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Let them bake cakes

September 26, 2013 - Rob Weaver
In an interview Sunday with Candy Crowley on CNN, Sen. Nancy Pelosi had what sounded like a let-them-eat-cake moment.

When Crowley noted criticism that Obamacare will result in the loss of some full-time jobs, Pelosi took a look-on-the-bright-side, make-lemonade attitude.

The former House Speaker suggested a switch to part-time work would give employees more free time.

“Overwhelmingly, for the American people, this is a liberation,” she said, adding Obamacare would give the new part-timers “the freedom to pursue [their] happiness.”

Maybe she is referring to the vast minority of workers -- mostly semi-retired -- who work full time just to participate in health care plans offered through their employer. Next year, when they find themselves working part time, perhaps they can afford to pay for a plan offered on the health-care marketplace. Their new free time then could be spent volunteering, playing cards or enjoying coffee-klatches.

Or maybe, Pelosi means former full-time workers can just quit altogether and get coverage subsidized by taxpayers. Their new free time could be spent gardening -- a great way to stretch those Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

But a study by UC Berkeley Labor Center predicts 2.3 million workers -- or more -- could end up working fewer than 30 hours per week as their employers avoid an Obamacare mandate. Most of them will spend their new-found free time looking for another part-time job. That likely will mean working more hours, more days of the week, or both. And say goodbye to paid vacations. Or even unpaid vacations.

I have advice for those who find themselves “liberated” to passionately pursue part-time gigs. I made it through college working two, sometimes three, part-time jobs. During my second year of school, I had to send the IRS money at tax time -- and pay a fine -- because I failed to make estimated federal income tax payments.

That's because I didn't earn enough at any one of my jobs to require much income tax to be deducted from my paychecks. But the combined pay -- added together on my income tax return -- bumped me into a higher tax bracket.

If you find yourself stringing jobs together to make ends meet, you might consider allowing greater withholding from each paycheck. Oh, and good luck pursuing that happiness.


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