William Alton Carter III, of Plains, Ga., is known nationally as a beer-drinking gas station owner and archetypical Good Ol' Boy. But the President's brother is also the operator of the Carter family's peanut warehouse business, and it is in the role of a Concerned Businessman that he recently appeared in the pages of the May issue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce magazine, Nation's Business. Here are some samples of the views of Billy Carter, businessman : ON THE MINIMUM WAGE
"Every time the minimum wage goes up, we have to lay off a few more people. I'd rather give these people jobs, but I have to look at costs.
"Actually, I would much prefer some kind of system where we could hire people at a lower figure and gradually raise them to the minimum wage. That way, we would have a chance to see if they can do the work, or even show up for work, before giving them a regular job.
"I'm really on the spot. Every time the minimum wage goes up, I have to raise my other employees. It's not fair to have your better employees making the same as those who don't put as much into their work.
"You know, I shouldn't be talking like this. Every time I say anything about the minimum wage, I get more hell. Especially from the unions. But I'm going to say it again. A lot of people simply aren't worth the minimum wage." ON WELFARE:
"We have a lot of trouble in this area with welfare. In Sumter County we have as many people administering welfare and related programs as there are in the rest of the county government. Five years ago we had eight people handling welfare; now there are close to 60. They raise hell if people getting welfare go to work.
"Here's a good example of what I mean. I had a man working for me - a big, strapping fellow - who had some kind of chronic leg ulcer. He went to a new doctor who told him he had to stay off the leg for a couple of weeks. They put him on welfare. At that time the work was seasonal, and he was making as much on welfare as by working. That was 15 years ago.
"I see him every once in a while walking down the street. On Saturday afternoon he's drunk and raising hell. I finally complained to the walfare people, and you know that they told me? 'Well, we check him every Thursday afternoon, and he's always there sittin in a chair with his foot propped up.' I got mad. I said, 'Damn it, if I was drawing what you're paying him. I know damned well that one afternoon a week I'd sit there and watch television with my foot propped up when you come in.'
"The trouble with the welfare program is that the more people they have on the payroll the more they hire, and the more they hire the more the director gets." ON UNEMPLOYMENT ABUSE:
"Our unemployment compensation system is so much abused. I guess we brought 50 people here from the state employment office this year when the rush season was on. I know of only one man who took a job and stayed on a few weeks. The only thing most of them want to do is come out here and get us to sign the slip showing they applied for a job. Then they go back home and continue drawing benefits. We operate 60 and 70 hours a week in the rush season, so we had the jobs if people really wanted to work.
"When unemployment was at the highest, I needed a man to run a peanut drying machine. It would have paid $250 to $300 a week. I couldn't hire a single person. They would rather draw $90 in unemployment benefits every week and pick up food stamps at the same time." ON FEDERAL REGULATION:
"I'm not going to deny that some of those OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] and EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] regulations are good. They are. But I'm talking about all the ridiculous regulations we have to put up with.
"The major complaint I have is that 90 per cent of the folks they send here to inspect us don't know anything. We have some kids right out of college who don't know a damned thing. I could tell them this [pointing to his bookcase] is a peanut sheller, and they wouldn't know the difference. The trouble is that they don't educate these inspectors before they send them out.
"All of the employees working around the gin had to wear earplugs [as a result of one OSHA directive involving a cottin gin in the Carter warehouse]. So I had to do the ginning. You see, as the owner, there was no way I could be made to wear earplugs. There are about 80 electric motors on a cotton gin, and the only way you can tell when there is a problem is to hear it. You can't convince OSHA about things like that.
"I had to put in an expensive wall across the whole now shelling plant to cut down the noise. That wall is completely worthless for anything else.
"Now they're after me to put a couch in the women's washroom in case someone gets sick. Hell, I don't have room to put in any couches. So I told 'em to go to hell, and I haven't done it yet." ON FILLING OUT FORMS:
"Some of these quarterly, semi-annual and annual reports are a three and four-day job. Some are almost impossible to fill out. I had some forms that had to be filled out by the 15th of the month, so for five days before the 15th we didn't do a thing but government paperwork.
"Take these crop reports and the agricultural census. A lot of them have to do with my finances. I don't like that information going through 40 government hands. Me, I'm kind of peculiar. I have six or seven bank accounts because I don't like everybody to know how much money I have in the bank.
"When they do these agricultural censuses, you can almost say the hell with everything else for almost a month because it's going to tie you up that long. I have to help the farmers who deal with us. The only place they can get the information to fill out their own census forms is right here. So we have to go through all our back records to satisfy the government. And you can't get out of it because it's required by law."