As an entrepreneur and small businessman, it is not everyday that I feel impelled to pontificate on matters political. But, then again, it is not everyday that I am insulted and offended by the President as I recently was when he said that I had no right to feel proud of my accomplishments as it was Him and His Government that should get the credit for anything that I might have done in the business world.
It's not everyday that business people get slapped in the face by such a high-standing civil authority. Usually, it is on a much lower level, petty bureaucrats exercising their powers over our businesses in a high-handed and majestical way that apparently lends deep psychological rewards to their fragile egos.
Normally, we expect the supposed masters of the bureaucrats to extol the virtuous and condemn the evil-doers. Having diligently struggled for decades to build a business from scratch, working up to 100 hours/week, putting all my own net worth at total risk should I fail and, sacrificing family and personal concerns to have the privilege, I thought I was kinda, maybe just a little on the side of the virtuous. After all, I wasn't on the dole, government (through my neighbours taxes) wasn't supporting me, I was paying LOTS of taxes myself, not a taker from the system but a giver into it, patriotic in thought and deed, I thought I was leading the kind of life that at least sort of was...well, American.
Turns out I was wrong. It wasn't due to my work and effort that I succeeded to whatever extent that I have. It is due to Government says Obama. Why, because Government built the internet, built the roads, built all the infrastructure that was required for my business to succeed.
So, I got to thinking...sure Government built the infrastructure but how did they do that? They did it on the backs of the entrepreneurs/small businessmen that came before! They paid the taxes to build all that infrastructure just like I'm paying the taxes to build tomorrow's infrastructure now! In fact, the more I thought about it the more offended I became. For while he tried to steal the credit for what we did, he should have instead been taking the blame for what he did. By that I mean, whatever success I have had in business has absolutely and 100% been in spite of government and every hurdle that they have thrown in my way.
A few years ago I computed how much of the profits that our companies have generated that I got to keep. Since every dollar in taxes starts as a dollar of profit, I figured out all the taxes we had paid corporately and personally. This included income taxes, social security taxes, sales & use taxes, franchise taxes, real estate taxes, license fees, etc. etc. I was stunned that we had paid a whopping 96% of all the profits we had generated to various governmental entities in taxes, keeping a miserable 4% for reinvestment in the business and as a reward for my work.
Come to think of it, Obama is probably right, I'm not so smart after all, I must be pretty dumb, to do all that I have done for such a pittance while willingly turning over such a vast portion to my masters.
And it has not only been the tax burden that successful entrepreneurs have to overcome, it is the regulatory ones as well. We have been forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars on equipment and machinery that was totally unnecessary and has went unused for almost two decades merely because the Ruling Elites knew better than us what was good for us. We've been forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in compliance costs to just make sure that we haven't missed jumping through one hoop or another of the over 13,000 pages of rules and regulations that we are supposed to obey, and on and on.
I won't even get into the arena of litigation where the government has totally abdicated its responsibility to establish a just and level playing field somewhat in line with common sense. Instead, the financial, legal and time costs and constraints of the current legal environment have been astronomical and, in any attempt at understanding them, bordering on the lunatic fringe of rationality.
So, after being overly-taxed, overly-regulated and overly-litigated, I would put the shoe on the other foot and say that whatever success small business has in present day America is in spite of government and, government ought to be consequently condemned and not think itself so smart.
In fact, government, time and time again, intervenes in areas where it thinks it has expertise, only to find that there are unintended consequences to its well-intentioned but usually bungled attempts to "make things better". For example, in our industry, government recently enacted tax credits for our product, insulation. This created a huge brief but, unsustainable balloon in demand, which predictably resulted in inflated costs causing consumers to pay much more than normal, quick market entry and exit by "get-rich-quick" characters and a subsequent burst in markets that now threatens remaining industry players. But, somehow, government is still allowed to consider itself "so smart" because they are never threatened with accountable as we are in the marketplace.
But, could I please just ask one little thing of you, oh, Great Government-Obama? Since you have taken away the slight psychic rewards I had of feeling that I was at least a little bit on the side of the good guys, you've taken away the good feelings I had about giving back 96% of what I created to others through my taxes, you've taken away my pride at working hard and accomplishing something, you've reminded me that you, oh, Great Government-Obama, did it instead of me, recognizing all this, would you mind at least sending me my taxes back? Surely you didn't need them, as you were the responsible party for what has been accomplished. I can't imagine that an Omnipotent entity such as yourself would NEED my puny little sums and it would make up for the feelings of idiocy I now feel after spending most of my life struggling on a fools errand. No? What's that I hear? I haven't paid enough, you say? It's not fair that I haven't paid my fair share? What! Half of Americans aren't paying any income taxes and they shouldn't have to suffer because I'm not paying my fair share...?
Entrepreneur and small businessman
Where now is your king,