Saturday, September 25, 2010

I am the President's ATM

I don’t think the president has any idea who I am. He thinks apparently I am an ATM.

I am a sole proprietor. I work in my basement. I work by myself. I make my money through a Website that sells a product/service in the pharmaceutical industry. It makes pretty good money for my family and me.

I took damn big risks to get here, because I thought the possible reward was worth it. And it was.

It gives me a very nice little life. I work when I please. I bike 20-30 miles per day when most people are sitting in offices. I go for a run when I like. I walk the dog when the feeling strikes me. I take a nap around 1 pm sometimes because I am tired.

And, more importantly, because I make more money than I did 5 years ago, I buy stuff that employs other people. I contribute to the economy in very concrete ways. A lot more than if I were still an office drone.

Let me be specific - in 2008 when business was a booming, I bought: 2 flat screen TVs, a BMW, 2 computers, a Lowes pressure washer, finished my basement, bought some nice Costco jewelry (they have NICE stuff) for the wife. And that’s off the top of my head.

My point isn’t to boast about what a rich big shot I am (footnote, in this economy, my revenues are 50% or less of 2008). No, I’m trying to point out that when I make money and am allowed to keep it, something fascinating occurs: I BUY STUFF.

Yes. I buy stuff that other people make. I buy stuff from ‘little’ people who do construction, put together things, make electronics and cars and so on. This sort of activity grows an economy. Take that money from me in taxes…..well, I guess you can argue that the government will do something better with that money.

But if you take another 7-8% from me, I guaranfreakingtee you I won’t be buying as many tvs or pretty diamond brooches for the wife.

Anyway, back to how I got to here - to get to the point where I’m making good money in my basement by myself, I had to take risks. Specifically, in 2004, I quit my full time job as a writer for a real estate company in Fairfax, VA, and took freelance jobs. I already had a mortgage and a family at this point. This was a big freaking risk, friends.

Then in 2008, I had to borrow $50,000 to buy the website. Another sizable risk.

Why did I do these things? Well, a big part of was I just hated working for other people. Sitting in a cubicle all day, the commute, bosses and so on.

But the other big reason was I wanted a better life and income for my family. I wanted to be making 200-300k per year, not 50k. To achieve this, you have to take chances. But to take chances, there has to be a tangible reward, a benefit for the risk.

And this is what I mean when I say this president doesn’t know who I am.

He does not seem to understand that by using people like me as an ATM to fund his agenda, he is discouraging risk taking. He discourages the next guy in Washington DC – the guy making 43k per year in a dead end job in communications. He wants something more. He hates riding the freaking Metro every day next to the lady who clips her nails. He can’t stand listening to the gossiping and the backstabbing in the office. He really despises his boss who makes him write his MBA writing assignments. He wants to make more money, work for himself. He wants to be buying a BMW (which helps employ people who build BMWs). But if he does not see enough reward, he won’t take the chance as I did.

There are a LOT of potential sole proprietors out there. People who COULD have a much better life, make potentially a LOT more money, and contribute MUCH MORE to our economy, and buy stuff as I have. But if you make it too hard for them, tax the crap out of the risk takers, make it so the reward isn’t worth it, they will stay right where they are. In some crappy job making crappy money next to a lady who cracks her gum and talks to her computer all day. He won’t go for it, because it’s just not worth it.

This president does not know who I am.

Returning the Bust - What a Bust

As many readers know, in February 2009, President Obama sent a famous bust of Winston Churchill back to Great Britain. It had sat in the Oval Office since 9/11.

Now since that time, I can think of approximately, oh, 27,434 things that this president has done that irritate/horrify me. Items such as the takeover of our health care system and wasting $800 billion on a stimulus (58 jobs were reportedly created out of $120 million stimulus dollars in Los Angeles) tend to take precedence in my mind.

But returning the bust was and is a big mega deal. It could have been quietly parked in some obscure corner of the White House. But no. This president wanted to make a statement. I’m not completely sure what that statement is. He hates Great Britain? Beats me.

But one thing I know for sure – the next president, whoever he or she is, really needs to make a major PR event out of placing that bust of Churchill back in the Oval Office. Ask the British government for the bust, and then conduct a nice little photo op with the media and put that bust back in the Oval where it belongs.

I think this would be a super thing to do, and would really help the ratings of the new president. Here’s why .

We feel that some of the traditions of America are under assault, they want us to be something we are not. Me, I’m a shy person, I’m not the kind of guy that wants all the attention at a party. I don’t go around introducing myself to strangers. The thought of it horrifies me. I’m not going to be that guy, no matter what my wife says or wants. It isn’t me. And if you try to make me that person, I get pissed off and I’ll fight you.

In a similar vein, I think this president wants us to be something we are not. Our roots are with Western Europe, Great Britain in particular. We have a natural affection for them, and they for us, I’d like to think. Trying to break that bond does NOT break that bond at all. It simply angers and frustrates Americans, who feel our leaders are pushing us to be what we are not.

I think many Americans would feel a great bond and affection with a new president who once again recognizes and embraces our close relationship with Great Britain. And the small gesture of placing that bust in the Oval would do just that. On camera, please.