This past week, President Obama raised some eyebrows when he told an audience in Roanoke, Virginia that small business owners did not get where they are by themselves, suggesting that they owe their success to the federal government.
He has often loathed the private sector, but this one hit home to the millions of small business owners; including myself. Well Mr. President, as a man you have no experience in meeting a payroll (us small business owners can't just borrow from China), nor have you ever invested his money, time and sweat to take on the risk that we, as small business owners took.
Let me preface this by stating that I have been in business for 24 years. I started out part-time in 1988 while working at a manufacturing plant in Milwaukee. In the late 1980s manufacturing was declining and to keep an income during periodic lay-offs, I started a lawn care business. In 1999, I was let go as my position was eliminated. I took my severance and retirement, and decided to incorporate and go full time. At age 35, with a mortgage and four kids, this was a huge leap of faith. I found out the hard way that the federal government wasn't my friend. The first winter came along and I didn't have any business, so I went for the only time in my life to collect unemployment. As a small business owner, I was not entitled to unemployment benefits, even though I paid the same for myself as I did for my employees to the state for unemployment insurance.
I found out that I paid not only my portion for Social Security and Medicare, but the employer’s portion as well, but I can only collect it when I retire on the employee's portion. As I grew the business, I started hiring. I paid my employees an above average wage compared to other local companies and have a decent benefit package for them. I pay their Worker's Compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, more than half their Social Security and Medicare and any licenses they need to perform their jobs. I pay taxes on my salary, pay taxes on my profits and pay taxes on my investments. I buy my equipment on credit as well as my supplies. I pay 43 cents in fuel taxes, with fuel being my second greatest expense. I pay property tax and now the President wants to tax me when I die and pass the business over to my children. Taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes...Mr. President, my industry is highly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Natural Resources, OSHA, and the Department of Labor -- not to mention the state local regulations including Department of Financial Institutions and Workforce Development, and so on and so forth.
From where I stand Mr. President, I pay a disproportion of taxes where I don't feel the federal government deserves my thanks. More so, under your presidency, you want more from me personally and through my corporation. You see Mr. President, I don't claim to be smarter or work harder than most. I don't want a pat on my back for taking the risk for myself and to employ others. But I don't want to be punished for my success (or rewarded for failures like GM, Chrysler and the host of banks and mortgage lenders). Yes, I have had teacher to thank, but they didn't take the risk I did. And others who had the same teachers did not fare so well. But I can guaranty that the federal government did nothing but put up road blocks to my success. So much so that I have had to cut staff. I’m not a billionaire or millionaire, but solid middle class. Some years, some of my employees make more than I do. I thought this was the American dream, but under your leadership, it's becoming more of a nightmare. Mr. President, you need people like me more than I need people like you.
Your socialistic approach has been tried elsewhere and has failed miserably. You need someone to hire the unemployed, and with your attitude and approach, we are waiting to see what happens in November. We already know what to expect from you and it doesn't bode well for us. We are responsible for 4 out of every five jobs out there. So yes Mr. President, you may have the federal government for your employment and success, but we don't. It’s time to stop the class warfare and the political threats. Together, we can turn this around, but not until we call you Former President Obama.