Gay Rights, The Affordable Care Act and This Bald Eagle

11390065_1620299788225300_8909913669019005123_nThis latest meme (left) from Obama supporters is special… I say congrats to the classless Obama supporters.

Gay rights? It was happening state by state to its logical conclusion anyway. Meh… No need for the heavy hand of the SCOTUS. Personally. I’m going to miss the parades.

Those applauding our SCOTUS and the POTUS, obviously don’t run a small business or care about what’s really going down.

There are more families today in poverty than when Obama took office 7 years ago (5.5 Million more). This despite more jobs. Obviously more jobs means LOWER paying jobs.

The federal debt owed to the public has more than DOUBLED under Obama, rising by 103 percent. Nothing to gloat about.

You can high-five the employment numbers all you want, but the costs are high. I fear, for my children’s future, which is Greece. There are more people insured under Obamacare, but the cost is high. Most are subsidized or on Medicaid and the costs are unsustainable. Who gets hurt, small business and the middle class.

A case in point… we have 42 employees. We pay 100% of our employees health and dental benefits. Since the ACA was enacted, despite submitting to higher deductibles every year, our premiums have risen over 30%, 12 1/2 percent this year alone. Consider the competition is going from five major carriers to three, the future is not bright for small business healthcare cost. Just the facts.

I’d say this bald eagle is more a symbol of an endangered species, small business, rather than a symbol of America’s greatness. High fives all around to the Obama supporters!

Why I hit the Lottery…

Lottery-winner_parking_spots_at_the_Atlantic_Lottery_Corporation_(2009)I’ve hit the lottery (see below), but not for the reasons to which our President and his heir apparent, Hillary Clinton espouses. I’m a small business owner. I started a business 27 years ago and we’re still here. According to the president, it must be dumb luck!

The president thinks hard working people who make a lot of money have won the lottery. Obama says, “If we can’t ask for society’s lottery winners for that modest contribution, then really this conversation is all for show,” he told the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit.

This latest on successful businesses, coupled with Obama’s well worn rhetoric, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” referring to private businesses being dependent of big government is daunting to hard working small business owners, to say the least.

Why I hit the Lottery…

I want to get up in the morning.

I have a spouse and family whom I love and they love me.

Through hard work and healthy living we are well and we want for nothing.

I am a Christian, There is a God. I have my faith.

I’m living free, in the greatest country in the world, the United States of America.

I find great joy in giving generously, to charities and other great causes.

I’m proud of my accomplishments. Like most small business owners, I create and grow good paying jobs.

I believe in the human spirit and American exceptionalism. Despite many setbacks over time, there have been more wins.

I believe most people are inherently good.

Job creators, entrepreneurs, and business owners who are successful should not be demeaned by our President. He implicitly associates success with the cause for income inequality and racism.

In a Forbes article as a point of reference, it says small, entrepreneurial firms account for two-thirds of the job creation in the economy. Venture-backed firms contribute 11% of U.S. private sector jobs and 21% of GDP, and high-tech firms are a mainstay of U.S. exports.

As a taxpayer, I’d be much more receptive to Obama’s argument if there wasn’t so much wasteful spending, abuse of power, and inequity in big government. Pick your department. Start with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Government Logic

Who's on First?

Who’s on First?

Email “Understanding unemployment” Author Unknown

COSTELLO: I  want to talk about the unemployment rate in America

ABBOTT: Good Subject.  Terrible Times. It’s 7.8%.

COSTELLO:  That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No,  that’s 14.7%.

COSTELLO: You just said 7.8%.

ABBOTT:  7.8% Unemployed.

COSTELLO:  Right 7.8% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 14.7%.

COSTELLO:  Okay, so it’s 14.7% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 7.8%.

COSTELLO:  WAIT A MINUTE.  Is it 7.8% or 14.7%?

ABBOTT: 7.8%  are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If  you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No,  Congress said you can’t count the “Out of  Work” as the unemployed.  You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!

ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO:   What point?

ABBOTT:  Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT:  Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment  just goes down because you don’t look for work?

ABBOTT:   Absolutely it goes down. That’s how it gets to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%.

COSTELLO:  Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO:   Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT:   Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if  you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT:  Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for  work.

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like an economist.

COSTELLO: I  don’t even know what the hell I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like a politician.

Why in the World Would You Build a Small Business!?

Small business owners

Small business owners

The ideacapitalist interviews… the ideacapitalist, family guy, entrepreneur and small business owner.

How did you become a small business owner, and why?

The simplest answer would be, no one would hire me.  My first job out of school was working for my dad.  Nine months later, my dad fired me.  I knew it was coming.  My dad ran the business out of the house.  That morning my mom had made me my favorite breakfast, blueberry pancakes. 

Thereafter, I have had successful stints with large and mid-size companies, but there’s only so much a person will do for money.  I had reached my limit.

What do you love the most about running a small business?

Gainfully employing good people.  Growing the business.  Being more innovative and responsive than our larger competitors and winning.

What does owning a business allow you to do that most folks do not get to enjoy?

This question has the potential to be long on clichés, but the right answer is that I never have to think twice about getting out of bed in the morning.

What is your biggest challenge right now and how are you dealing with it?

Ok, now it’s time for a clichés.  My favorite expression is from Alan Kay, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” In the software development (technology) business we are reminded of this expression daily.  We have to constantly reinvent ourselves.

What has been your proudest moment as a small business owner?

I’m going to equate pride with reward and say my most rewarding moment was when an employee, I held in high regard, walked into my office, and stuck out his hand.  We shook hands and I asked him, “What is this all about?”  He said, “You promised me within five years, I would be making “x-amount” of dollars per year and I am.  Thanks.” 

My proudest moment was March 7, 2013 when we celebrated 25 years in business.

What have you not yet achieved that you would like to?

I’m not a “bucket list” kind of guy.  Certainly I have revenue goals and long-term objectives for the business.  Call it 20/20, annual twenty (20) percent growth in both revenue and profit.  The real challenge is balancing the physical challenges with the mental challenges.  Next year, I’m looking forward to both cross-country skiing and cycling around Crater Lake.

What is the best part of your day?

Getting out on my bike for an hour or two in the middle of a work day, and not getting run over.

What do you read?

I’m reading an amazing, gut-wrenching, inspirational story of personal struggle and entrepreneurship titled Born to Rise: A Story of Children and Teachers Reaching Their Highest Potential by Deborah Kenney

What has been your biggest mistake and how did you learn from it?

I’ve made many. I’m going to make many more.  My biggest mistake would be not to learn from them. 

Alien Nation a.k.a., The Obamacare Nation

Alien, the movie was all about spreading spores and breeding aliens to prey on mankind, should the spores reach our planet.  Obamacare and its spores are already here.  Come 2014 the invasion will begin in earnest.

In Alien, Sigourney Weaver is the much larger than life heroine who thwarts the Alien invasion, at least until Aliens…  Who can stop Obamacare?  Maybe Pam Bondi, our larger than life Attorneys General for the State of Florida and the case she and attorneys generals in 26 other states have filed against Obamacare with the U.S. Supreme Court?

I’m just a small business owner.  My concerns as a small business person and employer need to be amplified on a scale much bigger than fiction.  We’ve already been invaded.  The spores of Obamacare have already been planted. Officially, Obamacare is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Senate passed it on December 24, 2009.

Beginning in 2014, when Obamacare explodes on to the scene, small business as we know it will cease to exist.  In its place will be big government running a significant portion of small business, literally.

The heroine (or hero) in the real life movie Obamacare is the entrepreneur, the small business owner.  The enemy is SHOP, the Small Business Health Options Plan.  Big government is betting small business owners don’t have the time or the energy to sit through the movie, but as right-brained as many entrepreneurs can be, myself included, navigating SHOP is a must see.

The entrepreneurial spirit will be crushed by the most egregious of government actions since the payroll tax increase in April, 1983 which was cause and effect, the catalyst for U.S. manufacturers investing in jobs overseas.  There will be nothing to prevent another government subsidy, Obamacare, to balloon out of control, as have Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid and chase more jobs overseas.  To illustrate, below is a paragraph from HHS regarding Obamacare and the SHOP program.

“Consistent with the scope of the Exchange establishment and eligibility proposed rules, this final rule does not address all of the Exchange provisions in the Affordable Care Act; rather, more details will be provided in forthcoming guidance and future rule making, where appropriate.”
 

From what I have read in the 644 page document, Final Rule State Healthcare Exchanges, from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), how the final rules address small business, capitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit and the heroine in this movie may die.

Let’s look at the subplot, lawyers and paperwork. It takes a lawyer to spawn a comment like this, “The final rule does not address all of the insurance exchange provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and additional rules will address those, according to the rule.”

Great ambiguity, but true!  There’s plenty of room for HHS to make up more rules and regulations under the auspices of Obamacare.

Obamacare is a lawyer’s dream!  In a country and a society as litigious as the USA and a law this broad, full of waivers (prejudices), exceptions and rules yet undefined; wasn’t instituting this law insanely àpropo?!  In 2014 and beyond, the justice system will be brought to its knees.  No.  It has already been brought to its knees.  It will be buried!  So will many small businesses be buried, who can’t afford a good lawyer; who can’t afford the paperwork explosion.

HHS says one form.  SHOP says only two forms, but if you read between the lines you know the paperwork will border on the ridiculous.  Hello!, fellow small business owners…think annual Worker’s Comp. audits!  Worker’s Comp. audits will be nothing compared to HHS audits sure to follow.

Here’s a snippet.  Keep in mind this is one paragraph of a 664 page document to mandate a final rule on SHOP!

“Consistent with the statutory directive for HHS to provide a single, streamlined application form, we also proposed that the SHOP use only two application forms: one for qualified employers and one for qualified employees. We further proposed that for the purpose of determining eligibility in the SHOP, the SHOP may use the information attested to by the employer or employee on the application but must, at a minimum, verify that an individual attempting to enter the SHOP as an employee is listed on the qualified employer’s roster of employees to whom coverage is offered. We also proposed that the SHOP have processes to resolve occasions when the SHOP has a reason to doubt the information provided through the employer and employee applications. In addition, similar to the individual market Exchange standards, we proposed that the SHOP notify an employer or employee seeking coverage of the SHOP’s eligibility determination and the employer or employee’s right to appeal.

The final ruling on SHOP brings more questions than answers.

Bigger government, more regulation, new laws, especially the behemoth of all laws, Obamacare, create entirely new industries. Obamacare will undoubtedly create another cottage industry, like Dodd-Frank did for compliance and regulation, but Obamacare will create a tsunami of new so called experts spawned to aid small cash strapped businesses navigate Obamacare. Essentially they are government created jobs and all at taxpayers’ expense.

Many businesses are started by sole proprietors. Sole proprietors are excluded from SHOP. Sole proprietors pay the same tax rate as LLCs and Sub-S Corps. Don’t sole proprietors often spawn small businesses?

What if an employee can find a better plan by shopping the individual market and he or she wants to opt out of a company’s group plan?

Once invited to participate in SHOP can an employee still “SHOP” for their own individual insurance plan.  If the employer is getting a less competitive price due to lack of participation, how does that affect the employer’s plan and administration?

Regardless of the “one bill for all” concept which most small businesses already enjoy, if you have 10, 20 or 50 employees, you may have to track different deductibles for each employee.

Will HHS and SHOP pit employers and employees against one another; against insurers?

Will SHOP leave one employer at a competitive disadvantage with other employers based on participation and economy of scale?

On the other hand, if insurance companies have to give individual employees the same price as employers, which according to SHOP is the rule, the price goes up for employers.  Don’t the private insurers win?

What if you have employees in different geographical areas?  What if  they are eligible for different, more competitive SHOPs?

Certainly there will be more questions.

Today the private health insurance company is on the hook for the employer’s unpaid bills, not the government.  With the government on the hook for unpaid health insurance premiums at least with SHOP, the winner is the insurer.  The loser is the taxpayer.

The Aliens have landed, their spores have been planted and come 2014 there will be no stopping them.  In the role of big government, Obamacare rules. 

I can save you some time.  All I’ve learned about the details of how the exchanges are going to work is summarized above.  To learn more HHS or your state government will have to set up SHOP.

As for the spread of big government, here’s a glimpse of the future (another excerpt).

“SHOP may want to fulfill additional functions outside the scope of the proposed rule in order to offer employers a streamlined experience when managing their employee benefits. These commenters proposed that the SHOP sell other types of insurance, administer COBRA on behalf of participating employers, administer flexible spending accounts, assist small employers in setting up Section 125 plans, and oversee wellness programs.”  “We will take these comments into account as we consider future guidance on the offering of other products on the Exchange.”

Stay tuned!

Yes We Did! We Built From the Ground Up (Mr. President)!

The oldest living Live Oak in Pinellas County

What does “shovel ready” really mean to a small business owner?  It means building a business from the ground up!

Are you sick of this class warfare?!  Do we want to elect a President that knows more about how to spend OP’s money or one who knows how to cut spending and increase revenues?

Memo to the President: I started my own business over 24 years ago and I built it from the ground up.  My business has gone from a one man band to well… suffice it to say,  we have increased full-time employment (FTEs)  significantly, private sector jobs and without government assistance.

As a community organizer, President Obama certainly can appreciate the value of a grassroots movement.  In other words, contributions made from the ground up can have a very positive effect on the community.  In President Obama’s case, that would pertain to social issues and how he was able to help people who were impoverished and disadvantaged.  Admirable, but the money he raised had to come from somewhere, most likely charitable contributions and local, state and federal government tax revenues which to a significant percentage, come from small businesses.  A vote for conservative principles, capitalism and common sense regulation, is a vote for small business.  So get on our bandwagon!

In my case, contributions to my small business came in the form of personal sacrifices; from my personal savings; taking no salary for some time, taking less salary for some time and mind you, no vacations for many years.  I had to continue to pay my bills, feed my family and keep a roof over our heads.  When my saving ran out I took a second mortgage on my house.

I chose to go it on my own.  I took all my savings, borrowed from family, friends my home and started my own business.  My kids saw me on weekends.

The President refers to Middle American’s like it doesn’t include small business owners.  Most small business owners take a significant portion of what their small business earns and they reinvest in their business. The President knows how small businesses earn income and chooses to ignore it.  Small business people “pay it forward.”  Our income goes back into our business, meaning jobs and if for no other reason, in today’s economy, it’s grow or die! 

I’m offended by the President’s misguided belief that wealthy Americans are the problem in this divide between Republicans and Democrats. 

At the end of the day I’m “bone tired” and the threats of higher taxes, more regulation and Obamacare chill me to the bone.  Most wealthy Americans are hard-working, who have their own plan on how to spread the wealth around.  I have much more faith in free enterprise.

President Obama just doesn’t care.  How could he?  He’s never walked in a small business owner’s shoes.  Mr. President, you will never walk in my shoes or the shoes of millions of small business owners.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Take a huge chance.
  3. Put your own money behind it.
  4. Believe you can do better.
  5. Commit yourself, your family and your friends to get behind you.
  6. Repeat Numbers 1 –5.

As the expression goes, those are pretty big shoes to fill.  Free enterprise and small businesses come from the ground up.  Powerful stuff!

 

The Real Middle Class is the “Middle Seat” on Southwest Airlines

The real middle class?  Invisible. The mainstream media and the politicians can’t see us from where they’re sitting. 

Nothing the middle class does is less than “first class.”

They don’t care about labels or Occupying Anything unless it’s a celebration, like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

They can’t afford first class tickets.  So they fly Southwest Airlines.

The real “middle class” is willing to stand in line for a bargain.  They rarely complain.  When it comes to flying, they’re just happy to have afforded a seat to a destination for which they are committed and it doesn’t much matter how they get there.

In the real world, Mr. President, there’s no time for “class warfare.”  In this economy, if you do your job, the middle class can do their job. There’s no time for “camplaigning.”

I see the middle class on Facebook, but they much prefer face time.  They are grandparents visiting their grandkids.  They are students heading home with their laundry.   They are guests to a wedding.  They are the bereaved heading to a funeral. They are small business people trying to close the deal.

That would be me, my boarding pass was C4 on a full flight.  Just so you know C4 on a Southwest flight is not a seat number, it a place marker in line.  C4 means 120 passengers have boarded the flight before you and you’re playing musical chairs with anyone standing in front of you or behind.  Those people already seated, they want nothing to do with you! Trust me!

If they are the mainstream media, the pundits, the celebrities, the sound bites and the politicians who want to define the rich and the middle class, they don’t fly Southwest.  I think that can define them.  They are elitists.  I define an elitist as someone who thinks most everyone else is ignorant or stupid.  Attention elitists!  C4 on a Southwest flight is 9 times out of 10, a middle seat.  Then again, if I have to explain C4 on a Southwest flight to an elitist, I guess that makes me one.  So I guess I’m not qualified to run for office.

Middle class America cannot be defined or redefined by sound bites.  The only chance their agenda gets any traction?  It’s if the middle class isn’t looking out the window on our last flight, taking the 30,000 foot view.  They’re too busy dealing with what’s in their lap.  More likely?  Elitist fly first class thinking they’re a pillow away from another Democrat president.  A luxury we cannot afford.

FYI – The only class warfare for me comes with a “Ding!” and it’s all about getting an aisle seat.

If you subscribe and email me, I’ll tell you the secret to flying first class on Southwest.

 Express “yourself.” Leave your comments, share or spread the word click on the Stumble Upon button below. Subscribe or come back often to visit.

 

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