Local opinion columnists

How do govt. policies affect your meals out?

By From page A8 | June 09, 2014

This is the latest in a series of topical columns to promote thought and ensure accuracy within political campaigns and issues. Our objective is to promote interest among voters to separate fact from opinion or fiction. It is time for voters to demand representatives who promote the founding principles of our country at every level of government.

During conversation with the owner while enjoying a meal at a favorite restaurant, the owner confirmed many thoughts on the subject of the Affordable Care Act and other government programs. Because of changing economic conditions, his franchise corporate headquarters has determined that some menu items and specials have to be eliminated and prices increased on other items.

When a regular customer became aware of the demise of a longtime bannered special, she promptly made warning calls to friends and family while still sitting at a table.

Things change due to many circumstances, i.e.: increased regulatory requirements, taxes, insurance, supplies, “Obamacare,” proposed minimum wages and other issues. Who is supposed to pay for it?

All costs in business are passed on to the consumer. Each day when the doors open, the business owner is in the hole until enough business comes through the door to break even. How anyone has the nerve to deal with this concept is a credit to the owner but consistent with the American can-do attitude of following your dreams.

Our congressman, Rep. John Garamendi, has served in many levels of government for 40 years. His record is consistent and strong for support of increased regulation of the above-stated issues.

How has that worked out for the businessman, taxpayer and consumer? The many empty storefronts around Fairfield and beyond tell the all-too-familiar tale.

Many phases of our lives, down to personal medical records and telephone calls, are now subject to review by federal bureaucrats. The nation’s Founding Fathers feared government encroachment, which is why they specifically limited the power of the federal government in Article I of the Constitution. Sadly, many politicians today ignore that intent even though they are sworn by oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

In our area, several local businesses have elected to close their doors and move to areas more favorable to business. This particular business owner does not have the option of moving his business to Texas, Idaho, Nevada or anywhere else, so his only option may be to close his doors and go out of business, which leaves another group of good employees out of work.

The unhappy customer called the wrong people. Her lock-step liberal politicians should be on speed dial, because they are the ones who continue to support the policies coming out of the present administration. How many of our local politicians have the courage to stand up and say enough is enough to the Washington, D.C. politicians of both parties who believe big government is the solution?

Garamendi is too expensive, in finances and in liberties lost, for Solano County.

Rod Keck is a Fairfield resident and member of The Right Stuff Committee, a committee of the Solano County Republican Party. Reach him at [email protected]

Rod Keck


Discussion | 8 comments

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  • mike kirchubelJune 09, 2014 - 6:46 am

    Fairfield's downtown is in better shape than it has been in decades. I guess you should thank president Obama and Rep. Garamendi, since you think they are responsible. By the way, Garamendi has only been in DC for a few years. It looks like you are having trouble separating fact from opinion or fiction. Try looking up the definitions.

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  • Mr. PracticalJune 09, 2014 - 7:07 pm

    Mike, what makes you think downtown is doing better than they have been in decades? Have you gone over their P&Ls with them?

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  • rlw895June 09, 2014 - 7:35 am

    Another "elect Dan Logue" column.

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  • rlw895June 09, 2014 - 7:47 am

    But as for the broader topic, YES, consumers pay, as they should. Service businesses like restaurants don't move outside the reach of their customers. If they close, it's because they want to or because they are unsuccessful competing with other service businesses. Modern transportation and communication has made the world smaller, so many businesses don't have to be as local as they used to be, and that IS a problem on the state and national level, as businesses move to places where costs are lower. But the answer to that is not lower regulation or wages; it's stricter trade policy and tariffs.

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  • Mr. PracticalJune 09, 2014 - 7:20 pm

    rlw, restaurants are retail not service. Your assessment of why businesses would close, particularly with restaurants, couldn't be further from the truth. The current minimum wage bill and paid sick leave bills come at a huge cost to restaurants. It's not as simple as raising menu prices. Large, corporate restaurant companies can survive it, many independents can't. All it does is widen the gap between big and small business. Wanted these bills to pass is a 1% attitude. The industry that gets hit the hardest is auto mechanics. California law requires that if a shop does not provide all equipment, tools, uniforms, etc... they must pay the mechanic a minimum of two times minimum wage. Most shops provide equipment but not tools. Tools are very personal to the mechanic and they bring them to the job. The $5 increase in minimum wage is a $10 hit for auto shops. Plus the additional 15% in payroll taxes. Workers comp is based on payroll and for auto shops the median base rate is about $7.50 per $100 of payroll. More if they don't have a perfect experience rating. Don't forget that because of the recession, revenues are way down and the cost of business has continued to rise. This laws will be death for many businesses. In spite of what Mike thinks most of downtown businesses are making a very meager profit, if in fact they are taking home a check at all. I could give you a laundry list of businesses that are one bad month away from closing. They aren't choosing to close. They aren't failing at competing.

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  • rlw895June 10, 2014 - 12:15 am

    Mr.P: OK, restaurants are retail. I'm looking for a word that describes businesses that have to be local. You can't buy a restaurant meal on the Internet and have it shipped to you. You pay what it costs or you don't eat out. A lot of other retail businesses suffer because so many people use the Internet and cheap shipping to buy retail. I can see how they can't compete. If you need an auto mechanic, a gardener, a pest control company, etc., etc., what choice does the consumer have out to pay the cost?

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  • rlw895June 10, 2014 - 2:11 am

    *but to pay the cost

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  • Mr. PracticalJune 10, 2014 - 6:12 am

    rlw, you answered your own question. The choices they have are to not eat out, choose a lower cost restaurant or nodt spend as much when they eat out. Whenever you raise prices, you hit a point of diminishing return quickly. Let's say you are trying to make up the lost revenue due to an increase in the cost of doing business such as the increase in minimum wage. You could look at your average revenue per day and easily figure out the percentage you would need to increase prices to cover the daily average increase in labor costs. Some people will order what they always order and pay the increase. Some will order something different to stay within their budget. Others may choose to go elsewhere or not go out to eat as often. Raising prices does guarantee an increase in revenue.

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