An Open Letter to the “99%”

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I’ve seen the Wall Street Protesters, and now the Seattle
Protesters complain about a wide variety of financial problems.  Some of which I agree with, some of which I don’t.

I’ve been out of work for 1 ½ years.  I’ve lost track of the number of resumes I’ve sent out, and the number of screening interviews I’ve had.  I am a former Human Resources Executive.  I know how to look for work and I still do it every day.

I’d sweep floors, clean toilets, or work in retail sales, but nobody is willing to give a former executive a low-level job.  Even McDonald’s has turned me down.

Recently I decided to do something different.  Playing “House Husband” is not my goal in life.  Since I’ve been unable to find work, I’ve decided to start a business.

I’m starting a business that transfers video and audio tape to CD or DVD.  Now I spend ½ my time advertising and promoting this business and the other ½ doing the work.  I work 6am to 6pm and look for work at lunch time and from 7-10pm.  I’m going to make money to support my family one way or another.

To the 99%-ers, I say quit hanging out on the street and do something different.  If you want to be in a better financial position, find something people need done and do it.  Charge a fair price and do a good job.  That’s the only way you’ll ever get the money
you want.  Standing on a street corner with other unemployed people won’t do it.

And  Billionaires who say, “Raise my taxes” are fooling you.   It doesn’t matter if the income tax on them goes to 100%.  They don’t pay income tax because they don’t have ordinary income like you and I would if we had a job.  Instead, their income comes from capital gains.  That’s money they make on investments, just like you get if you make money selling your home.  It’s the same kind of income.  You pay 15% on the money you make selling your home and the Billionaires pay 15% on the money they make from all of their investments too.  So raising the tax rate on the rich is just a game that most people don’t know they’re playing.

Government can’t save us. Regardless of who’s in office, the problems we face are bigger than a President.  If you’re one of those who wants to get rid of Capitalism, you’re trying to get rid of something you’ve never even seen.

Since the 1930s, government involved itself in banking, housing and healthcare.  There has not been a free market.  The cause of the housing crisis was the fact that FNMA and FMAC guaranteeing loans for people who couldn’t afford them (these are government-regulated agencies).   Then the banks packaged these mortgages and sold them (they were able to do this because in 1981 congress created new laws allowing this). This exacerbated the problem.

In our lifetimes, we’ve never seen a free market in banking, housing or healthcare.  In healthcare insurance, instead of being able to buy the cheapest insurance, you’re only allowed to buy insurance from the companies in your state. The government won’t let you buy insurance from a company in any other state.  That’s not a free market.

Recently the FrankenDodd bill told banks they couldn’t charge certain credit card fees.  The government took away a source of income for the banks.  What did they do?  They started charging for using debit cards.  Duh.

Finally, if you’re complaining about the cash that banks and businesses are holding onto, let me pose a hypothetical situation:

You’re the CEO of a business and you have plenty of cash on hand.  Now, you know that the Obamacare law is going to have an impact, you just don’t know how much because the laws haven’t all been written yet.  Next, you know that the National Labor Relations Board – primarily a union protection agency is making historical attempts to come into non-union companies.  This too may have an impact, but you don’t know how much.

Next, you have the FrankenDodd bill on banks.  You know your bank is going to have to charge something, you just don’t know how much.

So here you are, you have records amounts of cash, but how much is it going to cost you to do business next year?  Even if you can project your regular business expenses, you can’t project the financial impact of all of the legislation mentioned above.

Are you then going to hire employees, who cost money, and may unionize or sue when dismissed?

My answer is no.  With all of this uncertainty, I don’t know what the cost of running my business will be, so I’ll hold onto my cash.

So if you’re a 99%-er, take a step back, see the forest, not just the trees.  Once you see the bigger picture, you’ll realize you ARE part of the 99%, just not the 99% you’ve been led to believe you’re in.

4 Comments

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  1. Susan Pelham

    I don’t think they want to destroy our government- unless you are saying big business is our government. These are just everyday people who have had it up to their eyeballs with helplessness. have you seen any of the interviews with some of these people? How do you explain the eruptions of populations across the world? Luckily our protestors have not become rioters here. I think I told you a while back- people will only take so much. When there is no defining line between big business and government- no matter what party- just who is running the show? There was a reason for the anti-trust laws. We have allowed big business their freedom- to take jobs away from the US, to give loans to anyone who can sign their name, to charge exorbitant fees to use our own money, to hide money for tax purposes- etc. Profit is one thing, corporate greed another. Taxes should be higher the more money you make- simply for the priviledge of being in a country where you are allowed to make that profit. If you want to have your company in Poland- go live in Poland, do business there- don’t tell me you are a US company. You being a business major should know there is a point in your business where profit is the most- any more profit will mean drastic changes somewhere- cut wages, cut material cost, raise prices. How much profit at what cost do investors want? What price a CEO? In order to raise prices, wages have to go up- who can afford the goods. By allowing the corps. to go overseas with their manufacturing- the ball game has changed. The whole economic situation is such a mess, it may have to come down in order to rebuild. What are YOU willing to do in order to save capitalism , such as it is. That’s what I hear the bigwigs saying- a flat tax? We know who that does not benefit. What part of unemployment checks can should be flat taxed. Where does corporate responsibility come in? Why aren’t the criminals on Wall Street being prosecuted for their obviously crminal actions? These are protestable objections. You may want to be rich- I just want to be able to afford groceries, have my own house, and buy some clothes n

    • jklbus01

      I don’t think they want to destroy our government- unless you are saying big business is our government.I don’t think big business is our government, except for GE, who’s CEO is a part of the Obama Administration and GM, who we as taxpayers own 63% of.

      These are just everyday people who have had it up to their eyeballs with helplessness. have you seen any of the interviews with some of these people? How do you explain the eruptions of populations across the world? Luckily our protestors have not become rioters here. Really? so Oakland was peaceful? the OWS people didn’t commit rapes? There wasn’t a murder that took place at OWS? The Oakland, CA and NYC Police would disagree.

      I think I told you a while back- people will only take so much. When there is no defining line between big business and government- no matter what party- just who is running the show? There was a reason for the anti-trust laws. We have allowed big business their freedom- to take jobs away from the US, to give loans to anyone who can sign their name, to charge exorbitant fees to use our own money, to hide money for tax purposes- etc. Profit is one thing, corporate greed another. The U.S. Constitution made it clear that you and I and the rest of the people SHOULD BE running the show! It’s You and I and our parents and grandparents who’ve allowed the politicians to be in charge. We seem to have forgotten that they work for and report to US! I agree with Anti-trust laws. Companies who don’t have to pay uninon wages overseas, pay a 35% tax on profits overseas, and are given incentives to employ people in other countries are smart to do so. The USA is dumb to set conditions that cause this. If we want companies to employ people here, make the conditions favorable to do so. lower taxes, break unions and make it easy to build businesses here.

      Taxes should be higher the more money you make- simply for the priviledge of being in a country where you are allowed to make that profit. I might be willing to accept that if EVERYONE paid taxes. When only 47% pay anything at all, why should others pay more? Furthermore, if as you suggest, we should use a progressive scale, what incentive would there be to make a profit if most of it went to taxes? Why not just move offshore where you can get better treatment?

      If you want to have your company in Poland- go live in Poland, do business there- don’t tell me you are a US company. You being a business major should know there is a point in your business where profit is the most- any more profit will mean drastic changes somewhere- cut wages, cut material cost, raise prices. How much profit at what cost do investors want? What price a CEO? In order to raise prices, wages have to go up- who can afford the goods. By allowing the corps. to go overseas with their manufacturing- the ball game has changed. The whole economic situation is such a mess, it may have to come down in order to rebuild.

      What are YOU willing to do in order to save capitalism , such as it is. That’s what I hear the bigwigs saying- a flat tax? We know who that does not benefit. What part of unemployment checks can should be flat taxed. Unemployment checks (at least in Washington) are flat-taxed at 10%. I can choose to have it deducted weekly or pay at tax time.

      Where does corporate responsibility come in? Why aren’t the criminals on Wall Street being prosecuted for their obviously crminal actions? These are protestable objections. I couldn’t agree more! Why is it that those who ran AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, Bear Stearns and others being criminally charged? They caused the crash. I can’t say for sure, but I do know that Wall Street in general gave heavily to the Obama campaign. My gut says he owed them favors – and I believe every president has this problem, not just Obama.

      You may want to be rich- I just want to be able to afford groceries, have my own house, and buy some clothes n As I said, I think you have a great lifestyle, it just isn’t my ideal. I don’t need money per se, I see it as a tool. Simply put, the more money I have, the more people I can help. Whether charity, financial assistance or whatever, I can’t employ anyone, and I can’t really help anyone if I don’t have enough money to do it.

      Thank you so much for your response. I enjoy our conversations and have only one last question: Are you better off today than you were 3 years ago?

  2. jklbus01

    Hi Mom,
    It isn’t that I disagree with the protesters completely. For example, I do believe that the Supreme Court decision identifying corporations as persons was wrong. There is too much influence of money in politics on all sides. I’ve said that for years. But the protesters are not thinking critically. What is a corporation? What is a “Special Interest?” Both are collections of people working together for a common cause. In one case, for a profit, in the other for favorable laws and other conditions. Both influence politicians with money and other bribes. The NRA and MoveOn.org are opposed in their mandates, but they both work the same way – find favorable politicians and influence them.

    The protesters, while they may have brought attention to this issue want to destroy the system. They don’t say what they want in it’s place, just that it will be run “by the people”. We did that over 200 years ago.

    It wasn’t until Woodrow Wilson that anyone thought differently. Since the early 1900s, government has been involved in housing, healthcare, national trade, social programs, banking an finance, and more. This is not “Free Trade” or “Capitalism” So arguing that Capitalism doesn’t work, when looking at the current system is like comparing apples to bed springs. We haven’t seen capitalism in over 100 years.

    There is a reason our poorest people usually have refrigerators, running clean water, and access to medical care. Of course there are exceptions. But compare our poor to the poor in Haiti. See the difference Capitalism made, even though it hasn’t truly been in operation for 100 years?

    The protesters are simply useful idiots. I support their right to protest, and believe they have some valid complaints, but most of them don’t really understand the actual problems or even pretend to. They just want to destroy our country’s government. That’s not the way to effect positive change.

  3. Susan Pelham

    So you are saying it is government’s fault for not having regulations in place to keep business from excesses? Duh! Greed wins again!

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