Recently, Washington Post reporter Anne Hull wrote an article titled, For Hardee’s workers, it’s not a parable, it’s a job, which focused on a number of Hardee’s employees in Iowa and their jobs. In her article, she also mentioned a former Hardee’s employee, now U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, who referenced her successful journey from the Hardee’s biscuit line to the U.S. Senate when she gave the Republican response to the President’s State of the Union earlier this year.
The article was written in a way that could lead readers to reach the mistaken conclusion that our employees face limited opportunities because of their jobs. Dismissing the value of entry-level jobs is simply wrong. These jobs provide employees with important skills that can provide a solid foundation for individual success in other areas. Some of our employees move into management positions within our company. Others use their experience and knowledge to become franchisees. Still others move on to other opportunities such as our former biscuit maker who is now a U.S. Senator. Personally, I started off scooping ice cream at Baskin and Robbins for minimum wage. Not everyone becomes a Senator or a CEO but, in this country, everyone has a chance. We don’t want our employees to anchor their future prospects to entry-level jobs; we want them to grow both personally and professionally.
To get a different take on the value of our jobs, please read the letter Dan Ponder, a Hardee’s franchisee, submitted to the paper titled, There’s more to the biscuit line, in which he highlights the contributions of one employee who will soon celebrate her 28th year as a breakfast cook. While you’re at it, take a moment to also read the Washington Examiner’s retort to the article: Washington Post turns Joni Ernst success story into indictment of late capitalism, fast food, Iowa weather.
No matter what the critics say, entry-level jobs are valuable and they can help people succeed in life.
Earlier this evening, I had the opportunity to talk to Neil Cavuto about why Republican presidential hopefuls are pushing their ‘working class’ backgrounds to win over potential voters. In a segment titled, Why are GOP 2016 hopefuls pushing ‘working class’ backgrounds?, Neil and I discussed the new GOP sales pitch.
Neil kicked off the segment by asking me if this new tactic is a response to Mitt Romney and I told him that part of it, is a response to the way Mitt was portrayed in the press which really wasn’t an accurate portrayal of who he was. We then discussed the potential candidates’ desire to establish a connection with the working and middle classes and how this will be important for any successful campaign. During the segment, I told Neil it’s important for presidential hopefuls to lay out a vision that shows voters how they can achieve success after six years of limited opportunities. Given the demographic changes, I told Neil that it will also be important for Republicans to target Hispanics and African Americans with a message that conveys that they, too, can achieve the American Dream.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to discuss the impact of the drop in oil prices on consumer spending and higher wages with Fox Business News personality Maria Bartiromo. In a segment titled, How falling gas prices are boosting restaurants, I walked Maria thru the positive impact on our sales by sharing a chart with her that compares oil prices with our 52 week moving average for domestic restaurant sales. I also explained how economic growth creates an increase in the demand for labor which, in turn, leads to higher wages.
On the same day, Fox Business ran an op-ed I wrote on the same subject titled, Wal-Mart’s Wage Hikes a Win for Free Enterprise. The chart referenced in both the interview and the op-ed makes it abundantly clear that a drop in oil prices is leading to increased consumer spending and higher wages. While a meaningful reduction in taxes and regulatory costs could well have had the same positive impact six years ago, it’s never too late for government to do the right thing and look for ways to create a better environment for business to thrive. Given the right conditions, job creators will continue to create real and sustainable economic growth. This means jobs, jobs, jobs.
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.