For those of you who do not have teenage girls in the family, Forever 21 is a popular retailer of dirt-cheap clothing at very low prices. It's wildly popular with teens, because they can actually manage to buy trendy clothing on a teenager's budget, even if it does fall apart a few wearings later.
This week, news broke that Forever 21 is cutting hours for full-time employees down to 29.5 per week.
Employees who received the memo will have their hours reduced to a maximum of 29.5 a week -- just under the 30-hour full-time designation assigned by the Affordable Care Act, which requires companies who employ 50 or more workers to provide health insurance coverage for their full-time employees or face a penalty.
Newly part-time workers who were enrolled in medical, dental, vision and voluntary plans will also see their coverage cut off on Aug. 31, and they won't be able to receive paid time off.
Forever 21 denies that the cuts are related to the Affordable Care Act, and it's likely they aren't, given that the employees being cut back were covered by medical, dental, vision and other plans already. It's far more likely that the company decided the profit margins needed to be wider. While the company is currently privately-owned, they've been expanding at a breakneck pace which has sparked speculation that they might be angling for an IPO at some future point.
Forever 21 also has a vested interest in appearing to be a hip, progressive company. They have a published statement of corporate social responsibility on their site which is intended to reassure customers that they pay attention to their supply chain, their environmental footprint, and other issues which are of no concern to conservatives but of deep concern to progressives and young people.
One of those issues is access to health care, which is why they were quite careful to deny that the cuts had anything to do with the requirement that they provide health coverage to employees working more than 30 hours per week.
The retailer denied speculation from customers and the media that the decision had anything to do with the costs of Obamacare. "Forever 21, like all retailers, staffs its stores based on projected store sales, completely independent of the Affordable Care Act," the company said on Facebook.
None of that stops Michelle Malkin, who can find conspiracies in a room with one person sitting in it. Via Media Matters:
On America Live, Malkin said that Forever 21's statement on its decision was evidence that "the intimidation campaign of this White House has worked rather effectively." Malkin added that companies that have "had the audacity to talk about the connection between Obamacare and cutting benefits and cutting full-time employees to part-time" were "punished," so "of course a company is going to deny that it had anything to do with Obamacare."
See how that works? That evil black dude in the White House intimidated companies. Yeah, that intimidation included delaying the requirement that they actually cover those employees for a year.
That's some conspiracy. Intimidating a company into denying they're cutting employees' hours over a provision that doesn't apply to them for another year. Impressive.
Maybe Michelle should consider how her compatriots' deep cuts to our economy might be slowing it down, taking consumer purchasing to an even lower level than it is right now.