Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care, Liberalism, Politics | Tags: Business and Regulation, The Cost of ObamaCare, Unintended Consequences
Kennewick, Washington — It took Bob Bertsch 25 years to build his construction business and just one day for it all to go away. Mr. Bertsch’s Kennewick -based Ashley-Bertsch Group went on the auction block last Friday. By 4 p.m. they had sold off two dozen vehicles and trailers, tons of power tools and supplies, and even the gas-fired fireplace in the office.
Mr. Bertsch, 65, said he is down-sizing because the tax burden got too expensive to stay in business. “I am tired of carrying all the tax load,” Bertsch said. “I renew 13 licenses here every year just so I can spend money in this city.” He makes no attempt to conceal his frustration with the costs government imposes on small businesses like his. Government is killing small business. We used to have 24 employees, now all those people are in the unemployment line. He told a friend at the auction that he is selling out because the government was taking more out of his business than he was.
Los Angeles, California — George Will tells this story: In 1941, Carl Karcher was a 24-year-old truck driver for a bakery. He was delivering huge numbers of buns, so he scrounged up $326 to buy a hot dog cart across from a Goodyear plant, and then the war came. As did millions of defense industry workers. Southern California’s contribution to American cuisine was fast food, which eventually included hundreds of Carl’s Jr. restaurants. Carl died in 2008, but CKE Restaurants survives. It would thrive, says CEO Andy Puzder, except for the government’s comprehensive campaign against job creation
CKE has more than 3,200 restaurants (Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s) with some 70,000 jobs, 21,000 directly and 49,000 with franchises. CKE’s health care advisers said that ObamaCare would add between $7.3 million and $35.1 million to the company’s $12 million 2010 health care costs. They guess $18 million — twice what CKE spent last year building new restaurants. ObamaCare means fewer restaurants, fewer jobs at about 25 jobs per restaurant., and about 3,5 times that much in the community.
That’s not all — government policies are raising fuel costs which affect everything from air conditioning to the cost of supplies, and the threat that the NLRB will impose something like “card check” in place of secret-ballot union elections. CKE has stopped building restaurants in California because approvals and permits can take up to two years, compared to six weeks in Texas, and the cost to build is $100,000 more than in Texas — where CKE is planning to open 300 new restaurants.
CKE has 95 percent employee turnover in a year, not bad for this industry. Health-care benefits under their “mini-med” policies will be illegal under ObamaCare. All sorts of employers will be looking for ways to reduce numbers of employees. CKE is governed by 57 categories of regulations. The administration is quite certain that regulation has nothing to do with the dearth of jobs. In their world, that’s just what government does — set the rules to control business and the people who engage in it. That’s why they were elected, isn’t it? To tell employers how to operate their businesses so everything is fair and good.
These are not unusual stories. They are being repeated across America in multitudes of businesses, and have been for the last three years. When you have an administration where no one has ever worked in the private sector, let alone managed anything in the private sector, you have a lot of regulators who have no idea what the consequences of their regulations are. A job is a cost to an employer. When you make it cost more, there are fewer jobs.
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