This is interesting in light of an email I received from a highly successful former officer in a well known publicly held company that was sold several years ago. He is a friend and a great guy ... with a lot of money, who explained, from a previous column I had written, that I was a better political pundit than economist. He proceeded to quote all of the statistics that showed that businesses (large businesses, of course) were having their best year in ages — everything was fantastic.
And I have no doubt that to be the case ... but not for the “private sector” or the “average American” nor just about anyone in the day-to-day working world. It’s time to make clear that there is a huge difference between a family or individual making $250,000, but likely paying for a mortgage, university tuition, health insurance and increased deductibles, huge taxes on a residence, federal taxes, in many cases state taxes, plus local sales and local option sales taxes, and a guy who pockets millions of dollars and sees the world through special and fortunate rose-colored glasses.
The bottom line is that we, the real Americans who try to create a job or two, are suffering and are about ready to give up. Perhaps that’s why the average Joe doesn’t give a hoot about the quarterly profit of the largest of businesses.
Just consider the following. This allegedly rich family or person earning $250,000 a year likely has a small business that he or she owns, or works for a company whose salary allows the individual to give, on many cases, half of that income up before a dime goes to anything but government-related entities. To Barack Obama, that is a person who needs to give his or her “fair share.”
But that individual feels more like he or she is on the ledge, stressed out, scrambling for business or income, a target. This person is no Warren Buffet ... this is a wannabe Jimmy Buffet who wants to escape with a shirt, some shorts, and something sunny and something positive to look forward to — but can’t. Thank you, Mr. President.
Here is why the so-called the “private sector” is not doing so well. The cost of health insurance is up, or their company is offering a program with a vastly higher deductible. Their pharmaceutical costs are through the roof, and if they are seniors, they can’t find a family physician who will take Medicare because of planned reimbursement reductions. All of this is allegedly “defensive medicine” to brace for “Obamacare.” Thank you, Mr. President.
For the average “private-sector souls,” their house has lost value, they are fighting to keep up with their mortgage, and the “big bank” that loaned them the money to buy it won’t work with them at all to lessen the pain. Those banks are now so regulated by Dodd-Frank that even if they wanted to, they would only lend money to those who don’t need it. Thank You, Mr. President
The president’s answer to our economic woes is to “tax the wealthiest Americans” as soon as possible and increase the tax on “capital gains” for the same “rich folk.” That’s great. So the small-business owner who employs three or four people and pays his or her corporate taxes basically on an individual basis has to consider letting another employee go in January 2013 in order to make ends meet. And the average person with shares in the stock market figures it will be time to sell before those 2013 capital gains tax increases go into effect — likely causing a down market. Thank you, Mr. President.
Here’s my take on Barack Obama. I really do believe, unlike many who pontificate, that Obama is a good man with a fine family. It’s just a simple matter of a president who never worked in the private sector, only knew government and social activism as an answer to any problem, and a guy who quickly — through books and the magic of the modern presidency — will never know the economic and personal hardship of running a small business, thinking he understands the private sector.
The public is catching on and is ready to say, “Thank you, Mr. President” — as they usher him out the door of the White House in 2013.
Matt Towery heads the polling firm InsiderAdvantage.