Fox Business host Stuart Varney on Thursday asserted that paying overtime could stifle companies like Google, and that a proposed White House change to overtime rules was essentially "buying votes."
Bloomberg News reported this week that the Obama administration was considering directing the Labor Department to make more American workers eligible for overtime pay. The rule change was expected to target fast food and retail companies which often label workers as "supervisors" or "managers" so they do not have to be paid for more than 40 hours of work.
The Washington-based Economic Policy Institute has said it supports the rule change for workers who make less than $50,000.
“It changes your quality of life when you know you can’t be required to work an extra 20 hours a week without being paid for it," Economic Policy Institute Vice President Ross Eisenbrey told Bloomberg. “The restaurant industry is famous for doing this, for calling people assistant managers."
But in an appearance on Fox News on Thursday, Varney said the Obama administration was trying "dictate income in the private sector."
"This is redistribution by executive order," the Fox Business host complained. "The president is buying votes. He is commanding higher salaries for millions of people. Right before an election. Don't you think that those millions of people will be grateful and say, 'Thanks for the pay raise, Mr. President. I'm voting Democrat.' Don't you think that's in there?"
Fox News host Bill Hemmer agreed that Varney had "an interesting point," and wondered if the rule change would be a "continued drag" on the economy.
"Let me take you back to Google," Varney opined. "In the earlier days of Google, they had all kinds of youngsters, up and coming strivers, who would work day and night. That's how they built the company. Tech startups with really a drive to succeed and climb that food chain."
"Now if you bring this in, those high tech workers who started all these brilliant companies, they'll be on the clock," he insisted. "Instead of these overnight creative meetings, they'll be saying, 'Oh, I just exceeded my 40 hours, I'm due overtime. And if I don't get it, I'm going to sue.'"
"Can you imagine the number of retroactive lawsuits from all kinds of people who were eligible for overtime, didn't get it, and now say, 'Come on, pay up'?"