Unintended Benefits of Obamacare
According to various talk show hosts and columnists, one of the many consequences of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a Obamacare, is more Americans will be working part time and less will have full-time employment opportunities. It turns out that under the Affordable Care Act, employers won’t have to pay employee’s healthcare benefits unless they’re full-time employees. So, why not have fewer full-time employees if you’re a business man partial to profit?
This- working less- is, apparently, a bad thing.
While I agree many of the conventional reasons that say Obamacare is going to ruin healthcare and possibly America as a whole, are probably valid, I’m not entirely sure working less should be included in this category. As far as I know, there are no studies that say working more is good for you. In fact, every case study I’ve heard and read about concludes just the opposite. The happiest and least stressed people are usually those who have a balanced work and leisure schedule.
The typical workweek for Average Joe is a forty-hour one. Joe usually wakes up around six-thirty, puts on a pot of coffee, showers and brushes his teeth, gets dressed, pours the freshly-brewed coffee into a thermos, grabs a pop tart, and heads out the door. Once Joe is on the road, he sits in traffic for- if it’s a good morning- half an hour. At work, Joe spends the majority of eight hours either staring at a computer screen, or lifting and wielding heavy objects against stationed structures (this Joe probably takes his shower after work). He’s usually “encouraged” to meet a quota and watched like a hawk in case he attempts to get away with getting paid for that minute he spent picking his nose. At around five o’clock, Joe gets back in his vehicle and begins his journey back home, but not before- if he should be so lucky- he sits through another half-hour of traffic. Once Joe is home, he plops his tired mind and body in his Lazy-boy and stares at a different kind of screen until- if he’s lucky- his wife has dinner ready. After dinner, Joe watches the news until he goes to sleep.
Tomorrow he will do it all over again.
The typical week I described is one of the better ones. Some Joes work weekends. Others work twelve-hour shifts, or fifty-hour weeks. A lot of average Joes would love to spend only a one hour a day in traffic. Some Joes don’t have a wife who can cook dinner because she too works most of the day. This Joe’s family is the one you see having dinner at Burger King.
Let’s think about what you can do with an extra day. You can spend more time with your family. You can pry into the kids’ personal lives and maybe even attend some of their practices. You can visit the grandchildren more often. You can actually catch up with your spouse. Or you can go fishing or jogging. If you’ve always had artistic ambitions, you can use your extra time to paint. Or you can make arts and crafts (which can possibly bring in some extra income) if that’s more your bag. Maybe you’re the type to volunteer at church. Or maybe you always wanted to be part of a book club, or the community political group. Or perhaps an extra day off is precisely what you need to pursue that dream you haven’t been able to shake. Or… you can rest.(There’s a novel idea.)
There’s an array of activities and interests one can partake in had he more time. This can hardly be argued.
According to Forbes, seventy percent of Americans hate their jobs. Aside from transitioning into a job he may like, the next best thing the average American can do is work the job he hates a little less. I can hear the voices of incredulous objection: Are you nuts?! We have mortgages to pay, kids to feed, car payments to make, gadgets to buy, and wardrobes to upgrade. We can’t do that on a part-time paycheck!
Let’s slow down a bit.
Most of us work so much because we have the brain disease indicative of a thought-pattern which suggests we can’t have a good life unless we’re always spending money. So, we became used to a life where we constantly spend money. I also think we buy a lot of stuff to make up for how miserable we are while earning the money it took to purchase said stuff. New things make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, convinces us that everything is going to be alright. But the feeling of newness wears off. So we buy more stuff. It’s an endless cycle.
This rant isn’t against capitalism. It’s against the aforementioned brain disease. Capitalism has proved itself repeatedly while every other system has failed. But when a society has more than any other two combined, yet it is drowning in anti-depressive pills, we must logically conclude that something is wrong.
So, what adjustments can we make?
We need to reload the American dream. The original settlers came here to earn a living and be free while doing so. I doubt their intentions were to become slaves to crappy jobs and fancy, ever-changing gadgets. Yes, I realize quality of life has increased greatly with the Industrial Revolution. No one is suggesting we regress. In fact, I’m suggesting quite the opposite.
We can retain our iPhones (although it wouldn’t hurt to skip a generation) and our air conditioned homes without being a slave to our jobs. I’m not suggesting overnight transformation. It’s more a matter of certain adjustments as we transition from a life cluttered with crap and into one filled with joy and, possibly, purpose.
The first and most important step towards this transition is to get out of debt as soon as possible. The more debt you have, the more likely you are to be a slave to an employer or your business. Debt also makes one desperate. A desperate state is one likely to foster illogical decision-making, decisions which usually perpetuate the cycle of debt. There are approximately one million articles on getting out of debt. Start researching if you don’t know where to start.
Consider this particular speculative aspect of Obamacare a blessing. If anything, let’s use the “extra” time off to get involved in the political process we were too busy to be a part of in the first place (maybe the reason Democrats have won again is because they stay home and make calls and such, while conservatives are working).
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