You Cannot Govern Leadership

individualism

While small business owners are putting up their houses and their life savings to survive, to cash flow their business, to hire employees, President Obama was and still is, greasing the palms of his political donors in the name of greentech failures, spending billions of our taxpayer dollars.

The alarming failure of big government was never more evident than when President Obama publicly and carelessly joked about a trillion dollars (stimulus (taxpayer) money) wasted on “Shovel-Ready Was Not As Shovel-Ready As We Expected.”  Where was the red flag then?  Where is the red flag now?

The only hope I see for this country is individual responsibility, and leadership that creates prosperity, not big government. You cannot govern leadership.   Today individual responsibility, leadership, and American exceptionalism are too often political talking points and empty words. When individual leadership fails, or fails to materialize, it creates dependency.

Leonardo da Vinci said it 480 years ago and he said it in Italian. Here is the clearest translation:  “People of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.”

I don’t do what you’re passionate about, but be passionate about what you do.  Don’t follow your passion.  Let your passion follow you.  That’s leadership.

As a small business owner after 25 years it has been my experience, the most important life decisions you make, have to be made on your own.  I built my business and leadership is key.

Others will pontificate as to what a leader is, what a leader must do and how a leader must act.  I don’t have time for all that and neither do you.  The best way to find out if you are a leader is to deal with life’s biggest challenges when it comes to crunch time.

Decide on your own and act accordingly.  You’ll no doubt get plenty of advice, but no one is going to know better than you, what to do.  You are better qualified than anyone or anything to make the decisions that affect you personally and those who depend on you.

There’s a disturbing trend in our day-to-day lives towards dependency on others, big institutions, big labor and big government.  Sweat equity has been replaced by entitlement equity.  People measure success based on what they can get, not what they can give.  

A major new study by Harvard economist Raj Chetty, however, shows things haven’t changed all that much. “Children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution relative to their parents as children born in the 1970s,” it finds.  “That doesn’t mean politicians can’t improve people’s chances of rising. It’s just that the best way they can do so is by getting out of the way.”  The Foundry

The problem is the more you lean on the government, the more your life depends on government.  You are governed by more  laws, more regulations and more public policy today than ever before.  Who you become, what you do, and how you do it, is shaped by public opinion and the mainstream media.

In this new era influenced by mass media and public opinion, big government is their divined solution to all your problems.  American exceptionalism, entrepreneurship and the multitude of small business success stories that built a thriving post WWII economy, are too often ignored, discounted and discouraged with crippling regulation and  laws that are the new normal.

What if a typical family spent like government?

What if a typical family spent like government?

Individualism and leadership are sorely needed.  People, not big government, can make a difference.  You and I need to step up to the plate.  Our country’s in peril as is our next generation.  Take on the career politicians who have created roadblocks to personal responsibility and leadership.  Our country is on the line. Vote them out in 2014 and 2016.

Career politicians passing laws that control our lives severely curtail the entrepreneurial spirit and small business startups, the little engine that could, that should and does grow the economy.   Consider the cost of healthcare has virtually doubled for small businesses in the past 5 years.  

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of free enterprise. Their heart is beating for their next customer, for their fellow employees and their families.  Their soul is intact.  They epitomize what comprises the backbone of our country, small business.  In their shadows are the real leaders, the chief cooks and bottle washers; the real risk takers that stand behind their champions, small business owners.  Small business owners are essential to the future success of the US economy.

Entrepreneurs are not the only leaders.  Leaders are people I see when I come to work before dawn.  I see them after dusk, when darkness settles.  They are resourceful.  They don’t think twice.  If you say something to them about the long hours they keep, they will readily commiserate with you, complain if you will, but there is a sense of pride in their voice.  There is a smile on their face.  These hard working people who are the heart and soul of the US economy.

In an atmosphere where people lean more on government, blame others and institutions for their circumstance, we need more leaders. Whether you are a parent, employee, small business owner or CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation; people depend on you for guidance.  You are accountable for the success or failure of others.  You have to make decisions that affect other people for better or for worse. 

In business or in your personal life, when the time comes, no one will make the important decisions for you.  Don’t get me wrong.  You will get plenty of advice.  “If I were you…” “You should…”  “You could…” “You might…” Later on, after the decision has been made, you will summarily receive the same words, only in a different context.  “If it were me…” “I would have…”  I could have…”  “I would have… Draw on your own experience.  Make your own decisions.

The most important decisions you can make, are made by you alone.  That’s leadership.  You can change the world, change you can believe in.

It’s Work, Avoiding Work

water board wall street

Get a job!

Below is an example of someone who “works” at avoiding work, see the Ad below and the email response.

The Mainstream Media (MSM) and the White House (WH) brand their own heroes, like the entire Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. No matter what type of movement OWS stands for, including bowel movements, they get a pass.

If you watch the MSM and believe their version of the story, you are being “programmed” for failure. If you are under-privileged, disadvantaged, abused, down on your luck, to the MSM, you can be a hero. You can be on the Front Page. If you do something the MSM programs as good, it erases everything else that’s bad.  Bad doesn’t matter.

MSM says… Out of work, good, successful, bad.  Pacifist good, warrior bad.

Chris Kyle

Chris Kyle

There are many everyday heroes, who go about their business, tirelessly, day in, day out, giving it all they’ve got, not giving in, or giving up, to make this world a better place.

If you are up at 4 AM, at work by 5, slinging hash by 6, you’re just another working stiff, chances are, exit Stage Left, no one is interested.

The MSM, they don’t get it. They’re not up at 4 AM. If they are, it’s not to share donuts and coffee with the local cops, or to understand who the real American are.

The real heroes are the everyday, every time, everywhere kind of people, who pay their taxes, to take care of those of you who are on unemployment, those of you on food stamps, those of you on welfare, and those of you with your Obama phones.

If you are, say over 50…? you’ve heard the jingle, “The best part of life, is Folgers in your cup!” It’s a jingle embedded in our lives. We may not live the jingle, but we won’t forget it. Great advertising!  What if the White House came up with a less than forgettable jingle of their own?

How about, “The best part of life, is people giving it all they have.” or “The best part of giving, is not giving up.”

Instead the WH advertises dependency (see a Craig’s List job’s ad response below).

Granted some of the “heroes”, are real life heroes, but only in a moment in time, and like most ordinary folks, they’re just giving it all they’ve got.

If you are on any government program and deservedly so, , you should be very concerned about the freeloaders who make it their job, to thwart the system. Case in point, a fellow small business looking for an office manager, placed an ad on Craig’s List.

Here’s an example of a freeloader “at work avoiding work”, the Ad and the email response (below):

Office Manager Ad

Response Office Manager Ad

Plain and simple.  If you are on Federal Unemployment, you are required to seek employment, right?  Is this is how you apply for a job?

Many Americans work very hard.  Many start early and work late into the night.  Many of us are tired of the lies, and of people taking the easy way out.

We’re tired of the MSM giving lazy, shiftless people a pass, especially Harry Reid and the US Senate.

We’re also tired hearing commercial snippets on NBC (owned by GE) where Brian Williams, tells us to “go green” and turn off the lights. when we leave a room.  No problem Brian. We’ll turn off NBC.  Exit Stage Right.

Save Small Business from the Fiscal Cliff – Letter to US Legislators from the NFIB

capitolAs a small-business owner, I urge you to act now to prevent the tax increases that will impact small businesses if action isn’t taken to avoid going over the Fiscal Cliff.

Several tax rates that affect small business are set to expire at the end of this year. Some of the changes that will impact small business include:

● Individual income tax rates would rise; the 15 percent bracket would become the lowest tax rate. The 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent brackets would rise to 28, 31, 36 and 39.6 percent

● The estate tax rate would increase from 35 percent to 55 percent, and the exemption would decrease to $1 million from $5 million

● The capital gains rate would increase to 20 percent from 15 percent for top earners and rise to 10 percent from zero for those with lower incomes

● Dividends would be taxed as ordinary income rather than capital gains

● The Section 179 expensing limit will fall back to $25,000 and real property will no longer be included

● The start-up deduction for businesses will be reduced from $10,000 to $5,000

● An estimated 31 million additional taxpayers would be required to pay the AMT

This adds up to an almost $500 billion tax increase for 2013 alone. This is a major concern for small business owners like me, since I do not know what my tax liability will be next year. The uncertainty this creates is already having an impact on my ability to make plans to grow my business or add jobs.

Most small businesses are organized as pass-through entities, where the business owner reports their business’s income on their individual tax returns. Allowing the current tax rates to expire will increase the taxes that small businesses pay, directly impacting the ability of small-business owners to invest money back into their businesses.

Raising taxes on small businesses, especially in the current economic environment, hurts our ability to grow and create jobs. I encourage you to give small-business owners the certainty we desperately need by extending all the current tax rates across the board and fighting to avoid the Fiscal Cliff.

Message delivered to:
Senator Bill Nelson
U.S. Senate
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 205100001
Fax: (202) 228-2183 via fax

Message delivered to:
Senator Marco Rubio
U.S. Senate
317 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 205100001
Fax: (202) 228-0285 via fax

Message delivered to:
Representative Gus Michael Bilirakis
U.S. House of Representatives
407 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 205150001
Fax: (202) 225-4085 via fax

The Endangered Species, Entrepreneurs, a.k.a. Small Business Owners

President Obama is disingenuous when he says he is championing small business and the middle class.  Most small business owners are Sole Proprietors, Limited Liability Corps (LLCs) or Sub S Corps.  I own a Sub S Corp.  President Obama knows the challenges I face.  He is counting on you, the voter, to lump small business owners like me into his campaign to denigrate the high income earners in this country.

What he doesn’t want you to know is small business people, like me, often take a lesser salary, but often earn more than his definition of   “rich” because I have to pay taxes on the combined total of my salary and my business earnings.   Both are considered ordinary income.  By ordinary income, I mean income you and I pay taxes on after pre-tax expenses and deductions, like anyone else earning 1099 or W-2 income.

Keep in mind the risk to a small business owner.  If my business loses money, my salary and my business is in jeopardy.  It is a constant challenge to a small business to earn enough money to employ people, to grow and still earn a salary, in that order.  Contrast that with government subsidized businesses like GE and Solyndra.  Imagine if President Obama had the vision to subsidize small businesses to the tune of Solyndra or GE.  Take Solyndra’s $500 million in taxpayer dollars and give it to 500 small businesses, each with 20 employees or the equivalent of 1,000 employees.  Take my company’s track record over the past 2 years and small businesses would have increased employment by 40%.  I have a neighbor down the street who owns a small business, who increased his small business employment by 3-400 percent, without a government subsidy.

I run a small business, going on 25 years.  I pay taxes on my salary as an employee of my business and on the income my small business earns, both as ordinary income.  For many years, my business didn’t earn income.  For many years, my salary was well below the poverty line.  There were many years I was eligible for government assistance and I refused to take it.

How do you put a price on all the sacrifices a small business owner makes?  How do you quantify the years of no or little income you live with while supporting your business and fellow employees.  You pay their salary, you pay suppliers, you continue to pay them while you wait to get paid by your customers.  How do you quantify the debt you assume, including 2nd mortgages, credit cards, personal and bank loans.  How do you quantify the risks you take only to emerge from that debt as a job creator.  Only to be told, “You didn’t build that…,” the government built that.”  You’re branded greedy, uncaring if you are a Christian who believes in the sanctity of life and racist?  Like Mitt Romney I believe a women should have a choice to abort a pregnancy in the case of rape or incest, yet I’m extreme!?

My business is classified as an S Corp.  Today my income tax rate on ordinary income due to the income my small business earns, in an Obama administration, in the next four years, if he is reelected, will be much higher, 35 – 44.5%.   Today it’s 28%.  From that point forward you can make the argument there are tax breaks, subsidies, deductions for both personal and business income.

Argue the advantages and disadvantages until the cows come home.  The bottom line is the effective tax rate.  The effective tax rate for most small businesses will increase from 28% to at least 35% .  That’s huge.  Even more significant, more important and what President Obama doesn’t want you to know is most small businesses reinvest the income they earn from their business back into their business on sales and marketing programs and personnel and consequently accounts receivable to grow.  This practice creates jobs in all segments of the business.  In my case, I reinvested one-half (1/2) my ordinary income in jobs and other current and performing assets, increasing employment (salaries by over 40 percent) in 2012 YTD alone.

If you are the CEO of GE and Obama’s schmoozer-in-chief, your salary, bonuses and investment income is taxed as personal income.  There’s a good bet the CEO of GE paid little or no taxes on millions of dollars in income, certainly not at the same rate myself or other small business people paid.  His company, GE paid no taxes in 2011.  GE’s income was offset by losses, subsidies, tax breaks and expenses, claims I would wager could easily be overturned and taxes, interest and penalties would be significant.  The problem is GE has always had their hand in the government’s pocket.  There’s no secret there’s a love fest going on today between the Obama administration and GE.

What the Obama administration doesn’t want you to know about small business tax rates, is we pay taxes on ordinary income both on our salaries and on the money our business makes.  As a rule of thumb, a small business owner will take one-half (1/2) of their income as salary and they will reinvest the other one-half (½) of their small business income back into their business.  The small business investment I’m talking about isn’t about capital investments in equipment, furniture and other fixed assets.  The investment I’m talking about is in operating income, including people, sales and marketing, accounts receivable which is the fuel the economy needs to grow.  Operating income comes from small business revenues taxed as ordinary income.

In fact, even large corporations in America pay much higher corporate tax rates than most other countries.  Our higher corporate tax rates are supported by the Obama Administration.   A Romney administration would propose to lower corporate tax rates to be more competitive with other countries we compete with for business.  The irony is Obama touts green energy and competing for high tech business but he will do nothing to lower the unfair advantage international competition has because their tax rates are much lower.

Here are the facts…

On taxes, President Barack Obama wants to raise “the top rate to 44.8 percent.”

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/may/18/paul-ryan/paul-ryan-says-barack-obama-wants-top-tax-rate-448/

Here’s a potential solution – Fairtax

FairTax - FairTax.org

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.

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I Am Experience!

Some “rich guys” just won a $250K lottery.  It’s all over the news.  So what?!   They don’t deserve it?

Is that what life is all about?  Blame the rich for your problems or do you have the guts and resilience to earn a living?  Make money, maybe lots of money.  If you have the guts, you will make mistakes.  New mistakes, mind you.  You can’t afford muck it up over and over again.

Lord knows I make mistakes!  I live for the entitlements I deserve.  To live free.  To choose to make mistakes, without the fear of reprisal.  To act upon my own convictions within the law

I managed a large sales organization for NCR Corp.  I told my salespeople, “lose more orders!”  It took a little getting used to the idea but they learned, “I am experience.”

If I could reach into my bag of mistakes and pull out just one success, I might be one of those “rich guys” or just maybe who I am.  I like to think I’m still living my life.  If you ask me who I am, I will tell you, I am experience.

How about the day ahead of me?  When will I step over the line and where will that line be drawn?  If I step over the line, I will have to choose, success or failure. There is no middle ground.  I am experience.

Mistakes are getting old, if you’re like me… old.  I grow weary of the next opportunity.  There was a time, when I was  hungry. A hunter.  I would seek opportunities to be successful.  I have since learned the definition of success.  If you make enough mistakes, opportunities seek you.  I am experience.

I have already left yesterday’s mistakes behind me.  Today’s opportunities beckon me back.  Give me a tomorrow, whatever I was doing and wherever I have been.  I can make tomorrow, a better future.  I am experience!

And if I had yesterday back, if I had spent a buck and if I had bought the winning lottery ticket, I’d have to say, I’m one of those “rich guys.”  Where’s the crime in winning the lottery?  maybe they should charge millionaires more? How about $2 a ticket?

Most rich guys are portrayed as useless money grubbers. I’d bet my bottom dollar on the rich guys, because most “rich guys” can say, I am experience.

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Technology Can Drive Us Out of This Fog

Driverless cars, don’t worry there’s a BMW and Audi, too.

“Driverless cars,” what better message to tell government to get out of the way!

“This fog” being the deficit.  In fact we are in a fog and missing the “byte”when we as a country, look towards investing more in asphalt highways, in roads and rail and less towards technology, the information highway to invest in our future competitiveness in the global marketplace.

The future is technology and “smart or driverless cars” Yes, cars that drive themselves. 

Admittedly they have to “learn the course.”  Like on HWY 5 in LA bumper to bumper smart cars will drive at 80 mph during rush hour.  Think about navigating your iPad or reading your Kindle while your smart car drives itself.  Your commute can be cut in half because your car’s the ass who tailgate the car in front of you without getting flipped “the bird” or into a “fender bender.”  Who needs more infrastructure?

Currently we are chasing four economies in global competitiveness, including Number One, Switzerland.  Number Two is Singapore?  Number Three is Sweden and Number Four is Finland.  We’re Number Five.  Number Five!

Read my Blog post India Gets IT! Information Technology that is….  The message should be clear.  Most ground breaking technology (IT)  is spawned by small business.  I know.  I am the founder and CEO of an IT business who has spawned new products that include all the ingredients of a successful small business that can compete globally.

I consider myself a grinder, maybe a lone wolf.  Prideful.  A do-it-yourselfer.  Is that the definition of an entrepreneur?  It depends on who you ask.  Is that the definition of a small business owner?  More than likely the answer would be “yes.”  The difference between an entrepreneur and a small business owner?  None, until the entrepreneur, who is an idea capitalist who chooses outside angel or VC investors.

Everybody has heard of the IPO bubble in the early 2000’s where billions of investment dollars were squandered on ideas.  I pride myself by coining the phrase, “An idea is only worth it’s execution.”  The idea capitalist who decides to  forego outside investors, the grinder, the small business person, is more likely to sustain upticks and downturns in the economy.

We have a 14B deficit.  We have  over 9% unemployment,  We can argue how we might cut entitlements or raise taxes on the rich all day long.  The bottom line is all we want is our cake and eat it too. So I’ll let the experts argue what we need to do to stimulate the economy, reduce the deficit and add jobs.  Afterall they have all the answers, don’t they?

Unfortunately the answer is “no.”  Instead of idea capitalists, we have intellectual genocide where MSNBC pundits who have never had an original idea in their lives, interview (bait) Herman Cain about his 9.9.9 proposal and dismiss it with the age old adage that assumes “poor people” spend more of their  income? on consumer goods than rich people therefore a national sales tax is a burden on the poor.  Since poor people have little or no income how does this equate?  Herman Cain is an idea capitalist.  He is a grinder.  Given the opportunity, he will be successful in helping the US create jobs, lower the deficit and increase our global competitiveness.

The real answer is to increase small business competitiveness in a global economy.  The Obama administration wants to spend billions more on infrastructure.  All I can think of are traffic cones and hard hats standing in our way and in the way of the progress we are making in new technology.  Technology that solves the infrastructure problems and creates jobs.

“It makes little sense for the United States to turn away highly educated immigrants who seek to come here. It makes equally little sense to train talented foreign students in our universities but then fail to integrate them into our economy. Nearly 300,000 foreign students are enrolled in advanced degrees programs here, but the great majority will return home. We are casting away the fruits of our own investment. As has long been our American tradition, we should encourage the world’s innovators, inventors, and pioneers to immigrate to the United States and we should encourage those we train to settle and create jobs here.”  Romney for President (2011-09-01). Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth

 Visa Caps for Highly Skilled Workers

As president, Mitt Romney will also work to establish a policy that staples a green card to the diploma of every eligible student visa holder who graduates from one of our universities with an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering. These graduates are highly skilled, motivated, English-speaking, and integrated into their American communities. Permanent residency would offer them the certainty required to start businesses and drive American innovation.  Romney for President (2011-09-01). Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth.

Mitt Romney, Idea Capitalist

Are jobs coming back to the US?  Case in point.  A big business goes overseas to China  to make an integral component of a product going to market.  The product can be produced at 50% of the cost to produce the part in the US.  The product made overseas requires a delivery timeframe of 12 weeks as opposed to 4 weeks in the US.  The part is produced and delivered but not according to spec.  A US company, TJH Manufacturing, Zion, IL, with a stellar reputation is recruited to re-engineer and deliver the part in time for market.  The big business with the overseas propensity ends up paying four times the originally anticipated product cost.

My vote is for a “driverless government,” but first we have to put Congress and the Administration through the course.  Let’s start by teaching them the constitution.

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