I'm the co-owner of a multimillion dollar company. Our business is primarily roofing, and we're located in South Florida. One of the most important parts of our organization is our 40-person marketing department, which does telemarketing. This department is a model, not just for our company, but for American business as a whole.
In addition to being highly productive, our marketing department features what I feel are some of the best aspects of American business.
The department is, in fact, the very definition of diversity. Nobody at Invincible Roofing is hired specifically to promote diversity, but we've achieved it anyway. We have full-timers and part-timers, whites, Hispanics, African-Americans, and many shades in between. I guess we have all types of religions, but we don't ask. I also suppose we have different sexual orientations, but that is none of our business. We have some telemarketing employees who are physically handicapped, and some who have suffered from mental illnesses.
Our telemarketing department is also known as a place where people can turn their lives around from drug addiction and crime, holding down a job so that they might become productive, tax-paying citizens. I take personal pride in the fact that many people who started in our entry-level marketing positions have been promoted in our company to a variety of other jobs, including our senior vice president who now has a six-digit income, a new Mercedes, and a home of his own.
This is the American way at its best, providing opportunities to people and letting them advance as far as their skills and ambition can take them. Unfortunately, we may now have to lay off many of these people.
Well-meaning people who want to "Protect the sanctity of the dinner hour" have taken steps that involve spending millions of our tax dollars to severely restrict telemarketing calls 24 hours a day. That's a long time to eat dinner.
Effects of new regulations
There are many ironies in this. First, if all the government wanted to do was "Protect the sanctity of the dinner hour," it could have simply prohibited any commercial telephone calls from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day. This would be cheap and easy to enforce, without the necessity of maintaining and distributing an expensive do-not-call list.
Second is the irony of taking some of the tax dollars from our marketing employees and using these funds to put them out of work.
On a national basis, this action could take as many as 3 million to 10 million people off the taxpayer rolls and put them on the unemployment line or welfare rolls.
This number includes all the unemployed telemarketers and the many employees of the businesses they patronize, from the delis and fast-food restaurants to the cleaners, theaters, car dealers, computer companies, and the like. Some of these businesses will survive by reducing their own payrolls. Others will go out of business.
Another result of this regulation is that another few million entry-level jobs in America will be lost. We already have exported most of our high-paying manufacturing jobs abroad, and most other businesses don't have entry-level jobs with a future. Where will these people go?
I'd like to respond to that question, but I have to answer the doorbell again. It's probably someone who wants to see if my air conditioner needs repair. The people soliciting for the newspaper left 20 minutes ago. --Brian Stover is the founding partner of Invincible Associates, Largo, Fla., one of the country's largest roofing & replacement window contractors.