Have you ever thought about how many laws and regulations, how many taxes, how many mandated benefits and how eligibility for so many social insurance programs are dependent on whether or not a worker is an “employee”?

Under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), for example, thousands of dollars in government subsidies can ride on that one distinction. Take someone making $10 to $15 an hour. Roughly speaking, employers are required to provide affordable health insurance with no help from government, other than the break that was available under pre-Obamacare tax policy. Say the insurance costs $5,000 for an adult. The tax break is worth about $750. So net of that, the employer and the employee have to find $4,250 to pay for this mandated benefit.

How will they do that? By reducing wages? Reducing other benefits? As I previously reported, many employers in the fast food industry are offering their employees a Bronze plan with a $6,600 deductible in return for an employee premium equal to 9.5% of wages. If employees want to cover their spouses and children, they have to pay 100% of the premium (which could amount to an additional $5,000 to $10,000) and the family deductible climbs to $13,200.