This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," August 17 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GLENN BECK, HOST: Welcome to our special on the "Death of Small Business" in America.
One thing that could kill small businesses faster than you could imagine is card check.
Listen to the next story:
BECK (voice-over): Bowlmor Lanes has been a New York City landmark since 1938, famous for its glow in the dark pins and celebrity clientele. It's one of the longest running bowling alleys in the country. But this small business, like so many others, is being severely threatened by our government.
BRETT PARKER, CFO, BOWLMOR LANES: Probably, the single greatest political threat to our company is card check.
BECK: Think card check. If you think it's good for the American worker, think again. If the government takes up card check, more unions will be created, which will put the squeeze on small businesses all across the country. And for small businesses that maintain a number of part- timers, union mandates on shifts, pay breaks, benefits and other rules will force many small businesses just to close their doors.
PARKER: It would be so enormously expensive and make it so difficult for us to run our business that I don't know that we would survive it. Surely, I'll tell you, if this have been passed two years or more ago and we were a union shop, when we started facing the revenue declines that we've faced over the last year, we never could have moved quickly enough to deal with it and survived.
BECK: Bowlmor is an American success story. Eight years ago, they had 40 employees. Today, they have operations in 8 states with 400 employees and while growing, they're able to offer benefits, including health care, to many of their full-time employees. There is no way they'd been able to sustain this type of growth and hiring power if they faced pressure of a union or government-mandated health care.
PARKER: Our government right now is proposing some of the most radical fundamental changes in America that we've seen in a long, long time. And I think people need to be very careful when they look at these programs and not think about change as a goal. And if we let this president and this Congress run wild, they are going to take drastic measures and change fundamental things about our society, which, I think, they don't even understand the consequences of.
BECK: If the Obama administration is allowed to force health care, card check and not to mention cap-and-trade, down the throats of American entrepreneurs, you can kiss many small businesses and jobs goodbye forever.
BECK: Here is bowling alley CFO Brett Parker. He is with Bowlmor Lanes right here in New York City.
You would think that your business would be doing well right now, because you're not going to uber elite, you're going to the average everyday schmo, are you not?
PARKER: Well, we cater to a little bit more upscale than your normal bowling alleys audience. But where we've really been hurt...
BECK: I bowl!
PARKER: And yes, and you're pretty upscale. Those are pretty nice jeans.
BECK: Yes, they're very nice. OK.
PARKER: No. But our business nationwide (ph) we derive — well, a year ago, we did derive about 50 percent of our revenue from corporate and special events. And, you know, as we sort of came through, AIG and bonuses and junkets and this whole deal, and you know, we got the "how dare you, shame on you" spend money on, you know, corporate entertainment and whether it's for, you know, employees or customers or whomever, and that market has just imploded.
BECK: Is there any way — I mean, I see Carmine's people sitting right behind you. Jeffrey, you're the CEO of Carmine's?
JEFFREY BANK, CARMINE'S CEO: Yes.
BECK: You guys having a hard time with that? Are you seeing businesses not bringing people out to be entertained?
BANK: Only on the high end, you'll see them, but they still coming out. So, you'll see the high-end corporate parties that might have been $100 a head drop down to $60. But people still have to eat, so we're in a lucky profession.
BECK: Right. As long as you're not — as long as you're not a restaurant in Las Vegas or Orlando, you're fine.
Health care for the Bowlmor Lanes, about $1 million extra to provide health care, is that right?
PARKER: Yes. Well, it's not — we're not just one property. It's six venues in four states...
BECK: Still, $1 million...
PARKER: It turns to be a whole lot of money. And, you know, the problem is that's our money that sort of goes for naught, from my perspective, and it crushes our sustainable growth rate.
BECK: What do you — what do you mean?
PARKER: Well, I mean, you take that money, as far as I can see, you pour it in the drain because you're going to put it into a government-led program where, you know, who knows how that's going to go. But it's all cash pulled out of our company that we can't then invest. I mean, in 12 years, we've gone from 12 employees — we were at a high of 450 and now we are at 375.
You can't have that sort of growth from a big business. That's a small business thing. And we can't do that if all of our money is going into paying for health care.
BECK: Who is — when you look at, you know, you look at this board and I want to get into it here in a second. I wrote — I wrote over here, first of all, I think — raise your hand if you agree with this — that our government now seems to be a government of just special interests. It doesn't seem to be a government of we, the people, right?
If you're in the right company or you're in the right special interest — basically, if you're in the unions, you're in big finance, you're a giant corporation, which has big unions, or you're in a favored group or industry, you'll be fine.
When I was trying to look at the stimulus package, I thought, why wouldn't you go to the, you know, the list of the most successful small businesses in America, and then pour the money into those businesses.
If you're going to do a stimulus, so how about looking for those companies that are growing instead of pouring the money do down the drain from businesses that have screwed everything up?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want a handout, but G.M., I think, the number was $64 billion that was invested in them. You could have given 64,000 small businesses $1 million.
BECK: Can you imagine what that would have created? What would a bowling alley do with $1 million — you pay extra for health care?
PARKER: We're going to build more bowling alleys!
BECK: You'll build more bowling alleys.
Is there anything on this list that needs to be added? Because this is the pressure that I see in my business, I see taxes going up that are — I mean, crushing, just the taxes alone are going to be crushing. Health care, crushing. Cap-and-trade, crushing. Slow down just in the business world, just the way it just as naturally happening.
You have regulation: Who you can hire, who you can fire. I don't know about anybody else, but sometimes we try to hire very, very carefully, because you know once you hire them, you ain't firing people. Is that a problem for anybody else?
How about the litigation? The workforce alone, you know, there's a lot of jobs that Americans just won't do. That pisses me off. Is anybody else trying to hire people for good jobs, and they're either not educated enough or they're lazy and they won't do it. And so, you're sitting here and saying — I mean, sometimes you'll have to hire two people because the person you hire just won't do it or you can't keep that person — you got to see it in the restaurant business a lot?
BANK: (INAUDIBLE) class program.
BECK: You had — I'm sorry. You had a what?
BANK: We started our own ESL program, English as a Second Language to just allow people to move up, just talk about, you know, people coming in entry-level positions and certain people want that job. We hire, we pay good wages, pay more than the minimum wage. And then to promote from within, we would start our own program, our own training programs inside.
Our biggest things that I think that's missing on the list that we see is credit, there's a lack of credit.
BECK: No, they have made all those loans to the banks.
BANK: Right. So the banks have it.
BANK: You know, we run a successful business. We want to open another restaurant. We could create 225 jobs if we open another restaurant.
BECK: May I ask you a question, I want to go back and then we have to take a break. I want to go back to the question on — you started an English as a Second Language program. Is there anyone here that doesn't want more legal immigrants in this country, because legal immigrants, people who work to get here and do it the right way are, a lot of times, better than the Americans who have lived here for generations and just expect it all to be handed to them? Is there anybody here that disagrees with that statement?
I mean, we're playing a game, America, and you're not hearing the — you're not hearing the truth on any of this stuff. If you're sick of the government destroying small businesses and changing fundamentally transforming this country, you're not alone. If you feel that way, sign up for my free e-mail newsletter at GlennBeck.com.
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