PPACA Followup

I recently pointed to reductions in full-time adjunct instructor employment as a consequence of PPACA’s requirement that employers pay for health care for full-time employees. So if it’s happening in the non-profit groves of academe, what would we expect to find in the for-profit world?

The same, at least according to Warren Meyer (of Coyote Blog). Writing at Forbes he predicts the end of full-time work in the American retail sector.

Late last year, within the service world, this change was already occurring – at restaurants, at hotels, and in retail stores, managers were already formulating plans…

Slowly, the story is starting to emerge in the general media. Fox News reported on Monday:

The nation’s largest movie theater chain has cut the hours of thousands of employees, saying in a company memo that ObamaCare requirements are to blame.

Regal Entertainment Group, which operates more than 500 theaters in 38 states, last month rolled back shifts for non-salaried workers to 30 hours per week, putting them under the threshold at which employers are required to provide health insurance. The Nashville-based company said in a letter to managers that the move was a direct result of ObamaCare.

This is not an isolated incident at this one company — it is already happening everywhere in the service business. The tree fell in the forest months ago, but it is only just now being heard.

I run a retail service business (operating campgrounds and public parks) with over 400 employees. We knew from the day that the PPACA (or “Obamacare”) passed we would be too large to be exempt from the law and that it would have enormous, even catastrophic effects on our business. So we have spent a lot of time studying the law and its associated regulations to understand exactly how it will affect us. Which has been difficult, since some of the key regulations that would apply to us (e.g. around seasonal work forces) have not even been written yet, just 8 months now before the law is to take effect.

But one thing has been very clear: The best way to be “safe” and avoid the costs imposed by the law was to have one’s workers be classified as “part-time”, or for this particular law working less than 30 hours per week. The other fact that emerged from some IRS rule-making…was that whether a worker was to be classified as part-time on January 1, 2014 would be based on his or her work patterns in 2013. This is why savvy companies, including ours, were planning hard for work force changes last year. Our goal was to get every worker in the company under 30 hours a week before 2013 even started.

Everywhere I traveled last year, this shift to part-time service work was the main topic of discussion — resort owners, hotel employees, waiters and retail clerks all discussed, and generally lamented, the changes. I met private equity folks who were considering buying a restaurant chain, and much of their analysis concerned potential new approaches to splitting shifts to get all their workers under 30 hours a week. I can’t remember going to a single business conference where this was not a major discussion topic. My company’s management training this year had to shorten or eschew entirely our usual productivity and customer service topics in order to spend about half the time planning part-time shift management.

All this may seem a bit extreme to a service industry outsider, not used to the narrow margins and constant focus on cost control down to the penny. I can assure you that for many service businesses, the Obamacare-imposed costs are astronomical. For our $9 million revenue business, the initial tally of potential Obamacare costs came to just over $1 million a year, or three times our annual income in a good year.

But I think there is another reason driving this shift to part-time service work.

The service industry generally does not operate 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, so its labor needs do not match traditional full-time shifts. Those of us who run service companies already have to piece together multiple employees and shifts to cover our operating hours. In this environment, there is no reason one can’t stitch together employees making 29 hours a week (that don’t have to be given expensive health care policies) nearly as easily as one can stitch together 40 hours a week employees. In fact, it can be easier — a store that needs to cover 10AM to 9PM can cover with two 5.5 hour a day employees. If they work 5 days a week, that is 27.5 hours a week, safely part-time. Three people working such hours with staggered days off can cover the store’s hours for 7 days.

Based on the numbers above, a store might actually prefer to only have sub-30 hour shifts, but may have, until recently, provided full-time 40 hours work because good employees expect it and other employers were offering it. In other words, they had to offer full-time work because competition in the labor market demanded it. But if everyone in the service business stops offering full-time work, the competitive pressure to offer anything but part-time jobs will be gone. The service business may never go back.

… Over 25 million workers are currently undergoing or will soon be facing this stunning change in the way they work….

At Coyote Blog Meyer also posts this image, originally from the Department of Labor, but with his own annotations added.
PPACA-and-employment
OK, I think we can always be skeptical when we’re given a graph like this–we don’t know that it’s not simply a case of a post-hoc fallacy. And we need to consider it in comparison with the still-declining unemployment rate (see graph below, from BLS). But it ought to give us pause.

PPACA was supposed to–in part, not as its primary purpose–help the economy by reducing health care spending. But if it’s causing unemployment, that other dynamic may be wholly overwhelmed (assuming it was ever going to happen).

latest_numbers_LNS14000000_2008_2013_all_period_M03_data

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About James Hanley

James Hanley is Associate Professor of Political Science at Adrian College and a Fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. The views expressed here do not reflect the views of either organization.
This entry was posted in Economical Musings, It's Just Business. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to PPACA Followup

  1. Troublesome Frog says:

    Interesting. Coyote Blog takes a graph from the Department of Labor which proudly plots the “recovery” region as the window of the ARRA and erases the “Recovery Act” notation at the bottom, replacing it with “Obamacare Passed” (not implemented, but passed). And both are very proud of their results.

  2. Troublesome Frog says:

    Another note that I’m not clear on–I believe that people who are moved to 29 hours per week would still be considered “employed” by these statistics, so shouldn’t the same work being distributed across more people results in an increase in that statistic? There are a few measures and I’m not sure which one this is. But the headline “employment” numbers typically have a cutoff of 15 hours per week IIRC.

    It’s also a little weird to post something with a constant positive monthly change and call it “stagnation.” Back of the envelope seems to me that we’re adding jobs at about the same rate as we’re adding people, which isn’t great, but it should cause a slow downward pressure on the unemployment rate. Unless, of course, there’s something I’m missing about how we’re measuring “employment.” Which there usually is, because those statistics are insanely hard to interpret.

  3. Matty says:

    So were all these people uninsured before, or is there some other reason Obamacare raises the cost to employers?

  4. James Hanley says:

    Matty–I think, yes, these are people who were uninsured before. Now they’re in the same position but with less income.

    T-Frog–yeah, there’s clearly a positive trend in the post PPACA data. But it’s also definitely a lot flatter than the pre-PPACA trend. Is it flat enough to call stagnation? Well, despite positive economic news, the New York Times is essentially arguing stagnation, too. Their explanation, though, is a supposed austerity budget. I have a hard time buying because that I don’t see an actual austerity budget, so I’m not sure their claimed cause for the observed effect even exists. Nevertheless, whatever the explanation, the liberal Times agrees with the libertarian Warren about the economy being stagnant.

  5. Troublesome Frog says:

    I’m just skeptical of the hypothesis because it relies on what I like to call “the whammy” theory of business behavior. Congress passes a law with provisions that start three years in the future and employers decide to adjust their short run cost structure immediately for no apparent reason. “Sure, I could profitably employ you for three full years until this actually becomes a problem, but I’m going to forego that profit and give you the boot because Obama looks at me funny during his speeches,” seems to be the model they’re working with.

    An alternate hypothesis is the slowing of actual spending by governments (state, local and federal) and that there appears to be a discontinuity in right about that spot in time. For me, the explanation that involves the current movement of actual dollars seems more likely.

    I have a hard time buying because that I don’t see an actual austerity budget, so I’m not sure their claimed cause for the observed effect even exists.

    Are you talking about federal spending only? If so, why?

  6. James Hanley says:

    T-Frog, that’s possible, although I’d note that that graph doesn’t provide the strongest demonstration of the austerity-budget/bad economy nexus. And as to “austerity,” I think the standards for using that term have gotten pretty low lately–apparently unless government spending is constantly growing we’re enduring austerity.[edit:*] And I think the profession’s view on the effect of austerity is still mixed, even if Krguman is trying to persuade Times readers that the issue has been conclusively empirically settled. Yawn.

    But frankly, I’m regretting including that graph. I had an inkling that it would draw all the attention, and the real point of my post would be ignored. I’m not criticizing you for that. You’re just doing as I kind of expected, and I’m annoyed at myself for not listening to myself. Let’s say we agree that his explanation on the graph is sketchy (I expressed my own doubts in the post, yes?), and talk about the future of full-time employment in the retail sector.

    [*edit: I know that technically the definition for austerity measures is satisfied with this budget. I’m just not impressed with the claims that the amounts of reduction are that significant.]

  7. Troublesome Frog says:

    T-Frog, that’s possible, although I’d note that that graph doesn’t provide the strongest demonstration of the austerity-budget/bad economy nexus.

    I’m not sure I understand you. What would you like to see?

    Let’s say we agree that his explanation on the graph is sketchy (I expressed my own doubts in the post, yes?), and talk about the future of full-time employment in the retail sector.

    Sure, but first I’m very interested in your definition of “austerity” if it doesn’t include rapidly decreasing government spending. Under what circumstances would you say that we were pursuing austerity?

    In any case, I definitely think that anything that says, “Having employees work X hours will cost you drastically more with a huge discontinuity at exactly X hours,” will result in every retailer employing a bunch of people at X-epsilon wherever possible. That’s probably not a great result (especially if it’s not something that would happen absent the incentve). At the same time, it also seems that the ultimate result is that the same number of useful hours of work get done.

    I’m still in the “destroy the employer provided health care model at all costs” camp. I’m not a fan of the employer provisions of PPACA. I’m a fan of the exchange system that may chip away at the employer model. When people said, “Your employer will just drop your health care program and send you to the exchanges,” my response was, “Dear God, YES!”

  8. James Hanley says:

    I’m not sure I understand you. What would you like to see?
    Eyeballing the table, spending seems to rise during recessions as often as it falls. That doesn’t provide a strong case that falling spending will either cause or prolong a recession.

    I’m very interested in your definition of “austerity” if it doesn’t include rapidly decreasing government spending.
    The definitions of austerity I’ve found all say simply a reduction in spending and/or increase in taxes to reduce a budget deficit. That’s a pretty unhelpful definition, I’d say, since it implies that any effort to bring the deficit into line other than trying to grow out of it with more borrowing is austerity. By that definition, we saw austerity budgets in the Clinton era. I think to be meaningfully “austere,” there has to be, as you say, rapidly decreasing government spending, a very sharp reduction. That’s a bit fuzzy, though, as to what constitutes a sharp reduction, or rapid decrease. You think you see that right now. I don’t think I see that right now, only a small decrease.

    At the same time, it also seems that the ultimate result is that the same number of useful hours of work get done.
    Well, yes, but that’s cold comfort to the individuals whose incomes are declining, right? This is a backasswards way of following the now-abandoned French model of trying to restrict hours to increase employment. There are a lot of concerns not just about employment in the U.S., but underemployment. But overall, on this issue I’m not so interested in the macroeconomic effects as the microeconomic effects. In their desire to do good for workers, supporters of PPACA fucked over the workers.

    When people said, “Your employer will just drop your health care program and send you to the exchanges,” my response was, “Dear God, YES!”
    I’ve very sympathetic to your goal here, but I’m not talking about anyone dropping health care. I’m talking about employers that did not offer health care, where the effort to push them to offer health care just resulted in them not adding health care, but reducing the net earnings of those individuals. Hooray.

  9. ktward says:

    I’m still in the “destroy the employer provided health care model at all costs” camp. I’m not a fan of the employer provisions of PPACA. I’m a fan of the exchange system that may chip away at the employer model. When people said, “Your employer will just drop your health care program and send you to the exchanges,” my response was, “Dear God, YES!”

    THIS.

    Sure, there are a number of ways for things to get messy in the goal to unhinge health insurance from employment. But let’s all remember that healthcare/insurance was already long messy prior to ACA and the entire system was already spiraling down in disaster. There’s almost no one — perhaps most notably, not in Biz and not in the health insurance industry — who doesn’t believe that said unhinging won’t prove seriously beneficial to both employers (i.e. their bottom line) and employees.

    It’s no secret that the exchanges are going to be problematic right from the get go. Crikey, I’m not even sure the IT logistics are hammered out yet on the Federal level, nevermind the State level. (CA, for instance, is notorious for investing buttloads of bucks in crappy software designed specifically to implement otherwise good legislation.)

    BUT, the exchanges at least take us in the right direction, systemically speaking. If I were Queen, we’d have a single-payer system. But since I’m not Queen (and you all suffer for it, sad but true), I’m totally on board with incremental steps toward improving, for the foreseeable future, what most reasonable folks agreed was already a collapsing system.

    The Law of Unintended Consequences is a built-in aspect of virtually all legislation: somebody somewhere is bound to get screwed. If the ultimate aims of any given law end up doing more public harm than public good, then the law eventually gets scrapped. But if a law’s worst flaws are simply that it has certain implementation aspects that are problematic, we can fix that. Good governance is an ever evolving process– frankly if we’re in it only for the endgame (i.e. “perfectly” functioning laws, whatever that means) then to my mind we should just all become anarchists and be done with the political drama already.

    (Yikes, I think I stumbled upon a soapbox and stepped right on it. Sorry.)

    What I genuinely appreciate about both of your OPs on ACA, Mr. Hanley, is that you underscore what is clearly an aspect of ACA that needs to be seriously examined and probably fixed. By “probably”, I mean that I’m not going to lose sleep over any folks who might get downgraded from 30 hrs to 29 hrs and have to turn to the exchanges: it’s just as likely that these same folks will enjoy a net annual savings despite the loss of of 52 hours of pay/year because they were already not benefiting from any employer provided health insurance. Also too, how many of these folks didn’t care, at their 30 hrs/wk, that they had no health insurance benies from their own employer because they were already covered under their spouse’s family benies? Not losing any sleep there either– I say to them, “Quit your whining. Hard times are upon us and suck it up like the rest of the 99%.”

    But it seems that perhaps, in some number of scenarios, there might be a bunch of folks who are losing considerably more in their hourly wages than just an hour or two a week and, even through the exchanges, might take a serious net hit.

  10. James Hanley says:

    BUT, the exchanges at least take us in the right direction, systemically speaking
    The $64,000 question is whether they actually provide a stepping stone, or act as a stumbling block.

    somebody somewhere is bound to get screwed.
    My liberal friends always object to being cavalier about folks on the lower end of the SES spectrum getting screwed.

    If the ultimate aims of any given law end up doing more public harm than public good, then the law eventually gets scrapped
    Unfortunately, not always so, particularly if we have concentrated benefits and dispersed costs. And since many of the benefits of PPACA are concentrated in the insurance industry, I’m more pessimistic than you about what happens next. I hope you’re right, though.

  11. Michael Drew says:

    If it’s causing the end of full-time employment, that wouldn’t (or might not) even show up in the top-line unemployment figures. It could be causing unemployment; it could also be increasing underemployment while decreasing or not affecting unemployment.

  12. Michael Drew says:

    …This (the idea in my previous comment) also provides theoretical support for the notion that what we see in the chart is a coincidence of timing rather than a causal relationship. After all, it’s not as thought the upward slope actually represents months where lots of jobs were being added. That’s merely the more or less inevitable slowing of losses from the depths of the recession when jobs were being ended at rates that were never going to continue for very long (with no help from PPACA, it might be added). It isn’t necessarily a phenomenon in need of exogenous explanation that job additions leveled out at a slow-to-middling rate after crossing the break-even mark. That’s just an L-shaped recovery (or “recovery”), which if I’m not mistaken is not inconsistent with economic performance seen after other major financial-crisis-caused depressions. There’s no reason that we necessarily should have expected the bars to proceed at the same rate of change that we saw from Jan 09 – Jan 10 through the following year up to positive numbers approaching the absolute values of the negative ones seen in the winter of 08-09 (which is kind of what’s suggested we should have expected to see by drawing the line at ACA passage and then pointing to the level performance after that).

    Also, as others have pointed out, the pivot to “whatever” (it doesn’t matter *at all* whether you do or don’t call it austerity) happened more or less around the same time, where the administration made clear that it would not be seeking extensions of of stimulus spending, started talking about ways to reduce the deficit, and the stimulus spending began to drop out of the economy. As I say, there isn’t necessarily an exogenous explanation needed for what’s seen in that graph, but there are multiple candidates for such causes other than passage (but essentially no implementation) of PPACA if a person thinks one (or more) is.

  13. Michael Drew says:

    (And sorry, I’m just now seeing the reflection in the comments that the graph would distract from the point of the post. I agree that this problem of decreasing hours as a response to ACA is looking like a more and more serious defect/unintended consequence of the law.)

  14. Matty says:

    There is I think an underlying issue that can’t be ACA specific since it is found in much of Europe as well. This is the shift to making employment more flexible for the employer. People are given shifts, short contracts or zero hours contracts to allow employers to have as many people as they need and no more. The old system of 9-5 Monday to Friday 48 weeks a year can mean paying people a wage when what they are doing is not generating cash to pay for it, especially perhaps for industries that have peaks and troughs like cafes needing more people at 1pm than at 3pm or retailers needing more salesbods at Christmas.

    This is not to say the act isn’t exacerbating the shift to part time/casual work but it is only part of a wider change that I suspect owes more to a shift from manufacturing to service in the jobs market.

    I should add that I am in a way part of this shift. Once upon a time I worked a regular job with a salary. Now I freelance and never know more than a month ahead when or if I will be working. I am a lot luckier than many since my skills can be sold as a business allowing me to get higher hourly rates to offset the uncertainty.

  15. pierrecorneille says:

    Matty,

    I think what you say is pretty much spot-on. But in certain service occupations (in the U.S., at least), the flexible-for-management scheduling arrangements have long been the norm, although as you point out, it is fair to suggest that the ACA

  16. pierrecorneille says:

    errr…..sorry, I clicked submit to soon. I mean to end “…it is fair to suggest that the ACA aggravates the situation.”

  17. pierrecorneille says:

    James,

    What you describe in this post is a real problem with the ACA.

    But in the tradition of someone who supports a certain measure and therefore insists on gainsaying the very real problems with that measure, I’ll suggest the following. Many corporate or otherwise large-scale retailers–that is, perhaps not including the 400-person employing author of the linked-to article, but perhaps including Regal Entertainment–already have, as part of their own company policy, health benefits for “full time” employees and as a matter of practice regularly schedule their employees below “full time” to avoid paying those benefits, say by scheduling for 39.5 hours per week instead of the 40.

    How true is my assertion and how pervasive is/was the phenomenon I describe? I don’t know. All I have are anecdotes from my service jobs (fast food, bank “telling”) in the 1990s, where such approaches were commonly followed, at least at the places I worked.

    Even if my assertion is true and what it describes is pervasive, it seems clear to me that the ACA makes things worse because it’s probably better to earn wages at 39 hours per week than at 29 hours per week, especially if the hourly wage doesn’t increase. Also, in the (anecdotal) examples I’m thinking of, the companies in question had the freedom to formulate their own policies in regard to benefits and the “39.5 hour limit” was self-imposed (at the bank, it was a “1,000 hours” limit: I could work no more than 1,000 hours in a year….I eventually got promoted to “permanent part-time,” which meant I got benefits. But then I left to get my MA.)

    I guess my comment is more in the vein of Matty’s comment that the ACA might be aggravating an existing trend. That, I admit, is no exoneration of the ACA (although I do support the law).

  18. Matty says:

    As evidence that there is a trend both outside the US and over a longer timescale a google search on the word casualisation turned up this from Tasmania. The tables show a decrease in average full time hours and an increase part time over the 1990s and the text gives some other statistics including an increase in part time jobs from 8% of the Australian total to 19%.

    I know no one has argued against my claim, I just wanted something to base it on beyond my impressions.

  19. Matty,

    Unfortunately, you’re actually using evidence. I prefer anecdotes. They might not be generalizable, but they’re mine, dammit!

  20. Matty says:

    Well the plural of anecdote is data, right?

  21. Dr X says:

    Matty, wins the thread.

  22. James Hanley says:

    Matty–I get what you’re saying, but an increase in the number of people working part time is not the same thing–although it may be related–as a decrease in the number of hours part-timers get at their jobs. To the extent any limit on number of working hours requires a costly benefit for those above that limit, it will reduce the number of people working at or above that limit, so when we lower that cap we will lower the number of hours employees work. Yes, there’s been a rise in part-time employment, but not until now has there been a significant decrease in the number of part-time hours.

    In fact businesses often wanted to squeeze as many part-time hours as they could out of employees so they’d have to hire and train fewer of them, which has its own costs. Warren explicitly says PPACA is why he’s reducing hours in his business, and my college explicitly noted that PPACA was the cause of reducing adjunct hours.

    I don’t see this as a mere unfortunate unintended consequence. I see this as a heavy blow against the already low income of lower and lower-middle class people. I guess they’re the eggs that are necessary to break the omelet.

  23. Matty says:

    Fair enough that is a distinct issue, and I don’t think I implied that the problem was in any sense an acceptable cost. To be honest the more I hear about the American healthcare system the less I’m sure exactly what problems PPACA was meant to solve let alone if it succeeds in solving them so I’m in no position to say the price is worth paying even I were inclined to think that way. I don’t have a solution but if there is one that lets these people keep their longer hours/more wages, without other bad effects, it should be taken.

  24. James Hanley says:

    the less I’m sure exactly what problems PPACA was meant to solve

    Same here. Best as I can tell it was meant to solve the problem of uninsured Americans by requiring them to buy health insurance. And if they couldn’t afford health insurance, to subsidize their purchase. It may succeed in that, but with reduced working hours for already uninsured people, it probably means a lot more subsidization–making it more costly–than planned.

    I think we’re headed not for a national health care system but are backing into a two-tiered system; half private/half public. And the only way–perhaps–that we’ll ever get to a national health care system is is enough employers who currently offer insurance slough off their employees onto the public system so that it metastasizes. But with current rules that would require ever more of them to slash employees’ hours, and it would leave us with a national health care system for the non-executive class and a private health care system for the executive class. And maybe that’s the closest we can get in America, at least in our lifetimes.

    I think it’s worth remembering that this legislation wasn’t passed because everyone thought it was good, but because there was demand to do something, Obama needed a signature legislative victory, and this was what he and his party leaders were able to push through. Heh, I won a 6 pack off my colleague on this–he thought we were finally going to get a national health care program, and I said no, we weren’t. He wasn’t nearly cynical enough.

  25. Matty says:

    Don’t you already have such a system with medicaid picking up the very poorest? It could be that this will have the effect of nudging the criteria for government support up an income bracket or two without much benefit and with, as you say, this heavy cost on the working poor.

  26. Matty,

    James isn’t wrong that many supporters of the ACA used the circular reasoning that the problem was people didn’t have insurance and the solution was to make sure most people bought insurance or go onto Medicaid.

    But another problem, for which the having insurance for the sake of having insurance trope is a proxy, is the fact that it was very hard to get insurance if one was not eligible for a group plan through their employers and if one had severe pre-existing conditions. The insurance companies as a general rule would refuse outright to take on the person with pre-existing conditions, provide insurance but refuse to pay the specified condition, or require such a high premium that it would be almost impossible to pay. (A friend of mine whose father is diabetic would have had to pay more than $10,000 a month if he hadn’t gotten an insurance-providing part-time job (he was too young to qualify for medical care.)) In some cases, the clauses and policies denying coverage of pre-existing conditions were so opaque that it was difficult for someone to know for sure if they’d be covered, even if they purchased insurance before their pre-existing conditions.

    What the ACA supposedly does–in addition to the employer mandates, exchanges, and other requirements–forbids insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. It also establishes what are called “local area premium prices” so that insurance premiums cannot vary so widely. In practice, even if the ACA works as it’s supposed to, the premium prices will probably increase for those who are healthier but decrease for those who would otherwise not get coverage.

    I think it’s quite legitimate to say that the ACA addresses this problem poorly, or perhaps not at all, or perhaps even makes things worse. (And perhaps something like a freer market solution might be better, provided that the uninsurables (however defined) have a way to get coverage.) But there are some problems that it’s trying to address beyond requiring people to have insurance for the sake of having insurance.

    Concerning medicaid, the ACA expands coverage to slightly higher income brackets. Whether expanding that coverage would be good or not, I don’t know.

  27. Michael Drew says:

    …Was also going to mention that I thought that ACA implementation did seem like it could plausibly be at work in the recent trend in employment numbers that see a decrease in unemployment but not the corresponding increase in hours worked that we might usually (but not always) expect to see with it, but I wasn’t 100% sure on the numbers. But I agree with the professor that it’s at least plausible that ACA has been influencing employers to invest less in human labor as its implementation has approached, which in the context of modest growth has shown up in the form of lower unemployment, more part time work, not as many more aggregate hours worked as we’d expect given growth and unemployment trends, and a still-stagnant (or even falling) emp-pop ratio.

    But again, it’s just one factor if it is one at a scale that is affecting those numbers at all, and disaggregating it seems basically impossible to me.

  28. James Hanley says:

    Dude, just call me James. I really prefer that.

  29. Michael Drew says:

    Okay, sorry. It’s honestly meant as respect.

  30. Troublesome Frog says:

    Well the plural of anecdote is data, right?

    A handful of anecdotes is small batch or artisanal data. Better than the mass produced stuff.

  31. James Hanley says:

    Michael–I understand, but I don’t want anyone else who comes along to get the impression I demand or expect it.

  32. James Hanley says:

    small batch or artisanal data.

    Oh, I am sooooo going to use that.

  33. pierrecorneille says:

    “A handful of anecdotes is small batch or artisanal data. Better than the mass produced stuff.”

    I prefer to get all my data from local sources. My motto: “Reason simply so that others may simply reason….and FREE TIBET!”

  34. pierrecorneille says:

    “A friend of mine whose father is diabetic would have had to pay more than $10,000 a month if he hadn’t gotten an insurance-providing part-time job (he was too young to qualify for medical care.)”

    This is misleading. My friend’s father, not my friend, would have had to pay more than $10,000.

  35. James Hanley says:

    I prefer to get all my data from local sources.

    Of course. How else are we going to keep our local data producers in business? This whole “free exchange/trade of ideas” ideology is killing our local intellectual economies.

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