Let's Mock One of the Douchiest Op-Ed's You'll Read This Year

In Depth

If you ever accidentally swallow a hazardous chemical and need to immediately get it out of your body, don’t use Ipecac. Just listen to any high-ranking business executive talk for longer than five minutes.

We have a good example of one such screed courtesy of Andy Puzder, walking pile of rancid horse testicles chief executive of CKE Restaurants, Inc., the company that owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardees (wait, seriously? Hardee’s still exist somewhere?). This fine upstanding gentleman believes that a new law that forces companies to pay managers who make up to $50,000 a year for overtime is bad, because it makes his sad, rich boner all droopy. Why, he had to beat four indentured servants this morning and then light a $100 bill on fire just to re-establish his tumescence! THINK OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVES, AMERICA.

Time for me to bust out my mocking hat. It’s like a regular hat, only it emboldens me to use the word “fuck” even more than usual. Yes, I realize that’s quite a feat.

President Obama on March 13 signed an order directing the Labor Department to expand the class of employees entitled to overtime pay. Currently, if a salaried employee makes more than $24,000 a year and is part of management—if he manages the business, directs the work of other employees, and has the authority to hire and fire—that employee is exempt from overtime coverage. The president wants to raise this salary threshold, perhaps as high as $50,000, demoting entry-level managers to glorified crew members by replacing their incentive to get results with an incentive to log more hours.

Yeah, ’cause if we pay people a living wage, suddenly their motivation to not be sad, miserable louts goes right out the window. I mean, you know what those filthy poors are like; allow them to feed their families and suddenly they start loafing around. If we really wanted to help them, we’d make America even more like The Hunger Games. That seemed to me like an equitable system they had going in that movie.

At issue is a growing inequality problem in the United States. Increasingly, Americans don’t have the career opportunities most took for granted a decade ago.

I wonder why that would be. It couldn’t be because asstaco plutocrats like you fucked our economy and then dumped the bill on the rest of us. That couldn’t be it. Surely not.

Many are withdrawing from the labor force, frustrated because they’re unable to find a job and lured to depend on government rather than on themselves.

Oh, right. Oodles of people are “withdrawing” from the labor force. OK, for real talk, just so everyone realizes here: he’s saying the long-term unemployed are unemployed by choice, and that they could get jobs if only they weren’t “lured” by the siren call of government assistance.

Alright, class, raise your hands: who here has been unemployed for longer than six months at some point in the past six years? Holy shit, that’s a lot of you. Wow. Alright, at what point did you feel your sweet government renumeration crossed into allowing you to live the high life? For me, it was when the $150 I got per week (intended to cover rent, utilities, food, transportation as I looked for new jobs, EVERYTHING) led me to try to subsist on top ramen alone for a week straight. I surely felt I was movin’ on up to the East Side when that happened.

Rewarding time spent rather than time well spent won’t help address this problem. Workers who aspire to climb the management ladder strive for the opportunity to move from hourly-wage, crew-level positions to salaried management positions with performance-based incentives. What they lose in overtime pay they gain in the stature and sense of accomplishment that comes from being a salaried manager. This is hardly oppressive. To the contrary, it can be very lucrative for those willing to invest the time and energy, which explains why so many crew employees aspire to be managers.

“The stature and”…OK, now just you’re deliberately fucking with us. Have you ever even interacted with a low-level restaurant manager before? There’s no pride in being the one left holding the bag when a customer wedges themselves, Winnie the Pooh-style, into the drive-thru window of a Taco Bell. Crew members aspire to be managers because they might get promoted further than that and eventually not have to deal with all the bullshit a crew member/low-level manager has to handle.

As the chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants—the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, among other chains—for the past 13 years, I’ve seen this phenomenon in action every day.

No, you fucking haven’t, because chief executives don’t spend their goddamn days flipping burgers on the grill line at a Bakersfield Carl’s Jr., you asshole. Nor should they, they’re busy (those poor people aren’t going to tread on themselves, after all), but insisting that this is something you saw “every day” is a lie unless you have literally attained the secret of omnipresence, and if you have, you know what hand gesture I’m making at you right now.

Skipping the rest of that paragraph because he’s just keyboard-masturbating at this point.

On average, our general managers each run a $1.3 million business with 25 employees and significant contact with the public. They’re in charge of a million-dollar facility, a profit-and-loss statement and the success or failure of a business. If that business succeeds, they benefit just as the owner of a small business would.

You mean, aside from the facts that the owner of a small business a) doesn’t have to deal with asshole bosses and executives who take time to write demeaning WSJ op-ed’s, and b) takes home the profit from a successful small business? You left those out, I think.

Many businesses offer incentives for managers. Public companies may have stock options or stock-purchase programs. The idea isn’t to squeeze labor by compelling managers to perform physical tasks and work long hours without overtime pay. The idea is to encourage managers to increase their compensation and improve their lives by running profitable businesses as if they owned them—regardless of the hours or tasks required.

No, the idea is to squeeze as much labor as you possibly can out of those desperate enough to feed their families to put up with your stupid bullshit. Which, it has to be said, I don’t blame you for — that’s how a capitalist economic system works. You’re incentivized to be a huge dick, and a fair play to you for succeeding so well at it. At the same time, the government is here to try to make sure your employees don’t get too thoroughly screwed…like, say, by making sure your low-level managers get overtime pay.

Mr. Obama claimed that the individuals covered by the Labor Department change in overtime coverage would include employees who “mostly [do] physical work like stocking shelves.” This assertion is, at best, misleading.
To be exempt from overtime, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires the employee to be a “bona fide executive” whose “primary duty” is “managing” the business, according to a Labor Department fact sheet. Managing the business must be the “principal, main, major or most important duty that the employee performs.” The employee must also supervise “two or more full-time employees” and have authority to “hire or fire” employees. Stocking shelves won’t make you a manager and won’t exempt you from the law’s overtime requirements.
Managers may help their employees stock shelves or perform other “physical work” while performing their “primary duty” as a manager, which is hardly something to disdain. Each manager is entitled to decide whether to perform such tasks, just as small business owners may decide to perform nonmanagerial “physical work” to increase their profits or to show the crew that they too can perform those tasks. That’s what effective owners and managers do.

OK, for those of you who missed it when he snuck this by here, I’m going to translate this from Dishonest Business Cockgoblin into English: “just because these low-level managers get stuck doing all the shitty jobs like stocking shelves and don’t get fairly compensated for doing that in addition to their managerial duties doesn’t mean they’re employees who get crapped on by corporate or anything. Now fuck off, I have cocaine to snort off of a disadvantaged child’s iron lung.”

Perhaps this misunderstanding is what led Mr. Obama to believe that government should compel employers to pay managers hourly overtime. Unfortunately, the move would hurt the very managers he intends to help by turning them into hourly employees, depriving them of the benefits that come from moving into management. Overtime pay has to come from somewhere, most likely from reduced hours, reduced salaries or reduced bonuses. It’s easy to attack businesses when they employ these cost-cutting measures. But, unlike government, businesses must generate profits to grow.

Oh, good. Nice veiled threat of “well, then, I guess we’ll have to reduce hours for those who can least handle it.” Yeah, the general public took that approach SO well when the government mandated that maybe you think about trying to give your employees health care. Keep trying it, though; I’m sure people will buy the shit if you just keep shoveling it from place to place.

Mr. Obama did say that in pursuing the rule change the administration was “going to do this the right way” and would “consult with both workers and businesses.” Maybe he should begin the process by asking managers who make below the new threshold whether they would prefer to keep their current salaries and incentive compensation or, in exchange for this overtime “opportunity,” go back to being hourly employees without bonus potential or equity incentives. Their answer might surprise him.

I’m out of jokes at this point, so I’m just going to end this with: fuck you, you sanctimonious, self-righteous motherfucking robber baron.

Image via AP.

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