Rick Ungar at Forbes.com is doing a touchdown dance because the recent criticism of Obamacare by Papa John’s and Applebees has caused their brand awareness (according to BrandIndex) to fall for a few days.
Papa John’s (CEO: John Schnatter) score went from 32 on election day, to 4.
Applebee’s (CEO: Zane Terkel) score went from 35 to 5.
Ungar, of course, fails to ask the important question. He fails to wonder if maybe those CEOs were doing what CEOs do, i.e., provide leadership by confronting bottom-line truth, which in this case is that excess government regulation forces them to cut jobs, raise prices, or both, because it raises the costs of running that business.
Government regulation always drives up the cost of doing business (except when it provides unfair advantages to the business, but that’s a different discussion). This is a fact that any business owner in the country — particularly small and medium businesses — can affirm. And if restaurant patrons are more critical of the business owner for calling out the inevitable costs of Obamacare than they are of the legislation itself … well, that ought to give us pause.
The funny thing about economic realities: there is no escaping them, and while the “brand awareness” thing is interesting for a while, in due time the Papa John’s and Applebees brands will probably recover, and then the economic reality that drove both of those CEOs to say such dangerous things will still be there, waiting. Ungar offers no opinions on that, of course. In this way, he is like most of those who voted for Obama: blissfully unaware of the time bomb that their idol set for us (including, ironically, many of the 2,000 businesses — and unions of course — to which he has granted waivers).