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Applebee's CEO and Millionare Zane Tankel vs. Working Americans

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Monday, 12 November 2012 14:39

Republicans want us to think millionaire Zane Tankel, the CEO of Applebee’s New York Franchise and owner of forty Applebee’s restaurants, is a “job creator.” But after Tankel went on the Fox Business network last week, we know him for who he really is: a Scrooge who can’t be bothered to give his employees health insurance.

Since voters last Tuesday rejected House Republicans attempts to repeal Obamacare, it is now – to quote Speaker of the House John Boehner - “law of the land.” That means beginning in 2014 corporations across America that employ more than 50 people will have a new civic responsibility under the law to provide health insurance for their workers. This is the employer-mandate at work.

Health insurance is not a luxury in America. Obamacare isn’t forcing employers to give their workers a new big screen TV or monthly spa treatments. The law simply recognizes that 45,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have health insurance and that large employers – those that employ 50 or more people – are best equipped to be the source of life-saving medical care for millions of working Americans. It’s an idea first proposed by that “socialist” who wanted to take over America’s healthcare system back in 1971…Richard Nixon.

In fact, providing health insurance to employees is a good business decision. It not only attracts more qualified workers, but also leads to higher job retention rates and higher employee satisfaction.

But don’t tell Zane Tankel that – he’s outraged. Since he employs more than 50 people, he will now be required to provide health insurance to his workers, which many of his competitors and small businesses already do. If Tankel wants to keep screwing his employees, then he’ll have to pay a $2,000 free-loader fine for every worker who’ll now have to rely on government programs like Medicaid to get the care they need.

Appearing on Fox Business, Tankel said, “We’ve calculated it will be some millions of dollars across our system…that also rolls back expansion, it rolls back hiring more people, and in best-case scenario we only shrink the labor force minimally.”

Poor Zane Tankel says that if he’s forced to give his employees health insurance, then he’s going to have to fire some of them first. A hundred years ago, he’d likely have said the same thing about bathroom breaks for his employees, having 12-year-olds run his fryers, or letting food inspectors into his restaurants.

The vast majority of Americans have clearly conclude that if a business owner can’t run his business in the best interests of the community and its workers, which includes providing health insurance, then he or she doesn’t deserve to run a business.

There used to be a business ethic in America that put the community ahead of profit. It goes back to when Henry Ford wanted to pay his workers enough so that they, too, could afford the Model T’s they were producing. It’s a business ethic that was enforced by law when state governments could – and often did – revoke the corporate charters of businesses that were operating against the best interests of the community.

But that ethic has been replaced by Wall Street’s “greed is good” ethic, which finds its roots in Victorian England and stories like “A Christmas Carol,” where working people are condemned to Bob Cratchit poverty, forced to toil long hours under modern-day Ebenezer Scrooges, with crappy pay and no benefits.

Charles Dickens – whose father once went to debtor’s prison – would have blown his lunch at the idea of Ebenezer Scrooge being honored with a title like “job creator.” And now Fox is treating Zane Tankel as if he, and not his customers, is a “job creator”?

Tankel claims the math just doesn’t add up to be able to provide health insurance to his employees, without firing some of them first. “There’s three ways it has to come back,” Tankel said about the money needed to pay for health insurance. “[M]ore efficiencies, reduce overhead, or raise prices. Let’s look at each…we can’t raise prices…hopefully we’ve got all our efficiencies…so then, it’s cut back on overhead.” As in, let’s either fire people or pay them even less.

Tankel doesn’t want to admit he actually has more than three ways to pay for health insurance. He can cut his own salary. He can also reduce the dividends he pays to his stockholders. The math is there, but Tankel would have to reconsider his own greed. And since Scrooge wouldn’t do those things, neither will Tankel.

Tankel is also stupidly acting as if he’s the only one who’ll be affected by Obamacare. All big businesses will have to cover their employees’ health insurance now, so whatever business hit Applebee’s takes will also be felt by his competitors. He is at no disadvantage whatsoever.

But on outlets like Fox Business, the victims of this insane right-wing thinking aren’t the 45,000 Americans who die every year because they don’t have health insurance. Instead, the victims are millionaires like Zane Tankel who will have to sacrifice some of their bottom line to keep their employees healthy. As one of the Fox Business talking heads asks Tankel, “Is this the most challenging time you’ve ever seen because of the regulations?”

To which Tankel agreed.

Unlike what you hear on the Conservative media outlets, President Obama hasn’t deployed his brown shirts to confiscate private property and redistribute Zane Tankel’s wealth. He hasn’t choked out the private sector with big government regulations.

In fact, corporate profits under President Obama are astronomically high. The average annual real corporate profit growth rate since President Obama took office is 77.9% - making him the best President for corporate profits since 1900. In second place is Warren Harding who ran on a campaign platform in 1920 of “less government in business, more business in government,” and corporate profits only surged 17.7% during his term.

President Obama has been corporate America’s best friend. And after swimming in astronomically high profits, corporations are now being asked to reinvest some of that wealth back into their employees by providing them health insurance. It’s the very least they can do.

And, seriously, do you really want to eat at a restaurant filled with sick employees?

So-called “job creators” like Zane Tankel have to understand that the letters C-E-O in front of their names do not give them the right to abuse workers, or exploit them as political pawns. Those letters indicate that they do business in our communities because “we the people” gave them permission to do so, and we can revoke that permission any time, if we so choose.

Corporations, as President Grover Cleveland famously said in 1888, should be the “carefully restrained creatures of law and the servants of the people.”

Zane – take a course in American history. And pay special attention to that part about the rights of workers. We ended slavery and indentured servitude in this country, and we’ve decided that working people are entitled to be treated decently in the workplace. Even if it means that Papa John’s founder John Schnatter may not be able to add another guesthouse onto his castle.




SAM SACKS

Sam Sacks is a Progressive Commentator and former Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill. He is currently the Senior Producer of The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann airing weeknights at 7PM EST on RT and Free Speech TV.

THOM HARTMANN

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling Project Censored Award winning author and host of a nationally syndicated progressive radio talk show. You can learn more about Thom Hartmann at his websiteand find out what stations broadcast his radio program. He also now has a daily independent television program, The Big Picture,  syndicated by FreeSpeech TV, RT TV, and 2oo community TV stations.  You can also listen or watch Thom over the Internet.
 
 



 
 

by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 1:44 AM
Replies (41-50):
nb34
by Gold Member on Nov. 13, 2012 at 10:26 AM
1 mom liked this

Yes, the evil corporations aren't going to do the right thing. We needed the universal health care from the get go, too bad Obama got intimidated by Republicans and compromised on that.

Euphoric
by Bazinga! on Nov. 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM

 Mmm... Applebees.

Suzukigirl710
by Member on Nov. 13, 2012 at 10:34 AM

see when all this talk about "Obamacare" started I though that is what it was, Universal healthcare.  Which i think I would have been for. 

gammie
by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 10:43 AM

This!!

Quoting kailu1835:

It is common sense.  It will cost employers more to give everyone health insurance so they will opt to pay the fine instead.  This is nothing new, and doesn't mean that the employer is evil, it's just the facts.  People are going to lose their jobs over this because it isn't something every employer can afford.


gammie
by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Mr. Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 is just another falsehood associated with this legislation.

The first, and best known, of these seven taxes that will hit all Americans as a result of Obamacare is the Individual Mandate Tax (no longer concealed as a penalty). This provision will require a couple to pay the higher of a base tax of $1,360 per year, or 2.5% of adjusted growth income starting with lower base tax and rising to this level by 2016.  Individuals will see a base tax of $695 and families a base tax of $2,085 per year by 2016.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/06/29/Seven-new-taxes

gammie
by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Another direct hit to the middle class is the Medical Itemized Deduction Hurdle which is currently 7.5% of adjusted gross income.  This is the hurdle that must be met before medical expenses over that hurdle can be taken as a deduction on federal income taxes.  Obamacare raises this hurdle to 10% of adjusted gross income beginning in 2013.  Consider the middle class family with $80,000 of adjusted gross income and $8,000 of medical expenses.  Currently, that family can get some relief from being able to take a $2,000 deduction (7.5% X $80,000 = $6,000; $8,000 –$6,000 = $2,000).  An increase to 10% would eliminate the deduction in this example and if that family was paying a 25% federal tax rate, the real cost of that lost deduction would be $500.

mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Nov. 13, 2012 at 11:05 AM

I'm all for universal healthcare. Enough with this insurance/job nonsense. 

furbabymum
by Gold Member on Nov. 13, 2012 at 11:25 AM

 It's not just the uninsured treating ER's like free clinics. You've no idea how many people on Medicare/medicaid do the same thing. After all, they aren't paying for it so why do they care how much it costs.

That's the reason when our DS had a huge temperature spike and trouble breathing we drove 40 minutes to an urgent care clinic rather than going to the ER. All of the non-emergency patients going in make the people who really need to see a Dr. immediately wait hours. It was much quicker driving to another state's urgent care for us.

Quoting romalove:

 

Quoting turtle68:

 

Quoting kailu1835:

It is common sense.  It will cost employers more to give everyone health insurance so they will opt to pay the fine instead.  This is nothing new, and doesn't mean that the employer is evil, it's just the facts.  People are going to lose their jobs over this because it isn't something every employer can afford.

 How much is a average health insurance opposed to the fine?  does paying the levy through your taxes help buy you that insurance?

I dont understand...if you have and can pay for your health insurance through taxes...why do the employers need to pay for it?

 No, if you pay the fine, you aren't getting insurance.  The idea is that you're funding paying for your healthcare if you get sick and don't pay for.  Right now many people without healthcare go to emergency rooms and use them like a free clinic, which they aren't, and then don't pay the bills (you can be billed separately by the hospital itself, and then any doctors you see).  The tax fines are supposed to be in a fund to pay off those debts that people incur and don't pay. 

The fine for businesses of greater than 50 employees who don't have full time employees covered is I think $2000 per employee per year.  The employer must pay this even if the employee refuses the insurance.  If you make $10 an hour and the insurance costs $300 a month, you can see many of those employees refusing the insurance, because they can't afford it.  The employer is screwed regardless.  This is why many who are near that 50 cutoff may lay off employees, or cut hours to reduce the number of full time employees they have to worry about giving health insurance to.

The ACA is a mess and will cost many people their jobs.  Whether or not the Applebee's CEO is an evil overlord, there are tons and tons of small and medium sized businesses in America, run by people without the financial clout of a major corporation CEO, who will struggle with paying for insurances, paying fines, or reducing workstaff.  That's the reality.

 

Stephanie329
by Platinum Member on Nov. 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM
1 mom liked this
I got as far as this paragraph (sickening that he'd fire low wage earners instead of cutting at the top)

Tankel doesn’t want to admit he actually has more than three ways to pay for health insurance. He can cut his own salary. He can also reduce the dividends he pays to his stockholders. The math is there, but Tankel would have to reconsider his own greed. And since Scrooge wouldn’t do those things, neither will Tankel.
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gammie
by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM

But you do need to know how it's going to be paid and who will get hurt. It could be you that loses your job?  and can you pay 60% of your earnings for this? this is how much country's over seas pay for their HC and other benefits.

Quoting mehamil1:

I'm all for universal healthcare. Enough with this insurance/job nonsense. 


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