A lot of people would argue that the title of this post is impossible. It’s an oxymoron like “Jumbo Shrimp.” I’d like to have some jumbo shrimp now. Sorry, my stomach is growling. Back to the topic…
I want to tell you about a conversation I had with a friend last night. This was a passing conversation at a social function so I don’t have all the facts, but I feel I have enough to talk intelligently about it.
My friend is a young lady who happens to be a manager at a local McDonald’s franchise. She informed me that they had a store meeting yesterday and a new directive has come down. Starting January 1, 2013 all “non-management” personnel will be cut to 20 hours maximum per week. This is being done, in her own words, to avoid having to pay for “Obamacare.”
This is as much information as I was able to gather, so from here on out it is educated conjecture. I know a few things about my local store and McDonald’s in general. The local store employs somewhere around 50 employees, and I would estimate that 40 of them will be affected as non-management personnel. I also know for a fact that the local franchisee owns at least one more franchise. I also understand that McDonald’s encourages franchisees who are able to buy multiple units. I have heard that the average franchisee owns 5 or more stores.
So the facts tell me that this likely effects at least 2 stores (roughly 80 employees) and potentially more. I don’t have all the facts but this could end up effecting hundreds of employees in my local area. Many of these people just went from 30-35 hour weeks to 20, with little or no warning. What a horrible piece of news for a lot of families, right before Christmas!
Is this a corporate move or a move by just one local franchisee? We may not know that for some time, but neither would be surprising. After all, Papa John’s and many others have already alluded to the same result. They can not afford, in their minds, to pay for employee healthcare so they are simply going to cut employee hours to avoid the mandate. If employees work less than a certain number of hours then they are not considered “full-time” and their employer does not have to pay for health insurance. It seemed like a great idea… Well played Mr. Obama.
It is entirely possible that McDonald’s stores all over the country will be making similar decisions without the bad PR of it being an official corporate policy. Big business tends to be very protective of their public image, so that would not surprise me in the least.
I am hoping that a few of my liberal friends can read this and feel like I am not making this an “I told you so” article. We spend too much damn time digging the trenches preparing for unnecessary war, and not enough time trying to intelligently discuss the issues and come to common sense conclusions.
The fact is that not all Republicans are “pro-rich” and I’m not sure how anyone could truly believe that. 47% of people voted for Romney because they believe in different ideologies, not because they are pro-rich. They are not all rich. If 47% of people in this country were wealthy we’d see a much different political landscape. Liberal counterparts might argue that conservatives are pro-rich, they are just stupid enough to think that it might trickle down to them someday. I know and understand many of the arguments. I just respectfully disagree.
Here is where I come from. My opinion is that maybe 5% of Republican voters are truly “pro-rich.” They are rich themselves and they simply want to protect what is theirs. I can not blame them for that because in most cases they worked very hard for what they have in life. I can’t believe the number is higher than that because there just aren’t that many wealthy people in this country. It is a small percentage.
My belief that 95% of conservatives are from other lines of thinking, which might be very similar to mine. Some are conservative simply because of social issues, which I respect. But there are a lot of people just like myself who have come to the following conclusion…
I believe that many liberal economic theories are wonderful, but they fail to be practical. You can not tax the rich because they always find a way to pass the bill to the lower and middle class. It simply does not work and has failed every single time it has ever been tried.
This is exactly what we see happening with Obamacare on a national level. It is what I just saw with local jobs in Missouri. I won’t even bother getting into right and wrong on these issues because I feel like it is 100% irrelevant. I don’t live in utopia, I live in America. If a McDonald’s franchisee is feeling pressured to give up more store profits, they simply do what they always do…they pass the buck to the little guy.
Now even more families are suffering, which is exactly what liberal economic policies are supposed to address. McDonald’s isn’t what it was when I was younger. It used to be a “blow off” job that was mostly held by high school students who wanted spending money. In this economy you are seeing more and more people who actually rely on that paycheck to support their family. My friend is a 22-year-old woman with three children. Her husband works but they would not be able to make it without that check. Luckily for her she was recently promoted to management. Several of her co-workers are not as lucky.
I will be brutally honest. I don’t call myself a Republican and don’t even really like to call myself a conservative because I feel like it “labels” me on certain issues. There are several social issues on which I come from a more liberal or moderate point of view. That ticks off some of my conservative friends, but it’s just me. I think for myself and I don’t agree with all policies from either party.
On the economy, however, I am as conservative as they come. I want to tell you a little about myself because I can’t write this and claim to be an economist. What I can tell you is that I have proven every time I have been tested to be a mathematical genius. Does that make me a financial/economic expert? No it does not. I am more like “Rainman” than “Warren Buffet” but I do believe that I see things that others miss.
Either way the numbers just fail to add up most of the time with “liberal” fiscal plans. I say that with respect because I would absolutely love to live in a world without poverty and class warfare. I also know that these things have been tested on a broad scale and never proven to work.
It bothers me that we are moving toward more “socialist” economic policies. I am also smart enough to know that America was never a 100% capitalist society and there has never been a 100% socialist society. It’s all about the mix of many ideas and coming up with the perfect combination.
We are shooting ourselves in the foot in recent years and it has to stop. How many people like my friend just cast a vote for Obama? After all, they make $8 an hour and barely make ends meet. Why would they vote for the “pro-rich” guy?
How many people, like my friend, are ALSO absolutely steaming now because this grand plan just blew up in all of our faces?
I promised I would try not to make this an “I told you so” article, so let’s go ahead and watch what happens. If you see enough stories like this one I would urge you to start thinking for yourself. We don’t have to subscribe to every single policy of any political party. They would certainly like it if we did. That’s what they want.
If things get bad enough, you should never hesitate to vote your conscience instead of your party. I thought things were already that bad in 2012 but most disagreed. Party leaders know that a certain percentage of people will “lock step” with them regardless of whether they are democrat or republican. I refuse to be that way.
It’s your choice, obviously, by why do we keep supporting economic ideas that only work in computer simulations? I think most fiscal conservatives simply feel that they are rooted in reality instead of theory. If it has not worked in the past, why will it work in the future?
They say that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If taxing wealthy people and mandating policies for big business worked, we would not have a 16 trillion dollar national debt.
Regardless of what people think, even under Republican leadership these ideas stay in force. I was a small business owner under the Bush administration and I ended up paying more taxes annually than I now make in a single year. The conservatives tax the rich too, the only difference tends to be a few percentage points. They are quibbling over insignificant numbers, not ideas. The republican party understands that they have to tax the rich to avoid looking discriminatory toward the working class. They simply shoot for lower numbers than the democrats.
Until we get real pro-business leadership in office we will never fix this economy. We need people who understand how to spend less than they bring in at the government level and people who know how to create GOOD jobs.
In the 1930’s when America had verifiable double-digit unemployment, Russia had FULL employment. Yet they failed to sympathize with our plight because many of our unemployed people still owned automobiles. In those times even a worker in Russia could not afford an automobile.
What we need is GOOD jobs, not 0% unemployment. What we received from just one local fast food restaurant is about 20 more part-time jobs (to replace the hours) and about 60 people who can’t live off of their 20 hour per week paycheck, despite having a job. We just created more food stamp claims, partial unemployment claims, etc. None of these people have the insurance that was promised. They will be looking for government programs to provide that, in many cases. I’d love to take off on a rant about Wal-Mart now. They are the model for how to teach employees to get government handouts. Maybe another day.
So the administration just created more jobs, as promised, but at what price?
Don’t be fooled by numbers. For example, unemployment numbers are bull shit. They don’t count people who have left the job market because they have simply given up. The numbers do not count people who are under-employed or part-time. The numbers do not account for new people entering the market and looking for their first job. The experts I have studied tell us that you can usually add about 50% to the stated unemployment number to get the real number. So if they say unemployment is at 8% it is probably closer to 12%. The government doesn’t know the real number. They aren’t as smart as they think they are.
You don’t have to acknowledge these numbers. They are all about political spins and either party can and will use them to their advantage when given the opportunity. Look at your friends and neighbors. Is this system truly working for them? This is the real world and we have to be honest enough to answer these questions without political bias.
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