Monday, December 31, 2012

Hobby Lobby Defying Obamacare: $1.3 Million a Day Fine


Hobby Lobby is a Christian company. It doesn't approve of the birth control mandates (morning after pill) in Obamacare, and it has chosen not to comply with the new law which takes in full effect in October 2013, the beginning of the fiscal year.

In more proof freedom is a dying industry in the United States, Hobby Lobby is being raped and pillaged by this federal government that makes these claims it represents a free people. For everyday Hobby Lobby defies the the federal government's Obamacare mandate they will be fined $1.3 million. Wasn't it Obama himself that denied this was a job killer? It's not just a job killer, it's a business killer. This isn't freedom.

I remind the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals their decision to fine Hobby Lobby $1.3 million a day is clearly a Constitutional violation.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals will begin collecting the fines tomorrow, January 1, 2013, if Hobby Lobby refused to comply to the mandate.

David Green, the company's CEO, is fighting back. He explains the philosophy of Hobby Lobby:

“We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage. ” David Green  (December 1, 2012)

I would love for Obama and his tyrannical Obamacare mandate police to wake up tomorrow morning with signs on the doors of Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian Book Stores (also owned by the Green Family) with a Gone Galt sign on all their stores.

I know I am going to make a point to look at Hobby Lobby as a place to do business in support of David Green.



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twinkie the Kid Goes Galt: Hostess Closes Its Doors


Twinkie the Kidd had no reservations after John Galt approached him. It was time.

Missing Twinkie the Kid 11/16/2010

After years of unreasonable union demands, Obama's war on junk food, and increasing government regulations, Hostess bakery is closing its doors. Gone are the jobs that once helped mom ensure her packed school lunches had a sweet reward for their child's hard work at school They issued the following press release yesterday.


Irving, TX – November 16, 2012 – Hostess Brands Inc. today announced that it is winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities. Bakery operations have been suspended at all plants. Delivery of products will continue and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days in order to sell already-baked products.

The Board of Directors authorized the wind down of Hostess Brands to preserve and maximize the value of the estate after one of the Company’s largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), initiated a nationwide strike that crippled the Company’s ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities.

On Nov. 12, Hostess Brands permanently closed three plants as a result of the work stoppage. On Nov. 14, the Company announced it would be forced to liquidate if sufficient employees did not return to work to restore normal operations by 5 p.m., EST p.m., Nov. 15. The Company determined on the night of Nov. 15 that an insufficient number of employees had returned to work to enable the restoration of normal operations.

The BCTGM in September rejected a last, best and final offer from Hostess Brands designed to lower costs so that the Company could attract new financing and emerge from Chapter 11. Hostess Brands then received Court authority on Oct. 3 to unilaterally impose changes to the BCTGM’s collective bargaining agreements.

Hostess Brands is unprofitable under its current cost structure, much of which is determined by union wages and pension costs. The offer to the BCTGM included wage, benefit and work rule concessions but also gave Hostess Brands’ 12 unions a 25 percent ownership stake in the company, representation on its Board of Directors and $100 million in reorganized Hostess Brands’ debt.

“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”

In addition to dozens of baking and distribution facilities around the country, Hostess Brands will sell its popular brands, including Hostess®, Drakes® and Dolly Madison®, which make iconic cake products such as Twinkies®, CupCakes, Ding Dongs®, Ho Ho’s®, Sno Balls® and Donettes®. Bread brands to be sold include Wonder®, Nature’s Pride ®, Merita®, Home Pride®, Butternut®, and Beefsteak®, among others.

The wind down means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.

The Company said its debtor-in-possession lenders have agreed to allow the Company to continue to have access to the $75 million financing facility put in place at the start of the bankruptcy cases to fund the sale and wind down process, subject to U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval.

The Company’s motion asks the Court for authority to continue to pay employees whose services are required during the wind-down period.

For employees whose jobs will be eliminated, additional information can be found at hostessbrands.info. The website also contains information for customers and vendors. Most employees who lose their jobs should be eligible for government-provided unemployment benefits.

There comes a point where you get tired of supplying the jobs for people who aren't appreciative of the jobs you supply--whether it be unions or big government.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Denny's Fights Back Against Obamacare: %5 Upcharge

The heavy hand of regulations known as Obamacare has many companies in the United States considering their future as employers. Layoffs, shorter work weeks, and job exodus plans continue to be the talk of companies looking to do battle with the federal government as Obama pushes his healthcare laws upon a free market. The healthcare law drives up costs to employ workers.

The restaurant chain Denny's has their plans to fight the new regulations. They are passing the costs onto their customers, which is the dirty little truth that most companies will be forced to do.

The Daily Mail writes:


President Obama's election victory ensured his Affordable Care Act would remain the centerpiece of his first term in power - but that has left some business owners baulking at the extra cost Obamcare will bring.

Florida based restaurant boss John Metz, who runs approximately 40 Denny's and owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise has decided to offset that by adding a five percent surcharge to customers' bills and will reduce his employees' hours.

With Obamacare due to be fully implemented in January 2014, Metz has justified his move by claiming it is 'the only alternative. I've got to pass on the cost to the customer.'

There is nothing free about Obamacare, and the word Galt will enter more CEOs' minds in the coming future as a way to deal with it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Papa John Reacts to Obamacare Regulations: Reducing Employee Hours

Papa John is a pizza giant. He is the new generation of cardboard pizza for delivery, and it's hard not to see his influence in the pizza industry these days.

Now his influence is raising eyebrows as government regulations prepare to push employers to Go Galt. Papa John Schnatter is the next in line to speak up.


 A day after Barack Obama earned a second term in the White House, Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter said the president's signature health-care reform law would increase his business costs and possibly result in employees' hours being cut.

It's going to get harder to find a full-time job in Barack's America.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Republicans Push Roll Your Own Tobacco Stores Out of Business


John Cullen Hagerty won't be waving his American flag this Fourth of July. His American Dream just got regulated out of business thanks to an interesting provision in the new transportation bill Congress just passed today to be on the fast track to law going into effect on July 1, 2012.

Hagerty owns the Liberty Smoke Shop, Freedom Smoke Shop, and the Independence Smoke Shop in Branson, Missouri. Think of it as the Build-a-Bear for tobacco enthusiasts. Hagerty's customers buy various tobaccos and papers, void of all the addictive chemicals and preservatives big tobacco places in their cigarettes which have led big tobacco in court defending their products. Then his customers rent a high-speed rolling machine that makes their own custom cigarettes.


Consumers can roll 200 cigarettes for a fraction of what 200 Marlboros would cost, and his customers note the quality of the tobacco is much, much better.

It appears Big Tobacco and the fact roll your own cigarettes don't come with the federal taxes inspired enough members in Congress to sneak a provision in the transportation bill that makes the equipment Haggerty uses in his shop illegal to use under the legal conditions Hagerty has been using his machine. According to Hagerty, roll your own cigarettes is a lot like something I know a lot about, brew your own beer. You can escape paying federal taxes by rolling your own just like you can brewing your own beer and it's legal. This, combined with the fact Big Tobacco's lobbyists are very powerful in Washington, may be the driving reason Hagerty will closing his doors as these machines become illegal on July 1, 2012.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette writes about the driving reasons Congress has targeted stores like Hagerty's.


Tobacco purveyors have a love-hate relationship with the high-speed, high-tech "roll-your-own" machines that allow customers to make cigarettes on the cheap. Those who operate them, and profit from them, love the machines. Those who don't say the machines might be illegal and are killing their tobacco businesses.

In the end, the government and the courts will decide whether these machines -- known as RYO filling machines -- represent a massive tax dodge or just a more efficient way to hand-roll cigarettes, something Americans have been doing for centuries.

"These places are manufacturing cigarettes," plain and simple, said Regan Bartley, co-owner of Smoker Friendly, a tobacco chain with stores in West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland. Her stores are in competition with tobacco shops, gas stations, convenience stores and other businesses that buy or lease the machines.

Here's the problem. Technically, Hagerty and other RYO stores have never sold a cigarette they have manufactured. They aren't in the manufacturing business. Like a Build-a-Bear store, users use the equipment to build their own cigarettes. Hagerty rents the roller to his customers.

Of course when you cut out the federal government from the slice of the pie, the federal government is going to find a way to bite back. This is just sad considering our Republic was founded on the ideas of limited government and fair taxation. We know tobacco has become a huge revenue source for the federal government and is taxed unfairly as Congress tries to regulate behavior.

Hagerty and his employees never operate the machines for the customers. They answer questions, but never perform any of the manufacturing steps. Yet the government is trying to call them a manufacture. This would be the same premise of renting a shovel from your local equipment rental store and then taxing the equipment rental store on the size of the hole dug by the person renting the equipment.

The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau says the roll-your-own machines take advantage of the "personal use" tobacco tax exemption so customers and stores can avoid paying cigarette excises.

Take advantage of the personal use tobacco tax exemption? So with unemployment rising and Obama, Democrats, and Republicans all touting the merits of small businesses in the American economy, we are going to put stores out of business and tax payers who work at these places in the unemployment line all because people have found a legal way not to pay taxes on something they enjoy?

Yes, especially when you look at the breakdown in Congress.

The House voted 373-52 in favor of the bill, which was supported by every voting Democrat, while 52 Republicans opposed it. In the Senate, the tally was 74-19, with 23 Republicans joining every Democrat in voting for the measure. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) voted present, while Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) missed the vote.

Hagerty's own Congressman, Billy Long of Missouri's 7th District, who claims to be in staunch opposition to federal taxes and a friend to the small businessman voted in favor of the bill according to Congressman Long's Washington office, which I contacted this afternoon.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazzette, these machines may have the title "high speed" but on average it takes an hour to roll the equivalent of four cartons. This isn't an efficient process considering how little there is to an actual cigarette, but that's not going to stop Fedzilla from chomping down on the small businessman.

Hagerty is letting his customers know that because of this federal legislation, he is being forced to shut the doors on his three locations which create jobs in the Branson area. He is having five employees who will soon be on unemployment.

The Middletown Journal writes this is a joint effort between Republicans and Democrats to tax these small businesses.

In early March, Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., introduced House Resolution 4134, a bill amending the definition of a tobacco manufacturer to include “any person who for commercial purposes makes available for consumer use a machine capable of producing tobacco products.”

In addition, the Secure Rural Schools amendment sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and added to a U.S. Senate transportation bill would categorize retailers providing roll-your-own machines to customers as mainstream cigarette manufacturers for federal cigarette tax purposes.

Do these Republicans sound like they are small business friendly? Or are the fed by the big tobacco lobby who like the soft drink companies see consumers going to other products to fulfill their needs as these politicians see more revenue they can recklessly spend while threatening the livelihood of honest Americans trying to make a living in a tough economy? Once again, I ask is their really a difference between the two parties. They are fed by big corporations and always looking to feed on Americans by expanding the tax base. I don't see much difference between the two at all.

Hagerty says he can keep his shop open, but to maintain the costs of the federal stamps and the federal license required to produce cigarettes is so far out of reach for a store his size that he can't possibly afford to become a federally licensed manufacturer.

Once again, we see how government regulations kill the American dream. This time it's a Branson businessman who contributed to his country by creating jobs, contributing to the economy, paying federal income taxes, and collecting sales taxes for his community. Because he didn't pay a federal excise tax to his federal masters, Hagerty and so many RYO businesses like his have become victims of the federal leviathan.

In a sad goodbye to his customers, a veteran broke down in tears in Hagerty's store wondering what the hell is going on in the country he fought for that he can't buy a bag of tobacco and rent a machine to roll his own cigarettes. It really is a sad statement about our country, a country founded upon great wealth thanks to tobacco.

Robert E. Murray Goes Galt as Ohio Coal Industry Prepares for Job Losses

Ohio, what were you thinking? Obama hates your coal, and important resource for your state in the southeastern corridor, and yet you turned blue once again this year.

One Ohio man has decided that Ohio isn't going to wake up until the reality hits them in the face. Robert E. Murray is taking a stand and has begun to "go Galt".

The Washington Post writes:


For the chairman and chief executive of Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company, the reelection of President Obama was no cause for celebration. It was a time for prayer — and layoffs.

Robert E. Murray read a prayer to a group of company staff members on the day after the election, lamenting the direction of the country and asking: “Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build.”

On Wednesday, Murray also laid off 54 people at American Coal, one of his subsidiary companies, and 102 at Utah American Energy, blaming a “war on coal” by the Obama administration.

Here is Mr. Murray's prayer in its entirety.


“Dear Lord:

The American people have made their choice. They have decided that America must change its course, away from the principals of our Founders. And, away from the idea of individual freedom and individual responsibility. Away from capitalism, economic responsibility, and personal acceptance.

We are a Country in favor of redistribution, national weakness and reduced standard of living and lower and lower levels of personal freedom.

My regret, Lord, is that our young people, including those in my own family, never will know what America was like or might have been. They will pay the price in their reduced standard of living and, most especially, reduced freedom.

The takers outvoted the producers. In response to this, I have turned to my Bible and in II Peter, Chapter 1, verses 4-9 it says, ‘To faith we are to add goodness; to goodness, knowledge; to knowledge, self control; to self control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, kindness; to brotherly kindness, love.’

Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build. We ask for your guidance in this drastic time with the drastic decisions that will be made to have any hope of our survival as an American business enterprise.

Amen.”

US Companies Go Galt in Wake of Obama's Reelection

Ayn Rand's epic Atlas Shrugged suggest a future where government over regulation leads to the producers going on strike. This is happening in American in 2012 despite the fact the producers aren't disappearing after their introduction to John Galt.

A phenomenon is occurring throughout American in the days since Obama won reelection. Knowing Obamacare will pose strict penalties on companies who don't comply with the new healthcare regulations that will drive up healthcare insurance rates and cost employers millions more for providing benefits, American companies are beginning to show signs they are willing to "go Galt".

Freedom Works has put together a list of companies who have decided they are going to deal Obama defeat during his next four years if Obamacare lives.


Welch Allyn
Welch Allyn, a company that manufactures medical diagnostic equipment in central New York, announced in September that they would be laying off 275 employees, or roughly 10% of their workforce over the next three years. One of the major reasons discussed for the layoffs was a proactive response to the Medical Device Tax mandated by the new healthcare law.

Dana Holding Corp.
As recently as a week ago, a global auto parts manufacturing company in Ohio known as Dana Holding Corp., warned their employees of potential layoffs, citing "$24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses". After laying off several white collar staffers, company insiders have hinted at more to come. The company will have to cover the additional $24 million cost somehow, which will likely equate to numerous cuts in their current workforce of 25,500 worldwide.

Stryker
One of the biggest medical device manufacturers in the world, Stryker will close their facility in Orchard Park, New York, eliminating 96 jobs in December. Worse, they plan on countering the medical device tax in Obamacare by slashing 5% of their global workforce - an estimated 1,170 positions.

Boston Scientific
In October of 2009, Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott, warned that proposed taxes in the health care reform bill could "lead to significant job losses" for his company. Nearly two years later, Elliott announced that the company would be cutting anywhere between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs, while simultaneously shifting investments and workers overseas - to China.

Medtronic
In March of 2010, medical device maker Medtronic warned that Obamacare taxes could result in a reduction of precisely 1,000 jobs. That plan became reality when the company cut 500 positions over the summer, with another 500 set for the end of 2013.


Darden Restaurants
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Darden Restaurants, a casual dining chain best known for their Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants, is "experimenting with limiting the hours of some of its workers to avoid health care requirements under the Affordable Care Act when they take effect in 2014".

JANCOA Janitorial Services
The CEO of JANCOA, Mary Miller, testified to Congress that Obamacare was a "dream killer", adding that one option she had to consider "is reducing the majority of my team members to part-time employment in order to reduce the amount that I will be penalized."

Kroger
The American retailer in Cincinnati, Ohio recently was reported to be planning a significant slashing of their hourly workers.  Doug Ross writes:

Operative Faith (a mid-level manager with the company) reveals that Kroger will soon join the ranks of Darden Restaurants and slash the hours of its non-exempt (hourly) workers to avoid millions in Obamacare penalties.


Others
A short list of other companies facing future layoffs at the hands of Obamacare:
Smith & Nephew - 770 layoffs
Abbott Labs - 700 layoffs
Covidien - 595 layoffs
Kinetic Concepts - 427 layoffs
St. Jude Medical - 300 layoffs
Hill Rom - 200 layoffs

Beyond the complete elimination of a significant number of American jobs is another looming problem created by the health care law - a shift from full-time to part-time workers.

More Americans are going to have harder time finding full-time jobs with Obamacare in place.