What Government 'Help' Looks Like on the Front Lines

Several times each year, our small California company that fluctuates between 100 to 110 employees is besieged by bureaucratic aliens.  They show up unannounced, flash us their badges after beaming down from their mother ship, and then expect us to give them our immediate, unadulterated attention as if our lives revolved around them.  This year alone we have had to entertain CAL-OSHA, the Dept. of Weights and Measures, the Board of Equalization, various sheriffs and law enforcement agents, and mandatory worker's comp auditors.  Then there are mandatory reports that come unsolicited in the mail and must be completed, typically in 15 to 30 days; the Multiple Worksite Report every quarter; DOL time clock punch record audits; UI audits; nosy creditors and student loan repos; garnishments; the Form 5500 for the DOL; top-heavy testing for 401K; and the more uncommon but regularly occurring U.S. Census. 

I'm just getting started. 

We haven't even broached the complexity required for a corporate tax return.  We are gearing up for that one, as we do every year, using the long four-month runway to compile all the usual paperwork requested by our accountant, who relies on the ornate nature of this government insanity to retain his own sense of relevance.  I don't want to travel down this muddy yet familiar road of IRS humiliation.  Over the last two decades, it has anesthetized my ability to even give a damn anymore.  I'm numb. 

So instead of going down that thrilling road, let's discuss the new one, as boring as all this other hellishness is, and this new one is particularly vile.

Last year was the first year of threatening employers with penalties, fines, and fees (also known as taxes, notwithstanding the Supreme Court), which caused us to scramble around like female leads in horror movies dragging their bodies along the ground, trying to avoid the hatchet man.  We survived, kind of, because of phased in forbearance allowing us to dodge a bullet, but we still lost a lot of blood in the form of lost time. 

This year was even worse.  Most small businesses use third-party payroll software to track the ACA, as opposed to big companies that can afford custom in-house software.  As the law has always been mutating due to the fluctuating illegal whims of the D.C. junta, the confused software has always been forced to second-guess these ongoing revisions.  It's as if Freud himself vomited up the mucus-filled egos of these morally sick politicians, who think we were made to revolve around them as they laugh at everyone not in their Democratic Party country club.

In the last three weeks alone, two of my highest compensated employees spent their time going over every 1095C before it goes into paper form and is mailed out.  For each employee, there are three stacks of cells for every month, 36 boxes that must be filled in correctly, using over a dozen different codes.  I'm not even in my business anymore.  I work for the government, against my will, along with two of my employees.  The three of us cannot afford to make one mistake in any of the cells for all 100 employees.  Thirty-six hundred codes must be checked and verified before certification.  That requires us to go over our electronic paperwork and refer back to it.  These papers, along with our lovely new 1094, which goes directly to the IRS, form the leash around both our necks as well as the necks of our employees, because they will be liable too for fines based on the correct information we provide to them personally.  It is a hideous amount of time suck.

And that is just the end-of-year 1095s.  I haven't gotten into other aspects of this perverse law, such as the affordability as well as the full- versus part-time ongoing monitoring of all staff that keeps us spastically hyper-vigilant, not to mention exhausted from trying to avoid fines by having constant discussions with employees nearing 30 hours.  I'm dating myself here, but it's like Logan's Run.  If you hit 30, you die.

Now we have higher churn, less loyalty among staff, less full time, poorer training and less job satisfaction, and all for what?  To pretend that Obama was some great man when he's been the exact opposite?  This is a man who never intended to appreciate, or pretend to, even for a minute, the effect this perverse control had over other lives.  He just flat-out ignored it, and caused bona fide suffering as well as lost productivity.  He doesn't have a legacy worth defending.  

Thankfully, we are done.  We are tired.  Our business could not continue this charade.  And while its difficult still, as California has uniquely chosen to signal off the White House with a non-staggered pincer formation (minimum wages to $15, paid sick leave mandates, etc.), at least Obamacare can die.  Maybe California will choose to be just as ideologically reactionary as Obama's easily bruised, frangible nature and cram down a state Romneycare onto the entire coast, which would not be entirely surprising, as it would be a spiteful thumb in Trump's eye.  And it would mean we would have to finally vacate the state once and for all.