As has been frequently noted, if you want to talk job creation you should probably talk to some people who have actually created jobs. And in at least one case, it seems that President Obama did precisely that. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the message.
Earlier this year, former Obama donor and CEO of Darden Restaurants, Clarence Otis Jr.met with the president to talk about putting Americans back to work. (It’s the parent company of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, so they have created a job or two in their time.) One has to wonder how well he thought that meeting went, given the recent editorial he penned for CNN
“Businesses adding jobs” is a headline every elected official loves to read. Sadly, it’s one that’s getting harder and harder to find because of a policy and regulatory landscape that makes it increasingly difficult for businesses to see why and where creating new jobs makes sense.
That’s especially true for me and my colleagues in the restaurant industry, who find ourselves facing a plate piled high with more and more federal, state and local regulations.
Regulatory mandates flowing from federal health care reform may be the most visible, but the list also includes measures such as new mandatory paid leave provisions that require us to change the way we accommodate employees who need to take time off when they are ill and ever more unrealistic requirements regarding employee meal and rest breaks that, in California for example, force our employees to take breaks in the middle of serving lunch or dinner.
Otis’ entire essay is worth a read, if only for the real world experience he brings to the discussion. He’s not some wild eyed partisan pulling his hair out and screaming about Democrats, but an employer who has to deal with the real world issues facing companies who have to cope with a dizzying array of new rules, costs and litigation traps which spring from regulations frequently written by people who have never operated anything more complex than a lemonade stand. (If that much.)
He’s also not taking a “radical” position of saying there is no need for any regulation… just that regulations need to not only make sense, but be understandable to employers and allow them the confidence to hire more workers. And to do that, they need to know what their costs and exposures will be six months, a year or a decade down the line. It really doesn’t seem like that much to ask.