Please don’t speak for me.

It seems like lately there are a lot of groups wanting to speak for the majority of America. I say speak for yourself and don’t try to speak for “99%” or anyone else.

The President keeps saying “The American People want….” and other groups saying “the 99% want…” It’s ridiculous. Speak for yourself, don’t speak for me.

These may be hard times, but this is not the great depression. People are lined up this morning around the country for the latest and greatest iPhone, most families (even those in poverty) have more than one TV, we live beyond our means.

Let’s stop pretending like all of our problems are someone else’s fault. I can’t control the fact that my house as lost a lot of value, but I agreed to pay for it what I paid for it, no one made me sign that paperwork.

I still believe that we live in the greatest country this planet has ever seen. Where freedom and liberty still reign (for now) and where opportunity is greater than anywhere else. We can sit around and complain about everyone else, about Washington, about Wall Street, about our situation, about whatever, but it’s not going to change anything. Marching in the streets wining about the past with no clear purpose is not going to create change (at least not positive change).

Let’s go make something happen. Let’s go create, invent, design, develop, and engineer with the best in the world. Let’s stop pretending that the government education system is the only way someone can be successful and let’s remember to take a break each day and thank the mighty God of heaven for the may blessings we do have.

People always say “that’s easy for you to say Jay, you’re different.” My dad drove a UPS truck and my mom stayed at home and taught five children, of which I am the oldest. We ate lots of oatmeal and casseroles, we wore hammy downs and donations, we didn’t go out to eat, and family vacations meant a trip to grandmas in the mini-van with no ac in the back (much less TV). We were not poor, but we were middle class at best.

My parents worked hard to provide for us and I learned from that. They didn’t buy their first home until they were 40 and it was a big deal.

They divorced when I was a junior in high school and I moved in with friends to finish school. I got good grades and was paid by UCF to attend (for a year anyway). I started a business with a friend in high school and worked late nights and weekends to learn while many stayed out partying. There was a time when I waited tables, ran my business (which wasn’t making any money), and went to school. Times when I didn’t know how I would pay for my car payment or rent on my apartment. These struggles were BLESSINGS not a curse.

I learned from my Uncle, from friends, and from those around me. I looked to people I wanted to be more like and emulated their behaviour. I am not that special. There are thousands of other people just like me. People who have a desire to be an individual and to speak for themselves.

There are plenty of opportunities, but an opportunity doesn’t always mean someone is just going to reach out and hand you a pay check. It may be a struggle, a challenge, or downright depressing for a time (even years), but work hard, learn more, stay focused, be determined and pray for peace through the darkness.

Mr. President, Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party, and anyone else… don’t speak for me! Myself, and many other Americans, can do just fine speaking for ourselves.

Simple Solutions to Complicated Problems

Let’s face it, our political system is a mess. It’s full of a bunch of folks (on both sides) who cater to special interest groups and donors.

As I see it, there are two major solutions that would be simple, but would require massive public outcry to enact.

1) Term Limits for Congress: There are men and women in congress (on both sides of the isle), who have been their for their whole life. People who are disconnected with the reality of the private sector and non-public jobs which they are creating policy for. The house should be limited to a maximum of 4 terms or 8 years and the senate should be limited to a maximum of 2 terms or 12 years. Someone could be in the house and then the senate for over 20 years in this scenario, that doesn’t seem limited, until you look at McCain, Kerry, Lieberman, and others whom have served for for longer than I have been alive! (29+ years)

Having term limits would require those individuals to focus their time in office and not focus on just the next election cycle. If term limits are good enough for the President, they should be good enough for the congress.

2) Limited Contributions: Political campaigns are out of control with the amount of money they spend. It’s all about the Benjamin and it’s insanity (on both sides). We should get drastic with this and force politicians to operate their campaigns on limited budgets. Let’s limited personal and corporate contributions to $100. Force campaigners to really hit the streets with grass roots efforts and stop with the massive donations from special interest groups.

Clearly there is a lot more that can be done, but I think the combination of term limits and limited campaign contributions would go a LONG way towards changing the way our political system operates. Oh, and abolishing the current tax code, but that’s for another post.

Congress loves adding regulations to businesses, it’s time someone added some regulation for them.

The Reality of Hiring

There is a lot of talk abot jobs right now. Esspecially from politicians, many of whom have never created a job in their entire lives.

I am a small business owner. I hire people and companies to help our clients with websites, graphic design, and many other services. I hire people down the street and half way around the world.

Here is a dirty little secret in business… It is significantly easier to hire someone OUTSIDE the United States than it is half way around the world. It’s also significantly more expensive. I’m not talking about a persons actual wage or salary but all of the government and legalities involved.

There are MANY reasons that jobs are struggling right now, but one of the major reasons is government involvement and regulation. The best thing that government can do for business (and as a result labor and jobs) is to get out of the business of business. All you have to do is look at the recent Dodd/Frank act and what it’s new regulations mean to the “evil” big businesses like Bank of America. They recently announced that they will likely be letting go 30,0000 employees due new regulations (Great article in the Wall Street Journal about it today).

When I hire a staff locally, I need an I-9, W-4, direct deposit paperwork, background check, new hire forms, unemployment insrance forms, and other legal paperwork. I also need to be concerned about the additonal cost of payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, and the fact that if I need to let them go, I need all sorts of paperwork and information to prevent being penalized by future unemployment claims. At the end of the year I need to deal with W2s and all kinds of other legal paperwork to make sure I am in compliance with the law. All of this taxes away from what I could actually pay someone and takes away from me actually working the business (and creating more jobs).

When I hire staff abroad, all I need is a PayPal account email address.

The problem with government is that so many of them would look at this situation and argue that it needs to be more difficult to hire abroad to make it fair. The reality of it is that we need to make it easier to hire here and promote the benefits of working locally.

Our business works with clients all over the world and it makes sense for us to have staff all over in many cases, but I WANT to hire local as much as possible (especially in “this economy”). The instability and regulation of government make that a more daunting process than it should be.

Now, please excuss me, I have an interview with a potential new employee. You see, while everyone in the public sector is busy talking about jobs, some of us in the private sector are working as hard as we can to actually create jobs.

America’s New Civil War

We are a nation divided. We may not be standing on hills and shooting at each other with bullets, but we are with words. The political environment is so polarized that nothing productive can be done (on either side).

Almost half of our country believes in big government solutions and the other half in limited government solutions. One side believes in taxing the rich to pay for the poor and the other side believes in individual liberty. One side believes in unions and the other in private enterprise. Where is the compromise on these issues? How do you reconcile these ideas?

It seems we are in a deadlock where both sides are just banging their heads against the wall. Will one side eventually crumble and given or will one side eventually convence enough people that will give them the majority?

This political, ideological civil war could be the great undoing of our nation.

Ultimately, we probably all (left & right) need to do a little more listening and a little less talking. Understand the other side, try to share our own beliefs in a reasonable fashion and make progress where there is common ground.

The question remains however… what about the areas (big areas), where there really is no common ground? What then?

Walter E. Williams & Taxation

While listening to the radio today, Walter E. Williams, was substituting for Rush Limbaugh (who was busy getting married). Every time I hear Mr. Williams it has really be a treat. He is clearly extremely intelligent and well spoken, but has a way of bringing very complex economic ideas down to a simple example.

Here is one that I found extremely interesting regarding taxation. It goes something like this.

A man is walking down the street and sees a poor, hungry, old lady on the side of the road. He says to himself “I need to help this person.” He then pulls out his gun, walks up to you and says “give me your money now.” He takes your money and goes to buy the women food, shelter, clothing, and maybe even a car and a new cell phone.

What would this man be committed of? Robbery. Thief. Etc. While the result of what he was using the money for was good, the way he went about it was not. Theft is theft.

How then is it any different for the Federal Government to come in and force one tax payer to give them their money so that they can redistribute it to another tax payer which that Government deems to be worthy of these funds? How does this in any way equate to protecting the constitution?

Thus is taxation in America today.

A government big enough…

big-governmentWith unemployment now the highest in many of our lifetimes, do we still believe that massive government spending and huge bailouts are the solution to turn the economy around? Or should we maybe consider some aggressive tax cuts and pro-business policies? On one of the morning shows today they had a huge story about how horrible Wal-Mart’s “sick day” policy is and how it’s spreading the flu and how people feel like they are forced to go to work if they are sick because they will get a demerit. Clearly, we don’t want people working with the flu, but at the same time, companies (especially of that size), MUST have strict policies in place to protect their business and make sure people really seriously consider not showing up for work. If they don’t, they won’t be able to serve customers and there are plenty of people lining up at Wal-Mart for their low prices despite how “evil” they are. I am so sick and tired of business and businessmen being demonized in our country. Clearly, there are “bad guys” in any industry, but to act like everyone who wears a suit and tie to work is a criminal or everyone who runs their own business is a thief is lunacy. This country was built on the back of men and women who busted their butts to get where they are. It’s built on the back of people who don’t want unemployment, government-care, obamacare or anything else. We are becoming a nation of fat, lazy, self absorbed people who do not know or understand how this nation became the most powerful civilization in the history of mankind. If we don’t ALL (liberals, conservatives, libertarians, vegetarians, whatever) WAKE UP, get up and make things happy as INDIVIDUALS there will be a steep price to pay. Bottom line: Government is NOT the solution to our problems. Government is the problem. Individual liberty, freedom, and plan old hard work is what will turn this ship around. “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” – Gerald Ford Ok, I’m glad I got all that out.