In How Liberal Politics, Including Obamacare, Hurt ESPN, Breitbart makes a stunning argument that implicitly suggests that ESPN was committing payroll fraud, Breitbart blamed Obamacare for EPSN’s layoffs. The Breitbart arguments goes like this:
- ESPN used to hire many freelancers.
- With Obamacare, ESPN risked massive fines for the misclassification of workers.
- By hiring employees instead freelancers, ESPN’s salary costs exploded forcing ESPN to sacrifice production aspects which compromised the quality of the telecasts.
Breitbart writes that Obamacare’s penalties for misclassification are a problem hurting businesses all across the board and in every corner of the nation.
Basically, Breitbart is saying that ESPN used to commit payroll fraud and now has to play by the rules and it is costing them. If EPSN misclassified employees as freelancers/independent contractors, then ESPN avoided paying payroll taxes, unemployment taxes and paying for workers compensation. Misclassifying employees can save a company a lot of money. Paying employees properly and paying appropriate payroll taxes costs more.
But this is not just a liberal issue or Democratic issue. Republicans across the country oppose payroll fraud through employee misclassification. Republicans in a number of states have called for stronger enforcement around misclassification of employees, particularly in the construction industry where unscrupulous companies misclassifying employees, save on payroll costs and then offer lower bids on construction projects — underbidding companies that play by the rules. The Texas GOP has come out forcefully against misclassification. In 2015, the Texas GOP wrote:
Preventing workers from being paid as employees denies them basic protections and costs taxpayers millions each year because employers are avoiding payroll taxes on that labor. Employers who follow the law are investing in a sustainable workforce, which is undermined by worker misclassification. Many of those ethical employers have urged lawmakers to do more to contain what they’ve called “a cancer” ….
The Texas GOP, along with Republicans in other states like North Carolina, Minnesota and Kansas have all come out against payroll fraud — when companies misclassify workers as freelancers or independent contractors instead of employees.
Breitbart’s argument may play well with opponents of Obamacare, but underlying the argument is the idea that ESPN was previously committing payroll fraud and is now forced to play by the same rules as everyone else.