Batten down the hatches, everyone, and don't be distracted by the ongoing Republican breast-beating about how their policies are so great but they just aren't communicating them in a happy way. Forget about that, because the oligarchs are
November 12, 2012

Batten down the hatches, everyone, and don't be distracted by the ongoing Republican breast-beating about how their policies are so great but they just aren't communicating them in a happy way. Forget about that, because the oligarchs are rumbling, shaking their fists and stomping their hooves over Obamacare.

Yes, that's right. Now that it will not be repealed and will be the law of the land, they're making no bones about it. You've already heard about the miserable jerk who prayed with his employees before letting over 100 of them go, but it's about to get better.

Papa John's Pizza

Like Susie, I can't stand their pizza anyway, but evidently enough people like it to keep their stock price at acceptable levels while paying decent rates of return. Still, that's not enough for CEO John Schnatter, who has declared he will cut employees' hours to bring them below the full-time threshold which would require him to provide full coverage for them.

Evidently that 14 cents per pizza is just too onerous for customers and Wall Street to bear.

"The good news is 100 percent of the population is going to have health insurance. We're all going to pay for it," he said, estimating the new law would cost the business $5 million to $8 million annually.

Under the Affordable Care Act, full-time employees — those working 30 hours or more per week — would have to be provided with insurance at companies with more than 50 workers. Schnatter said it was likely that some franchise owners would reduce employees' hours in order to avoid having to cover them.

"That's probably what's going to happen," he said. "It's common sense. That's what I call lose-lose."

He also said he had a duty to shareholders to provide the maximum rate of return. Might be worth knowing who the shareholders are. 74 percent of Papa John's stock is institutionally owned; that is, owned by other investment firms and Wall Street funds. For 2012, the earnings per share is targeted to be about $2.60, up from 2011 earnings of $2.20 per share, which was an increase of 22.2 percent over 2010.

Papa John's has a market cap of $1.15 billion, and this guy is whining about a cost of around $6-$8 million per year, or 14 cents per pizza?

I call bullsh*t. This is a temper tantrum, plain and simple. Mr. Schnatter isn't the only one, either.

Darden Restaurants: Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House

Yes, Darden Restaurants join the whambulance over Obamacare too. Actually, they've been whining about it for a couple of years but now they're getting serious. Like Papa John's, Darden Restaurants is public but owned by bankers and hedge funds to the tune of about 84 percent.

Darden's solution to the problem is to cut employees' hours to under the minimum required to provide health insurance because they just will not tolerate the idea of actually doing something that might cost them a little bit in order for employees to live happier, healthier lives

By the way, Darden is forecasting annual growth of 12 percent. But no Obamacare for their employees, because that might reduce the big profits down to 11.8 percent or something!

Again, shall we call bullsh*t on this one together?

Zane Tankel, CEO of large New York Applebee's Franchisee

I want to be really clear on this one, because there seems to be a big misunderstanding about whether it is Applebee's overall or just a large Applebee's franchisee, and the answer is the latter.

Zane Tankel is the CEO of a very large Applebee's franchisee in New York, and you can watch him in the video above explaining how he will jack the rules in order to avoid providing health insurance to his employeees.

This one is particularly odious to me, because I am aware of other Applebee's franchisees in other areas who do offer health insurance to their employees, and Tankel's remarks were interpreted by many to apply to all Applebee's franchisees, which is not the case.

What they all have in common

Each and every one of these CEOs is not complaining about providing health insurance to their employees. They're trying to figure out ways to avoid paying the penalty for not providing it. This is because they have no intention of providing health insurance to their employees despite the fact that in every case they could in fact adopt a nationwide group insurance plan which would be less costly after tax deductions than paying the penalty.

The only good thing about all of this saber-rattling is that it finally highlights why it is essential that health care be completely and finally severed from employment. Until that happens, these banker-owned food chains and other franchise chains with bankers at the helm will continue to whine and moan and screw employees in the name of keeping their "shareholders" happy.

It's time they learned they aren't running everything, and also time for them to play by the rules. If they don't like the employer penalty, let's slap a transaction tax on share trades to help pay for the health care benefits they don't give a damn whether their employees get or not.

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