Poor, poor John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s. He’s built a pizza empire, but he’s now fallen victim to evil president Barack Obama’s health care initiative, officially called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and colloquially dubbed “Obamacare.”
Schnatter has gone public with his company’s plan to raise the price of pizza by 15 to 20 cents. He complains that he’s been forced into the decision to charge more for pizza because Obamacare will increase the operational costs of his business. It’s all Obama’s fault.
First of all, did the people at Papa John’s not learn anything from the Chic-fil-A gay marriage fiasco? When you run a fast food company, it’s probably best to keep your political opinions to yourself. Already, users on Twitter are lashing out against Schnatter and his company. Though there will be an inevitable backlash and outpouring of support from conservatives, it’s unlikely to undo the damage that Schnatter’s comments have already done.
Secondly, do people like Schnatter really believe that Americans are so frugal and heartless that they won’t pay a few more cents for pizza if it means that millions of their fellow citizens can have access to health care? Here’s an idea: just raise the price and don’t complain about it in public. See if anyone even notices. Go to sleep at night knowing that there are fewer people out there whose lives will be ruined by a medical condition they can’t afford to get care for.
Thirdly, and most importantly, why not consider if you even need to raise the price of your pizza at all? John Schnatter has a net worth of $240 million. He was listed at number 17 on Forbes’ list of the richest Americans under the age of 40. He lives in a 40,000 square foot mansion with a 22-car underground garage and a private golf course. It’s safe to say he could leave the price of pizza the same and just cut into his profits a little bit.
John Schnatter is a prime example of the American dream–both the good parts of it and the bad. He built an business that millions love and he deserves to enjoy the wealth that comes with that. He also needs to understand that it’s the millions of Americans–many without health care–who made him as rich as he is today. And he needs to understand that, in order to maintain his place, he might just need to know when to shut up.