I've always understood exempt positions to be the white-collar professionals such as investment bankers, environmental engineers, and those like me, software engineers. The article states, "Now it's been distorted to provide overtime to engineers making over $80,000 a year."
I've never heard of an engineer being paid OT, mainly because it's an exempt position. We generally make enough money to pay our bills, and more, even though some weeks are damn brutal. I don't need to be paid OT. However, I have worked in non-exempt positions, such as an admin assistant, which paid so shittily I relied on the OT to pay the bills and take an occasional trip. Not to mention dealing with the narcissitic boss with an overblown sense of entitlement. I like seeing the harrassed, long-suffering exec. assistant paid the OT instead of me; or for that matter, anyone who has to deal with that sort of crap. We exempt people are fairly removed from it, for the most part.
My first thought is that this is extremely bad for the economy. OT is what drives companies to hire new workers because it is so costly to them. Do away with OT, and companies might now have the opportunity to milk 60- or 80-hour weeks out of what are now non-exempt positions instead of hiring someone new.
Could this potentially be a setback for the economy?