I’ve been seeing a lot of social media content about Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter and his threat of cutting back employee hours, and/or laying off employees as a result of new healthcare requirements under Obamacare. Obviously, these memes are not supposed to put him into a positive light but there’s another aspect of them which baffles me even more.
One of the memes had a picture of Mr. Schnatter’s home. A mansion which had, among other things, a drawbridge. The point of the meme is to show how wealthy the man is. The point is conveyed. The next part though explains how if he just raised the price of his pizza by 15 cents he’d have no trouble covering the expense of employee healthcare.
Okay sure, he’d have no trouble covering the expense, but why should the consumer face a price increase? No, I’m not complaining about 15 cents. I just don’t get why, after showing a photo of a mansion with a drawbridge the suggestion of the meme isn’t “Mr. Schnatter based on look of your home you’re loaded. You can afford to pay for your employees’ healthcare.”
I personally have no problem chipping in for other people’s healthcare but I’d only want to do that through progressive taxation. I don’t want to pay for people’s healthcare because a rich CEO decides that, as opposed to living in less luxury, he’d rather cut down on his workforce and their hours. The consumer shouldn’t have to pay more money on a product so that the owner can avoid losing his extreme wealth to give his employees what they deserve as a human right in the first place.
This entire thing is also indicative of a bigger issue. It seems people still believe that Schnatter and other wealthy businessman actually “earned” their wealth and should not be asked to give any of it back. Yeah, they’ve probably worked hard to get what they have. Every business begins small. There’s a lot of risk and many mistakes are made as well. However, just because you go through this doesn’t mean you get to keep every last dime you’ve acquired and get to leave only the bare minimum for everyone else.
I’m a proponent of Universal Healthcare, or Medicare-for-all, or Single-payer insurance. This would mean that everyone chips in to help everyone else and everyone would be much healthier in the end. Is this system perfect? No. It makes a lot more sense though than a system where only the consumers pay for each others’ well-being and those at the top aren’t forced to contribute.
The idea of charging consumers an extra 15 cents is essentially seeking to compromise where you don’t need to. It’s also a way of backing down because we’re too afraid to step up and demand what we should be demanding for our neighbors, from a wealthy individual who can probably afford it.
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