Pick a side. Any side. But pick a side.

A friend, who’s clearly a McCain supporter sent me an email tonight that I just couldn’t help but respond to…and I guess it fired me up enough that I feel the need to share it all with you now as well. First the meat of the email forwarded by my friend (well I hope he’s still my friend):

Ralph R. Reiland writing for the Pittsburgh Tribune: I interviewed two plumbing company owners over the weekend about Barack Obama’s economic proposals for small business. One has 15 employees and 12 trucks. The other has 52 employees and 34 trucks. They’re Joe the Plumber, writ large. Both owners had the same reaction to Obama’s proposed new taxes and mandates. To not have their bottom lines reduced by government fiat, both said they’d be forced to lay off employees. Specifically, here’s what the owner of the larger firm said regarding six of Obama’s key proposals for the small-business sector: The average wage at his company, figuring the 52 paychecks of his office staff, installers and service workers, is $31,200, $15 an hour. First, “Barack Obama and Joe Biden will require that employers provide seven paid sick days per year,” states the Obama campaign’s Web site. “I give three paid sick days,” explained the business owner. His extra cost for this one new regulation would be $24,960 (4 extra days, 52 employees, at an average of $120 per day). “That’s one of the women in the office,” he said. “I can make up that cost by letting one of the office people go.” Second, Obama states that employers will be required to pay 100 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums for 100 percent of their employees or face a tax penalty. “I pay 75 percent of their coverage,” explained the owner. “The family policy is about $11,000. For single guys, it’s about $5,000.” At an average annual cost of $7,000 per policy, his additional cost for 52 employees to cover the 25 percent of the premiums that he currently doesn’t pay is $91,000. “That’s the price of three installers,” he said. “Just to stay even with where I am, I’d have to fire three more people or raise some prices and fire two.” The result is more unemployment or more inflation, or both. Third, with the estate tax, Obama is calling for a top tax rate of 45 percent on estates valued above $3.5 million, producing an estimated “death tax” of $675,000 on an estate of $5 million. “You’re kidding,” he said. “They took half my income on the way up and now they want another half when I die?” He estimated that his business is already valued at more than $3 million, in addition to the value of his home and investments. “Why,” he asked, “would I want to grow to 100 employees? What’ll stop them from changing it to 75 percent?” The cost in jobs that will never be created in the U.S. economy because of this single disincentive to growth? Incalculable. Fourth, Obama’s economic plan calls for a hike in the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour within three years. The business owner’s reaction? “That’s bad for two reasons. I don’t have anyone at minimum, but raise the bottom by $3 and a guy making $15 wants $18. Plus it’s bad for productivity when people think their pay raises are coming from government instead of from their own individual effort.” Fifth, saying he’ll “play offense for organized labor,” Obama is proposing that workers should be denied the right to a private ballot at work in deciding whether to unionize. “That’ll never be,” said the plumbing entrepreneur. “I’m in business because I’m independent, not to take orders from a grievance chairman. I’d shut down.” Sixth, the increase in taxes on this small business owner from Obama’s proposed hike in the income tax rate from 36% to 39.8% on incomes above $200,000 and the proposed increase in Social Security taxes comes to $32,000 per year. “That’s another employee,” he said, referring to the termination of another installer in order to just stay even. And the jobless plumbers? They can be re-socialized to work for ACORN. As Obama explained in July: “We cannot continue to rely on our military to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.” As “well funded” as our Armed Forces personnel comes to $119 billion per year in paychecks for “community activism,” a lot of money for registering dead voters, caulking windows, making sure that all the guns are locked up at the municipal buildings, and monitoring the airways to make sure that conservatives don’t have too many talk shows. Bottom line, Obama’s economic plan doesn’t hold water. Neither will our pipes.
and now my quick email response:
Not to get into a big political war here or anything, but neither of those businesses mentioned are what you should call ‘small business’…I have company with one employee, the business makes way under $200,000 - the policies outline will help my real small business greatly…so any employees being laid off by a slave-driving, non-small business like the ones mentioned (only 3 sick days a year and horrible wages!) can probably go find better jobs, in real small businesses anyway… I won’t feel sorry for a Joe the Plumber that has been getting fat on his employees suddenly having to treat the ones he keeps like decent workers…and I won’t feel sorry for the workers that are freed from the slave-drivers like them either (I’m sure good workers will land on their feet regardless of who’s 'in charge’). And I have this opinion even after my wife was recently laid-off in the Lehman/Barclays debacle…bottom line, in this economy no matter who’s elected people are going to be out of work for a bit as the world adjusts…the question is, when we regroup, do we do so under the same-old, same-old of medium-to-large businesses once again wielding all the power or do we opt for a chance at change (note I said chance) and see if we can’t figure out how to help more true small businesses work their way to the mid-level stages (where their extra contributions can then start to help us all)? Anyway - just my two cent knee-jerk reaction…hope it doesn’t offend anyone too much. - Kevin
I guess bottom line, as with anything that really matters there are strong opinions that go both ways and the important thing is that you pick a side and move to action on your side. Don’t just make the decision in your head and consider yourself included. Get out and do something to help your side win the debate. Or at the very least get out and vote to support your stance.

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This is the personal blog of Kevin Marshall (a.k.a Falicon) where he often digs into side projects he's working on for digdownlabs.com and other random thoughts he's got on his mind.

Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.

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