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Vote for Mitt Romney or we will raise our prices.

That is the message coming out of Papa John's Pizza today.

Papa John's CEO John Schnatter says that Obamacare will result in a $0.11 to $0.14 price increase per pizza, or $0.15 to $0.20 cents per order, Pizza Marketplace, a trade publication, reports. (Hat tip: @dkberman via Twitter.)
My thoughts after the break..

Papa John's CEO John Schnatter as we all know is a close personal friend and high profile campaign donor of one Willard M. Romney who is currently running for President, said today that his Pizza operation will be raising prices if Obamacare is allowed to go into effect.

Remember this fundraiser dinner from earlier this year?  (Sorry embedding is disabled)

Romney often offers up Schnatter as an example of a great business leader.

And find his lifestyle and pure wealth so impressive.

The two are so close I half expect Mr. Schnatter to be Romney's VP. This was without a doubt a politically driven press release. You can bet the bank Schnatter has donated the maximum allowed for an individual to the Romney campaign and there is no telling (because there is no disclosure requirements) how much Papa John's has donated to Romney's various Super PACS.

The Mitt Romney campaign is so desperate to get out from behind this story of his Tax Returns that he is resorting to Corporate Blackmail. Vote for Romney or we'll raise your prices. This is a coordinated effort expect it to be the next big narrative for the Romney camp. The article also lists several other companies (all fast food) that claim they too are going to have to raise prices. And the Papa John's Franchise owners have all been given their talking points.

“I have two options, I can stop offering coverage and pay the $2,000 fine, or I could keep my number of staff under 50 so the mandate doesn't apply,” she told Legal Newsline. Nichols added that the law may cost her between $20,000 to $30,000 extra in taxes. “Obamacare is making me think about cutting jobs instead," she said.
Read that carefully. She can stop offering the coverage she currently doesn't offer which makes no sense and be forced to pay the $2,000 fine, or she can keep her staff below 50 so the mandate doesn't apply. First off how many goddamn employees do you need at a Papa John's Franchise? 50 Seems like overkill even for a big store. But those aren't her only choices. She could do like the corporate office is doing and raise prices (Corporate Blackmail) or she could take a pay cut. In fact Mr. Billionaire John Schnatter could take a pay cut big enough to pay for healthcare for the entire company and still have enough to buy and restore a bunch of old muscle cars.

But there is more to be said on this issue.

1) There are over 20 Papa John's stores in Massachusetts. Did those 20+ stores have to raise prices when the nearly identical Romney-Care went into effect? I would be interested to find out, and I would be interested in knowing why we didn't hear a big stink about that.

2) Does Mr. Schnatter understand that if the employees buy their own health care the company doesn't have to pay for it? There is going to be a variety of affordable choices for his employees. The company could also set up a plan to withhold healthcare costs out of the employees paychecks by enrolling everyone in the state run exchanges. Employees have the right to refuse any and all offers regarding healthcare and the companies will not be held responsible for that choice so long as they can prove health insurance was offered and declined.

3) Do Papa John's and these other companies realize that this is a terrible PR move and they are opening themselves up to major competition from any Pizza Place that doesn't raise their prices? No matter what justification the company uses price hikes are always voluntary, consumers know a company like Papa John's could eat the cost but is instead passing it onto them.

Finally I find this newest twist in the long winding tale of unexpected side effects of the Citizens United case to be quite disturbing. Corporations now have the power to bundle as much money as they want, spend as much money as they want, and now they are coming together to blackmail the American people with threats of price hikes if they don't get their way.

This is like ALEC on steroids. This is political collusion. Coordinated pricing with should-be competitors, not only for the sake of profit, but political favor. By doing this they will force the political leadership they want on the American people which in the long run is far more profitable than any price fixing scheme.

New Anti-Trust laws will have to be written to stop this sort of thing if Citizens United is left standing.

Originally posted to DeanDemocrat on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 12:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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