Today on Fox Business News’s Varney & Company, I spoke with Stuart Varney about Walmart’s announcement that it will increase wages for 500,000 of its employees up to $10 an hour by next year. Varney believes Walmart didn’t cave to union pressure. Rather, Walmart chose to pay more to attract and retain quality employees.
I agree with Varney. It’s this simple: The free enterprise system works. Right now, oil prices are down and people have more money in their pockets, so business is up. When business is better there’s a greater demand for labor. And, when there’s a greater demand for something, the cost of it goes up. Walmart is responding appropriately. The free enterprise system is a good system and it works – for business and for employees.
Yesterday, I spoke with Neil Cavuto about President Obama’s recent negative remarks against Staples and their compliance with Obamacare. In the Fox Business segment titled President Obama slams Staples, others for making ObamaCare-related cuts, Neil challenged the President’s assertion that Staples is greedy and doesn’t care about its employees. I agree with Neil that Obamacare is the real culprit when it comes to the reduction of employee work hours.
To grow, prosper and create more jobs, American businesses must mitigate increased labor costs created by policies such as Obamacare. The President should fix a policy that doesn’t work, not fixate on blaming businesses that would love to provide more jobs.
Speaking of American jobs, Real Clear Politics today published an op-ed I wrote titled The Truth About Obama’s Job Record in which I explain why the unemployment rate is misleading.
On Monday, I joined Fox Business News’ Neil Cavuto for his Neil’s Spiel segment to discuss leadership. We discussed the fact that true leadership involves taking responsibility – for the wins and the losses. Coach Pete Carroll showed leadership by taking responsibility for a call that unfortunately blew the Seahawks’ chance to win the Super Bowl. The call may have been a bad one, but he stood up and owned it regardless.
If mistakes are made, a true leader admits it and works to find a solution. Unlike a bad call during the last seconds of a Super Bowl, most mistakes in life, in business or in politics afford room for the leader to assess and adjust. Unfortunately, President Obama refuses to consider changing the ObamaCare play. Despite numerous fumbles, despite the blitz of voter concerns heard in mid-term elections, he’s still running a losing game.
As I said to Neil during the segment, “Leadership is about making a decision, that’s the most important thing. If it’s the right one, keep going. If it’s the wrong one, change it. And, if you can’t admit it’s wrong, you can’t change it.”
ObamaCare was hurried through Congress on a partisan basis. It wasn’t vetted through congressional committees or debated. Notoriously longer than Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the Affordable Care Act wasn’t even read by most of those voting on it. There were bound to be mistakes. Yet, President Obama is unwilling to make needed changes. Recently, the White House threatened to veto the Forty Hours is Full Time Act which passed the House with bipartisan support and has bipartisan support in the Senate. Why is our President unwilling to admit his error and work together with businesses and Congress to find practical solutions for an important issue?
To view the segment via Real Clear Politics, click here.
After I testified before the Senate HELP Committee on the Forty Hours is Full Time Act last month, I left the room feeling glad that the Senate is now working again. I also left realizing that we need to do much more to educate detractors of a common sense bill that will allow employees to work more hours and make more money.
During the hearing, Democrats on the committee expressed concern that raising ObamaCare’s 30-hour threshold to 40 hours would encourage employers to reduce employees’ hours to under 40 as a means to avoid the expense of insuring them. As I explain in the Fear not a 40-hour week op-ed that ran on The Hill today, that’s just not the case. Please take a moment to read my latest op-ed and share it with others.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Kristine Frazao of Sinclair Broadcast Group about my recent testimony before the Senate HELP Committee on the Forty Hours is Full Time Act.
The ACA’s full time definition is having a negative impact on American workers and reform is needed. There comes a point when things are so expensive that it’s irrational for business. And, if something is irrational for a business, it’s ultimately not good for workers. Employees want more hours, they need more hours and businesses want to give them more hours, but the ACA’s 30-hour cutoff makes it economically inefficient for business to give them more hours. It’s that simple.
To read a report on the interview, click here.
I’m often asked why more business people don’t speak up on various issues to inform the public about the chilling effect government policies can have on jobs and overall economic growth. “Why do we let the inexperienced dominate discussions that ultimately impact everyone else?” many will ask. Well, I have a good example of why this happens.
I recently wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal titled Shunning ObamaCare on how ObamaCare enrollment went at our company. Basically, we had 6,900 eligible employees of whom 1,447 already had our company-sponsored compliant insurance. That left 5,453 new people to whom we offered employer-sponsored, ObamaCare-compliant coverage. A mere 420 enrolled. Unless they had insurance from another source, the other 5,033 elected to pay the penalty. It turns out that ObamaCare isn’t as big an expense as we anticipated. Very few people signed up.
Based on that article, I was asked to testify before the Senate HELP Committee on the Forty Hours is Full Time Act. I did so last Thursday, January 22nd. The good news is that the Senate is actually holding hearings again.
Following the hearing, a “journalist” named Alec MacGillis wrote a piece in Slate criticizing the hearing and claiming that I said things I never said and made claims that I never made. He concluded the story with a reference to how much he believes I earned in 2012. This is irrelevant to the subject at hand but somehow he felt it was important to mention. You can read his inaccurate account by clicking on his Failure to Launch musings.
I responded yesterday with an article in Real Clear Politics (RCP) to set the record straight: What Hearing Did That Slate Reporter Attend?
If you have time to read my RCP article, you’ll see why most business people remain silent.
Yesterday, Neil Cavuto invited me to join his Fox News special report on President Obama’s 6th State of the Union (SOTU) address. During the segment titled CKE Restaurants CEO: Country doesn’t want a 3rd term of Obama, I shared with Neil that if the President leans even more to the left, the American voters won’t want a third term of Obama. Whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren, either one would represent another “Obama term.” Neil and I also discussed how effective the Republican Congress can be given the President’s veto threats. The President has a choice. He can be conciliatory and gracious or defiant and petulant. Unfortunately, this President has not learned how to negotiate. And, if the President is not willing to work with Congress, nothing will get done.
After the President’s speech, Senator Joni Ernst provided the SOTU rebuttal. During her remarks, she once again mentioned her time at Hardee’s, stating, “To save for college, I worked the morning biscuit line at Hardees.” As I highlighted in a previous blog post, Joni’s comment points to the importance of entry-level jobs and the value these opportunities provide in helping people get on the ladder of success. In this great country, your job and your life are what you make of them. You can access the transcript and video of Senator Ernst’s rebuttal by clicking here.
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published my op-ed titled, Shunning ObamaCare. In the piece, I discuss the negative impact of the 30-hour work week under the ACA and the importance of returning the definition of full-time work to 40 hours a week.
Among the Affordable Care Act’s many economic and political disruptions, the law has unintentionally encouraged employers to convert full-time jobs into part-time jobs. ObamaCare mandates that employers offer health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week, or pay a penalty up to $3,000 an employee. But employers have no such obligation for employees who work less than 30 hours a week, making part-time employment less costly. It’s a simple fact: Make something more expensive and people will use less of it; make something less expensive and they will use more of it. So naturally employee hours have been reduced, particularly in the retail segment, which has lowered wages and reduced consumer spending. This is a serious problem for workers and business.
Next week, I will elaborate further on the topic when I testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
To read the full WSJ article, click here.
Yesterday, I was interviewed by Fox Business News host Neil Cavuto to discuss what appears to be a correlation between gridlock in Washington D.C. and a positive effect on the market and the economy. Neil kicked off the segment, Washington gridlock good for U.S. stocks, economy, by citing previous pundit and media quotes about the lack of productivity in the 113th Congress.
The reality is this: despite the concern for an alleged “lack of progress” in our nation’s Capitol, we’re seeing GDP, job and stock market growth. I told Neil that when government does nothing, that’s generally better than when the government does something. The last three Congresses exhibit that. This Administration has experienced a number of significant challenges, but the midterm elections created certainty for the business community. In turn, business is driving growth, oil prices are down and consumer spending is up.
Halfway thru the segment, Neil shared with me and his viewers a graph that shows how Congressional bills and the DOW stack up against each other. The graph makes a very convincing case for less government interference.
Businesses do better when government isn’t interfering with them. Here’s to less government in 2015.
Happy New Year to all.