By Bill Holtzman
President Obama talks a lot these days about fairness. But while his rhetoric is about treating people and businesses equally, his policies regularly pick winners and losers, favoring some businesses over others. President Obama's cronyism is based on political expediency, not the worthiness of a business. We've seen the result in Solyndra, where more than $500 million dollars of taxpayer money was squandered by one of President Obama's political supporters.
As a business owner, I've personally experienced President Obama's cronyism. I own seven Burger Kings. One of my main competitors is McDonald's. The competition between our two businesses is what our country is all about. But recently President Obama decided to put his finger on the scale. He granted a waiver from Obamacare to McDonald's, saving that company millions in business-crushing extra costs. No such waiver was extended to Burger King. It's unclear how President Obama's notion of fairness fits into this decision. Maybe Barack Obama prefers the Big Mac to the Whopper.
It may or may not be an isolated incident, but it's certainly an example of how President Obama's policies have hurt businesses here in Virginia and around the country. Most businesses operate on a narrow margin. The vast majority of our profits are poured back into our businesses to cover our payroll and our expenses. When those expenses rise, it makes it harder to hire new employees and harder to keep the ones we have. That's the hidden cost of things like President Obama's failed energy policy.
Here in Virginia, we have felt the impact of President Obama and his EPA's war on American energy. We've seen power plants forced to cut back capacity even as the demand for energy is on the rise, and current estimates indicate that the EPA's anti-coal regulations could drive up the price of electricity by 15 percent. Already, Appalachia Power is asking for a 7 percent increase to cover tougher environmental regulations.
Meanwhile, plans to build new plants that would have employed hundreds of workers and provided cheap and reliable power have been scrapped, putting our future energy security in jeopardy. The EPA's overreach has gotten so bad that even Democrats like Jim Webb and Phillip Puckett have warned that thousands of jobs are in jeopardy because of the agency's actions.
Perhaps even worse than the EPA's approach to coal has been President Obama's stonewalling on our nation's oil resources. When he was a candidate, Barack Obama promised to pursue an all-of-the-above approach to energy. We in Virginia have seen that promise broken, first hand.
Off our coast sits an untold wealth of untapped oil reserves. Exploring those reserves would create thousands of new jobs and add billions of dollars of revenue to our state. And yet, despite bipartisan support, President Obama has refused to act. Instead, he has imposed a de facto seven year moratorium on any exploration. Meanwhile, our country remains hostage to ever changing energy prices and events in the perpetually unstable Middle East. That is not leadership, and it is not what President Obama promised us.
Four years ago, the people of Virginia gave President Obama our support. But that support was premised on the idea that he would keep his promises to us on things like energy and cronyism. Four years later, he's making more promises, but we now know the measure of the president. It's time for real change. Gov. Romney offers to lead where President Obama has not. He has a vision of lower taxes, less regulation, less debt and more American energy production and development. We need that vision now. We can't afford four more years of the alternative.
Bill Holtzman is president and owner of the Holtzman Corporation. Holtzman Oil Corp. is a Chevron, BP, Exxon, Texaco, and Liberty supplier in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia, and is one of the largest employers in Shenandoah County, Virginia. Holtzman Corp. also has its own food division, Little Apple Corporation, that operates Burger King and Denny's restaurants, convenience store Blimpie restaurants and Godfather's Pizza restaurants.