Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi — whom the Obama team has cited as an economic authority when he favored their policies — attributes the weak jobs report not to the sequester cuts, but to the fact that Obamacare deters hiring at companies that have between 50 and 499 employees.
“I think it’s way too premature for the sequester [to be] having an impact,” Zandi said on CNBC this morning, to the delight of Republicans. “The retail trade number would be consistent not only with the payroll tax but, again, I think the health care reform may be having an impact. Remember the ADP number that said [that] for those companies with employees [from] 50-499, that’s the group that would be affected by the health care reform — we’ve seen a rather sharp slowing in job creation: 43k in January, 20k in February, and minus-five [thousand] in March.”
Companies with more than 50 full-time employees must provide Obamacare-approved insurance to their workers.
“In the latest indication of how complicated putting the Affordable Care Act into action will be, the Department of Health and Human Services and Internal Revenue Service issued 18-pages of regulations just to describe what a “full-time employee” is,” Paul Bedard reported last year. “Of note, to the Feds a full-time employee works an average of just 30 hours a week, not the normally accepted 40 hours.”
Zandi’s work has been cited by the White House when it supported their agenda. For instance, when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney argued that the sequester would hurt the economy, he said, “don’t take my word for it. Macroeconomics Advisers, Moody’s, the CBO all estimate massive job loss if the sequester is allowed to take effect.”
Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, cited Zandi by name during a White House press briefing on housing policy.
“When the President, last fall, said that there were steps that we needed to take to help Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers refinance, there was bipartisan support in Congress to do that,” Donovan said. “And just look at the community of economists and other housing analysts, from Mark Zandi and Martin Feldstein on the right to a whole range of economists that are more on the left — this is one of the things that folks believe is the most important step that we can take.”