Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Sentiments - Exactly!

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To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job.

What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country. Of course, as your employer, I am forbidden to tell you whom to vote for - it is against the law to discriminate based on political affiliation, race, creed, religion, etc.

Please vote for who you think will serve your interests the best. However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interest. First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story.

This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You saw my big home at last year’s Christmas party. I'm sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life. However, what you don't see is the back story.

I started this company 12 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living space was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -- hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's.

My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business --- with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9 am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5 pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, ****, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to me like a 1 day old baby.

You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... You never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made. Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail out all the people who didn't.

The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for. Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200 ,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?

Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country. The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy. Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget i t now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the mud of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine.

Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep. So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem anymore. Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire.

You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

While tax cuts to 95% of America sounds great on paper, don't forget the back story: If there is no job, there is no income to tax. A tax cut on zero dollars is zero. So, when you make decision to vote, ask yourself, who understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of saving your job. While the media wants to tell you "It's the economy Stupid" I'm telling you it isn't.

If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the Constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me in the South Caribbean sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Signed, Your boss,

Michael A. Crowley, PE

Crowley, Crisp & Associates, Inc.

Professional Engineers

1906 South Main Street, Suite 122

Wake Forest, NC 27587


Anonymous said...

Well, that's a very nice story and it sounds like we should be very sympathetic to this small business owner. The problem is, how many of these owners actually will put that "$288,000" back into the business? I'd say very, very few. It will most likely end up in the owner's pocket so he can buy a fancier Mercedes. However, I do agree with the author that hard work and good education should be justly rewarded. But not obscenely so like a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet. And there should be disincentives to support irresponsible behavior by single mothers and able bodied people who do not want to work. But that's not the issue here. Why are hugh multi-national companies not paying their fair share of taxes while most of the burden falls on the middle class and small business owners? Obscene wealth, whether individual or corporate, should be taxed at a much higher rate so that the small business owner can hire and expand his business as he or she sees fit.

Boruch said...

Taxation will not redistribute wealth. This has been proven in Europe, parts of the US and any other place where tariffs and taxes are used. Obscene wealth or obscene behavior, which is really at the crux of your argument. Why should Warren Buffet live like a monk? Buffet earned his living and that's what the author is saying, he's not taking an altruistic high road. There are gains and losses to running a business and the losses get compensated for as tax writeoffs. The risks of doing business get balanced out. When you don't keep the balance, the business owner will walk away. Taxation is an artificial, not natural market adjustment. It's good for providing communal services, but not for business.

Anonymous said...

My husband who is also an engineer who went into his own business. Our children grew up in our office and we lived out of Goodwill so that we could invest every penny we earned back into our business.

We worked hard, we employed several people and finally we bought a modest house in a frum neighborhood.

Then my husband had a stroke at age 31. Being self employed, we had no disability insurance. We also found that we could no longer afford to buy health insurance for our family due to my husband's pre-existing condition.

My husband could not get the rehabilitative care that the doctors recommended because our health insurance would not cover it.

We lost our house and our families could not help us because they are also struggling middle class people despite being college educated professionals.

In the end, my husband had to go to Israel, a socialist country in order to get the medical care that enabled him to eventually go back to work and to support our family again.

If it were not for that socialist country and the free medical care, I would have had no choice but to put my husband in a nursing home because I could not care for him at home in the condition he was in.

It has been 17 years since my husband's stroke. His rehabilitation under the supervision of the Israeli doctors took four years. We never recovered financially because it took us 10 years to pay off all of the debts we accumulated during my husband's disability but at least we are financially solvent enough again to be able to rejoin the struggling middle class in this country.

We cannot switch health insurance policies due to the pre-existing condition. We still do not have disability coverage.

Accessible health care benefits all Americans. Paying $14k for a health insurance policy that does not cover a good deal of what you need is not "less taxation". It is barbaric.

Anonymous said...

This is disgusting talk radio propaganda I expect the hear from an ignorant redneck. Taxes haven't been this low since 1960. I was fascinated by your blog until I read this. Now I question the truth of everything else you have posted. Pity the poor millionaire!
I won't be back.