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Free Enterprise, Free Market Equals Recovery

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, in today's Washington Post, the very prominent columnist George Will has a column about how the very limited recovery that has gone on in this country over the last few months is a jobless recovery, a term that we are hearing from many, many experts throughout the country.

I can tell you that, all over this country, college graduates are having trouble finding jobs, and many are having to work as waiters and waitresses in restaurants or at other very low-paying jobs. In large part, that is because environmental radicals have forced us to send millions of good jobs to other countries for 30 years or more now, and that is the main cause of that problem. But another problem that is going on all over the country is the credit situation.

Yesterday, in the Washington Times, there was a lengthy article about the problem that is still going on, that the banks are not making loans to anyone who really needs a loan, and particularly small businesses are hurting.

Well, I can tell you exactly why the banks are not making loans to the people who need them. And that is because, while the President and the Secretary of the Treasury--and both President Bush and his administration did this and President Obama and his Secretary of the Treasury have been doing this--they are up here in Washington saying, loan, loan, loan, and the banks have all this money, but the examiners down on the local level are saying, no, no, no, and turning down what would be really good loans even in just recent times.

Unless the examiners start giving small businesses at least some flexibility, this economy is not really going to recover.

We know, for instance, that there have been almost no jobs created over the last few months in the private sector. And about the only jobs that have been created or the biggest number of jobs that have been created have been jobs in the census, which occurs only once every 10 years.

My main purpose in coming here today is to read into the Record a letter that I have received from one of my constituents, Mike Connor, who started with one restaurant in 1992 and now has a chain of 15 restaurants.

He wrote this letter to me recently. He said, quote, ``We, the middle-sized business owners, are going to need a lot of help in the next couple of years. As I understand the current health care reform bill, Connor Concepts, as an employer of more than 50 people, will be required to provide health insurance for all full-time employees or face a $3,000 fine per employee.

``We currently employ around 1,200 team members in five States. We do provide health insurance for around 100 full-time salaried management and upper-management staff. Of the remaining 1,100 team members, around 800 are full-time and are not provided with health insurance.

``If we are required to pay for their health insurance or pay the penalty, we would have to pay an additional $2,400,000. If we are forced to pay this, the five States we operate in will have an additional 1,200 unemployed. We would lose a lot of money!''

Mr. Connor continues, ``Together with my team, I have built this company from one restaurant in 1992, providing jobs for 80 people, to 15 restaurants, employing 1,200. Right now we plan to continue opening one restaurant a year, employing 80 to 100 people. If something doesn't change in the next year or 2 with this reform, we will have to stop growth.''

I want to repeat what he said here. This 15-restaurant chain, which is not a giant business, they will have to stop their growth if the health care reform bill goes fully into effect as it is now written.

Mr. Connor continues, ``Though our team members are not provided health insurance because of the expense, they are provided with a good pay wage, excellent vacation benefits, meal privileges, and excellent working conditions. More than anything else, though, they are provided a good job, one that allows them to pay their bills, support their families, or pay for their school.

``We do provide an insurance plan team members can pay for themselves. It is an inexpensive plan that has limits on hospital stays but does take care of routine medical care.''

Mr. Connor ends this letter by saying, ``I look forward to working with you in whatever way I can to change this law so that I can stay in business.''

Businesses, Mr. Speaker, all over this country are facing this same situation. And we have got to change this and allow the free-enterprise, free-market system to work in this country once again if we're going to ever have the recovery that our people want.

I thank you.

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