Tami Hurley stood beside Union Mill Road waving a sign in the hot mid-summer sun Saturday afternoon, awaiting President Obama’s arrival at Centreville High School. She was not alone. The Fairfax County businesswoman was one of more than 200 protesters who responded to the announcement of an “emergency rally” sent out by the Northern Virginia Tea Party. On her American flag T-shirt, Hurley displayed a pin that concisely summarized her situation in the Obama era: “Officially Screwed: Small Business Owner.” She explained that her family runs a heating and air-conditioning business that employs 14 people, a business that the Democrat’s administration seems determined to destroy.
“They’re going to increase all of our prices,” Hurley said, explaining that regulations enacted recently by the Environmental Protection Agency mandated a 40 percent decrease in the manufacture of R22, a refrigerant commonly used in air-conditioning systems. “Our price doubled in January, and we have to pass that along to our customers.”
The EPA’s mandate is part of Obama’s environmental agenda, enforcing an international anti-global-warming treaty called the Montreal Protocol. Hurley sees the president pushing a different sort of “climate change,” creating a climate that is hostile to free enterprise. “Obamacare is going to really hurt us, as well,” Hurley said, expressing a widespread concern among small business owners that the president’s health care program will impose costly mandates, decrease the quality of treatment, and require massive new taxes to fund it.
You might ask yourself why President Obama is so hostile to small business, but the answer is easy. Obama — and the rest of the progressive left — hate small business for the same reason Caligula wished that all of Rome had just one neck. Big business is easier to squeeze, and easier to get in bed with, too. It’s the mom & pop shops you can’t push around, because they come and go too quickly — and because there’s not enough juice to squeeze out.
Speaking of juice, there was an Arcata Eye story from years back which I’ll never forget. It’s not online anymore, but the rotund mockumentary filmmaker was visiting my old stomping grounds in Humboldt County, CA, and he was annoyed that he couldn’t find a Jamba Juice. He complained — to the press, mind you — that Jamba was a big corporation, but these little local shops were probably owned by Republicans who were members of the Kiwanis.
Reading the story, you could practically see the angry spittle hit your screen.
There’s nothing a big, established played likes less than free markets, which allow just any old nobody to compete with them, toe to toe. And there’s nothing they like more than some market-stifling laws, requirements and regulations.
And if the consumer has to pay higher prices or buy inferior products? Well, that’s just their tough luck.