that President Revenge knows is “the big corporation stole its dirty profits and abused its workers!!!”

22044 on February 11, 2015 at 2:43 PM

He really is Odumbo.

avagreen on February 11, 2015 at 2:46 PM

22044 on February 11, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Piven and Cloward in a nutshell.

coldwarrior on February 11, 2015 at 2:47 PM

What I would say is that millions of people are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. Satisfaction is high. The typical premium is less than 100 bucks.

Yet more and more lies from Obama. Satisfaction with Obamacare is not high. The typical premium is not 100 bucks a month, that is the amount that the lower subsidized people are paying, not what most are paying.

Nothing but constant lies from him. He is truly not capable of telling the truth even when it would serve him.

Johnnyreb on February 11, 2015 at 2:49 PM

He really is Odumbo.

avagreen on February 11, 2015 at 2:46 PM

Comes from being high all the time. Sure fits those lazy eyes and stumbling to find a word that I see in interviews all the time.

avagreen on February 11, 2015 at 2:52 PM

Video: Obama slams Staples for discouraging part-time workers to get ObamaCare
Feb 11, 2015 2:01 PM by Ed M

Comment: I slam blogger for discouraging the use of proper grammar.

corona79 on February 11, 2015 at 2:52 PM

let’s go to the real level of analysis. Totally predictable.

What is the left/fanatics goal? Single payer for all. Working, not working, whatever. Shared Economy, as Jeb would say.

Hillary’s job, or whoever, is to point out how terrible capitalists have made barry.care. Then, Hillary Care. Barry was a visionary of course, but could do only so much with the right wing racist element, so now we get to move Forward.

r keller on February 11, 2015 at 2:54 PM

Obama has no clue how to lead. This is evidence of that.

sadatoni on February 11, 2015 at 2:56 PM

Now Obama understands that Staples stock value has nothing to do with their ability to pay for insurance, right? he does understand that, doesn’t he? That a company’s “Market value” is not a reflection of how much money they have in the bank, right?
.
.
.
.
.
.

Wait, he doesn’t?
Wow.

Doc Holliday on February 11, 2015 at 3:10 PM

I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably…

Amazing how a guy who doesn’t know a balance sheet from a bed sheet can look at the stock price and CEO pay of a business he knows nothing about and decide what they can afford to do with their money.

RadClown on February 11, 2015 at 3:23 PM

Doc Holliday on February 11, 2015 at 3:10 PM

Remember, this is the President who had a tough time figuring out, as he said it, “profit and earnings ratios” back in 2009.

And, he still believes in the depths of his dark, dank, hell-spawned soul that businesses have to take care of folks first…all businesses. “Cuz profits are evil.”

This guy could f up a lemonade stand.

coldwarrior on February 11, 2015 at 3:26 PM

Staples CEO turns down raise of $31,000

airupthere on February 11, 2015 at 3:27 PM

I don’t really need them right now but I’m going to Staples to buy three color laser printers for use later this year.

Mason on February 11, 2015 at 3:41 PM

I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably…

Erhh……

Staples CEO turns down raise of $31,000

The move comes as Staples revenue and profits have steadily eroded, with the retailer responding by announcing plans to close around 170 stores. Staples also experienced a major data breach that may have affected 1.16 million customers.

This is what happens when you think you’re the smartest, coolest guy in the room. The facts just f**k you over every time.

BobMbx on February 11, 2015 at 3:43 PM

Barack Obama; the Clif Clavin of Presidents.

BobMbx on February 11, 2015 at 3:44 PM

You are all making a fundamental mistake when you ascribe Obama’s behavior to “third world beliefs”, “Saul Alinsky tactics”, “sheer stupidity”, “Progressivism” or any of those other things.

At rock hard bottom, Barack Obama is nothing more than another dirty Chicago politician.

Think back to 2009, before the ACA was introduced in Congress. Remember the reports of all the Big Pharma representatives traipsing in and out of the White House? Remember the conferences with all the big health care organizations? The money from those guys greased the wheels of the ACA. They all cut deals with the White House in order to maximize (or protect) their income once the ACA was in place.

It’s the same with every other move Ogabe has made from the gitgo. Remember his deliberate schmoozing with the hard core lefties at Occidental and Columbia? That was about him belonging to the in-crowd. We all know that Arab money paid for his Harvard law school education. Any wonder why he’s always on the side of the Arabs against Israel and/or reason in the ME? Do some reading about how he squandered the Annenberg Challenge money in Chicago. 99.9% of that money went to his friends and political connections. All of his actions are transactions. In typical Chicago fashion, money, favors and influence are always in play. (Yes, I know he grew up in Hawaii rather than Chicago, but he was born Chicago in spite of it.)

Read anything published by Mike Royko or Robert Campbell’s Jimmy Flannery mystery novels to truly understand what motivates Ogabe.

catsandbooks on February 11, 2015 at 3:45 PM

I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably and give them some basic financial security, and if they can’t, then they should be willing to allow those workers to get the Affordable Care Act without cutting wages.

The Staples website says that “27,000 new associates join Staples every year”. So, in order to provide health insurance costing $3,000 per year to each NEW employee, the Staples CEO would have to pay $81 million per year out of his own pocket to follow Obama’s advice. Not to mention the cost of health insurance for employees with more than a year of experience at Staples.

I’ve got a suggestion for the President–if he feels so sorry for Staples employees, why doesn’t he buy them health insurance by selling the mansion he bought from Rezko? Then when he runs out of money, he’ll have to tell the other 95% of Staples employees why he denied them coverage. Flat broke like Hillary, or something like that.

Steve Z on February 11, 2015 at 3:59 PM

When is anything Obama’s fault? We all knew Obamacare would have consequences. The sheeple just went along with the empty suit. You vote for the POS. Now man up and deal with it.

kings on February 11, 2015 at 4:04 PM

…and I know where I’ll be getting my office supplies from now on.

thirtyandseven on February 11, 2015 at 2:04 PM

Staples announced that it is buying Office Depot for $6 billion last week. Office Depot merged with OfficeMax last year and also owns Quill, so it’s not like you have a lot of choice.

bw222 on February 11, 2015 at 4:08 PM

This man shouid not be slowed to talk without his teleprompter. And, what does Staples stock value it CEO comp have to do with anything? It is not hue business.

Techster64 on February 11, 2015 at 4:35 PM

Now Obama understands that Staples stock value has nothing to do with their ability to pay for insurance, right? he does understand that, doesn’t he? That a company’s “Market value” is not a reflection of how much money they have in the bank, right?

Wait, he doesn’t?
Wow.

Doc Holliday on February 11, 2015 at 3:10 PM

Now just give the man a minute and he will look up the price and earning ratios for Staples and all will be well.

parke on February 11, 2015 at 6:21 PM

When premiums decline y’all are going to be pissed!
libfreeordie on May 7, 2014 at 10:18 AM

The sad part is not that this is untrue, and you know it to be untrue…

The sad part is that the reverse of it is accurate: When premiums go up, deductibles go up, networks narrow and quality of care goes down, you and those like you are okay with it. It doesn’t matter how many millions of strangers’ lives are made more difficult, so long as your team gets the political victory they wanted.

Tell me, have those who liked their health plans been able to keep them?

Have we bent the cost curve downward?

Is the average family saving $2500 per year on healthcare costs?

Be specific and provide links, please.

GrumpyOldFart on February 11, 2015 at 10:05 PM

Things like profit margins or accountability to shareholders are meaningless to Obama. It’s all about the ideology – and he’s naive enough to believe that the ideology is powerful to change the real world as opposed to the real world demonstrating how bankrupt the ideology is.

Athos on February 11, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Fits so many other situations.

AesopFan on February 11, 2015 at 11:53 PM