Early this morning, I talked with Fox Business Opening Bell’s Maria Bartiromo about what American business would like to see from Washington after the upcoming midterm elections. Real progress, an improved economy and a stronger country are all possible if elected officials focus on a few key issues:
- Reform the tax code. We need a simpler, flatter, fairer and more competitive tax code.
- Eliminate the immigration issue. Secure the border and develop a rational plan on how we deal with the people who are here now and how we bring people in.
- Enable the energy sector. Approve the Keystone Pipeline, allow oil drilling on federal lands and get rid of the renewable fuel standard.
- Improve Obamacare. Eliminate the medical device tax and implement the “40 hours is full-time” act – – two issues, by the way, that currently receive bi-partisan support.
To see the full discussion, click here.
California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari just launched a new ad that points to the unsettling reality that Governor Brown is appealing the ruling in Vergara v. California. In the case, nine California public school children filed a lawsuit against the State of California in May 2012 to strike down the laws handcuffing schools from doing what’s best for kids when it comes to teachers. The Court’s historic decision in Vergara v. California reaffirmed the fundamental, Constitutional right of every student to learn from effective teachers and have an equal opportunity to succeed in school.
Governor Brown is appealing the decision.Though Brown contends he’s appealing for a procedural reason, the fact is that the California Teachers Association is a major donor to Brown. How can California schools ever improve when the Governor’s hands are tied by the unions. Check out Neel’s ad here.
Prior to my Friday Squawk on the Street interview, CNBC posted a commentary I wrote titled, Obama has failed on jobs. In the article, I cite a recent CNBC All-America Economic survey that found that just 24 percent of Americans say they are extremely or quite confident in the president’s economic policies and goals, while 44 percent say they have no confidence at all in the president on the economy. Obama fails to see (or fails to admit) that our economy is not creating enough jobs to keep pace with the number of people entering the employable population. Based on the formula used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to calculate the unemployment rate, since the president took office in January 2009, the employable population has increased by 13.7 million people. Unfortunately, the number of people employed has increased by only 4.5 million. That’s 9.2 million more people than jobs. That’s a serious problem.
During my recent CNBC Squawk on the Street interview with Rick Santelli, I warned young voters that the Obama Administration’s proposed immediate 40% minimum wage increase would result in less entry-level job opportunities. The fact is, an immediate 40% increase in minimum wage would have a negative impact on small businesses, job creation and the economy. Young voters should beware of political rhetoric that makes headlines, but won’t make jobs. My complete interview on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street with Rick Stantelli can be viewed here.
Today’s Wall Street Journal posted an op-ed of mine titled Minimum Wage, Maximum Politics where I highlight the complexities and negative impact of Obama’s proposal for a sudden federal minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. As the headline indicates, the minimum wage push does not center on creating desperately needed employment opportunities, but in making campaign promises that will help turn out voters in favor of Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.
The reality is, governments don’t create jobs and cannot mandate their way to a healthy economy. As I mention in the op-ed, if government could transform unskilled entry-level positions into middle-income jobs, the Soviet Union would be today’s dominant world economy. Spain and Greece – not to mention California – would be thriving.
A more reasonable approach would be to encourage economic growth which will increase the demand for labor and, therefore, wages. We’ve had over 5 years of policies based on politics and polling. It’s time for a change. To read the full WSJ op-ed, click here.
Today, on Varney & Co., Stuart Varney and I discussed our country’s current economic situation. Varney cited the “economic disconnect” between the Administration’s rosy economic projections and the reality that Americans face every day. The segment titled Nearly 1 in 4 Americans in their prime not working? focuses on the fact that 23% of workers in their prime age (25-54) are either unemployed or not looking for work.
Jobs are harder to find because business is harder to build in today’s over-regulated climate. It’s difficult for American business to prosper and create more jobs when the list of business-stifling regulations keeps increasing:
- Energy costs are rising
- Obamacare drives up medical coverage costs which drives up labor costs
- Potential national minimum wage increase of 40% will increase labor costs
- Increased taxes on entrepreneurs hinder their ability to grow and create more jobs
- National Labor Relations Board’s recent joint employer ruling threatens the franchise business model that has encouraged countless American small business owners, creating jobs and broad-based economic growth
The government should stick to its core functions so business owners can stick to ours. The private sector creates jobs, opportunities and prosperity unmatched by any government program, agency or mandate. The private sector wants a partner in government, not an obstacle. To see the full segment on Varney & Co., click here.
This week on Fox Business, I spoke with Closing Bell’s Liz Claman about business growth and minimum wage. During the segment, I stated that there would be less opposition to a modest increase in the minimum wage over time. However, the Administration is proposing an immediate 40% increase in the minimum wage and the unions want a 100% increase. Artificially driving wages up 40% immediately would require business to raise prices for consumers and reduce employment opportunities for those most in need of jobs. A better solution for our U.S. economy is a gradual increase in minimum wage that businesses could rationally absorb. To view the entire Closing Bell segment, click here.
In a recent Orange County Register op-ed titled, Are things good enough in California?, I discuss the challenges facing California under one-party rule. Under Governor Brown, Californians experience increasing poverty, declining opportunity and significant income inequality. California’s wealth gap is unlikely to close anytime soon if the status quo remains.
Neel Kashkari, who is running for California Governor against Brown, understands our Golden State problems. Kashkari’s plan includes practical solutions to improve individual, business and economic prosperity. To read my full op-ed, click here.
And, to see and hear Neel outline his ideas and positions during the September 4 Gubernatorial debate, click here. Based on Neel’s outstanding performance during the debate, it’s not surprising that Brown’s team won’t allow the two candidates side-by-side on stage again.
Yesterday, Fox Business News’ Stuart Varney and I discussed the Treasury Department’s recent announcement that it’s looking for ways to curb corporate tax inversions overseas. For the record, the company that I run, CKE Restaurants, is not looking to do an inversion nor do we hold money overseas. But, if the Treasury Department manages to put restrictions in place, American companies will be at a disadvantage in the global economy. The real solution is to amend the tax code.
Click here to view the full interview: Varney & Co. Interview
And, speaking of success, CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin also asked me how Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s differentiates itself from the competition in a crowded marketplace. It’s simple. We stay laser focused on offering premium, restaurant-quality food, with fast food convenience, at a fast food price for our target audience of young, hungry guys and those who aspire to be young.
We are always striving to sell burgers, grow our business and provide jobs. While government certainly has a role to play, at the moment, it just needs to stay out of the way.