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Dennis W. Johnson, Published October 17 2010

ND small businesses need Berg

I am writing to endorse Rick Berg for the U.S. House of Representatives. As a businessperson with 36 years of experience, I have never been more concerned about the state and future of our nation’s economy and the economic policies of the current administration and Congress.

TMI Corp. manufactures products for the national construction markets. Nationally, construction is experiencing a depression, having declined about 40 percent from its 2006 peak. During the past three years, TMI’s sales, profitability and employment have declined significantly due to the depressed economy. Construction markets nationally are expected to experience little economic rebound, if any.

TMI self-insures for the medical benefits it provides its employees. Our plan is administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota with TMI acting as its own insurance company. BCBSND has informed us that due to recent health care reform and health care inflation, TMI should expect about a 21 percent increase in its 2011 health care costs. These increased costs are in addition to the burden of a depressed construction market, the threat of higher business taxes, increased federal regulations and a tepid economic recovery.

I am reminded of one of Aesop’s Fables that many of us learned as children, “The Goose with the Golden Eggs.” There was a goose that every morning laid a golden egg, which its owner sold and became rich. The owner became impatient and killed the goose, expecting to find more gold in the goose. He found no more gold, and by killing the goose, the source of his wealth was gone. The moral of the story is: Take good care of the goose.

The current administration and Congress, through their actions and policies, appear to be more concerned about who gets the golden eggs than they are about the health of the goose that creates the golden eggs. Our nation needs small businesses that are not overly burdened with excessive health care costs, government regulations and a national debt that is exploding. Our nation needs businesses that are cost-competitive in the global economy.

Under this administration and Congress, we will have fewer geese and fewer golden eggs to share. We need to change Congress. That is why I am supporting Berg.

Johnson is chairman and CEO of TMI Corp., Dickinson, N.D.