Table Talk: Overtime and Obamacare

March 14, 2014

Here are some ideas to help you through the weekend’s conversations about the President’s proposed changes to overtime pay and the Affordable Care Act, whether those discussions happen during family dinners or during a Sunday show appearance. 

 OVERTIME CHANGES

This week, the President proposed changes to overtime pay. Obama instructed the Secretary of Labor to develop a plan to expand the number of workers who are eligible for overtime pay. But right-wing media are claiming that paying people fairly for the work they do undermines Americans’ work ethics by “changing the nature of hard work.” 

 This is America. No one should cheat workers out of wages they earned through hard work.

Picking up extra hours is hard work. No one should be able to pick and choose whose hard work is worth extra wages, and whose isn’t.

Right now employers aren’t required to pay overtime to workers making more than $455 per week—$23,660 a year. That’s the same level as 10 years ago.

Employees can work as much as they want, but if a business needs its employees to work more than 40 hours a week, it needs to pay its employees for it.

Killer illustration: Imagine that you are a secretary in a factory and you work 60 hours/week for $30,000/year. Your employer says you’re a “manager” and pays you a salary, but you’re not. If you were paid hourly, you would make an additional $22,500/year — $1.75 for every dollar you’re making now.

Killer fact: Over the last 35 years, CEO pay increased 875%, accounting for inflation. During that same time, average worker pay only increased 5%: that’s 175 times more growth for the CEOs.


 THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, MIDTERMS, AND A TALE OF TWO FERNS

This week, Republicans’ continued their desperate attacks on the Affordable Care Act. Below are responses for two of those attacks: claiming that the Florida special election means the Affordable Care Act is doomed and arguing that the President’s appearance on “Between Two Ferns” wasn’t presidential

The website rollout was a train wreck. It’s no wonder many people are still confused about how this law works.
But the Affordable Care Act is working. Enrollment is up, young people are signing up, and health care costs are slowing.
Certainly there are still kinks to work out, but Americans want to fix them and move forward: 2 out of 3 Americans want to keep the law as is or only make small changes.
Republicans are desperate to keep Americans from liking this law to hurt the President politically. That’s why they are doing everything they can to scare, confuse, and block Americans to keep them from getting health care.

Florida’s 13th District

FL-13 isn’t a bellwether district and its special election wasn’t a referendum on the Affordable Care Act. Actually, the margin shouldn’t have been so close for Republicans because:
  • Republicans have held that district for six decades;
  • They’ve typically won the district by 30-point margins; and
  • Special elections typically bring out a very conservative electorate.

Between Two Ferns

Thankfully, our President has a sense of humor. He made a funny video to boost enrollment in federal health exchanges and it worked.
  • But it shouldn’t be considered beneath the President to advocate for his signature legislative achievement.
  • And the video worked: There were nearly 900,000 visits to healthcare.gov on Tuesday, up 40% from Monday, and FunnyorDie.com was the top source of referrals to HealthCare.gov on Tuesday.
Other Presidents have shown their funny sides: George W. Bush visited the Tonight Show; George H.W. Bush let Dana Carvey do impressions of him at the White House; and Nixon appeared on Laugh-In.
Republicans found those acts funny. Do we have to have a double standard on everything in our politics?

KEY:  Connect with your audience |  Make your case | Show how your opponents differ