Monday, November 28, 2011
Posted by THE CHRIST JAMES at 2:38 PM
“The message that I tried to put in there is that I cannot afford it,” Looman told ABC News. “I just cannot afford to hire anybody right now.” Looman, whose company operates cranes at construction sites, said he has had to lay off three of his nine employees because of the bad economy. He said overregulation and the cost of complying with federal mandates has caused many of his customers to shut their doors.
“The buck stops [at Obama],” he said. “He is the leader of this nation and he needs to assume that postion and understand it is his fault, ultimately.” Although the signs went up about six months ago, photos of the “new company policy” went viral on the internet Monday, WXIA-TV first reported. “I didn’t intend for it to get to this level,” Looman said. “Maybe it will put a new perspective on what’s happening out here to middle America.”
The reaction – partially positive but mostly negative – was so overwhelming that Looman said he had to temporarily shut down his website and disconnect his phone lines. “Verbally there were a lot of threats,” he said. ”People were running my technicians off the road. They were focused on trying to make that message something more than it was.”
“To all my liberal friends … thank you for the two new customers that came on board today because you idiots are attacking me,” Looman wrote. “One new customer states … ’You got nerve, so you got my business.’ I may have to hire after all.” While the barrage of criticism did not hit until this week, the backlash began shortly after the photos were first posted. Looman said he got an unexpected visit from the Secret Service after someone reported to the FBI that he was a possible threat to national security. “They gave me the typical interview to see if I was a threat,” Looman said. “We actually had a good meeting and when they left, they were under the impression that they wasted their time.”
With unemployment still stuck at around 9 percent, where it has been for more than two years, U.S. Crane LLC is not the only business that feels the drag of a sluggishly recovering economy. The GDP grew a mere 2 percent over the past quarter, even less than the 2.5 percent growth than the Bureau of Economic Analysis had originally estimated.