Hey Plumber Joe: Been There, Done That

God love you Joe. Bless your heart Joe.  You, and people like you, are what makes the country work. You make the country great. You get it -- you act on it -- and you enrich the lives of your family and your friends and your communities and your charities as a result.

But I think what I should say now is "God help you Joe."  Look, 16 plus years ago I was where you are now. And I must tell you  if Obama wins, I am pulling the plug in a few months. I am out. I have had it.  I am preparing to destroy almost 100 jobs and lower my tax bracket and I can't wait.

Consider: 16 years ago I was statistically in poverty, but I had dreams and a plan. At the time, the remnants of Reaganomics still set the economic tone and a fired up Newt Gingrich was forcing conservatism on the Clinton White House every time Bill and Hillary tried to move left.  There were actually politicians who praised business owners and business in general.  Against that backdrop, I've had a pretty good run. It's been extremely challenging and the move up was not a straight line, but I am better off than I was 16 years ago. And 8 years ago. And 4 years ago. And so are a lot of folks who have been on this ride with me.

But Joe, I am not better off than I was just 2 years ago. That's when decades of liberal energy policy came home to roost and four dollar gas took several hundred thousands from my bottom line faster than I could possibly react.  That same gas price slammed my customers -- and my customer's customers -- forcing our company into a vice of rapidly rising costs and rapidly dropping revenues. Oh, and for fun, slower payments from our customers.

That started the ripple through the sub prime mortgage industry, and we have all seen the unraveling of our financial system which was more or less totally underpinned by real estate "values." Those assumed valuations were the basis for any number of derivatives and credit swaps and so on. Well, forget all that Wall Street talk. To you and me it means employees are more desperate for money, customers are less willing to buy, slower to pay and banks less willing to lend. It certainly means whatever homes and 401K's you have are worth less too which makes your bank even less anxious to lend to your business. It is the main street carnage of "unfettered government" onto small business. It is the destructive fruit of environmental leftists, the Fannie-Freddie cronies in government and other corrupt liberals in positions of power.

And sadly, this is also the result of George Bush giving into these folks all too often in defense of his "new tone." (That worked out well, didn't it?) This was helped ironically by John McCain "reaching across the aisle" to vote against tax cuts and vote for energy restrictions and so on. All of this was nicely summed up by Mitt Romney when he said that our problems stem from "too many Republicans acting too much like Democrats." Now, if the polls are anywhere near accurate, we are going to get a taste of "real Democrats acting too much like Marxists" for at least a few years.

Mitt was right, but the pundits said McCain was more acceptable to the moderates. Hmmm. Wonder if a financial turn-around specialist like Mitt might sell to the moderates now? Just a wild thought from someone not smart enough to be a beltway pundit.

Now Joe, as someone whose been there, let me tell you how this works, though I think you have a good idea.  At the end of the year, as an LLC, I do file taxes with the business profit on my personal returns like many of others do as well.  And yes, that figure is much bigger than 250 thousand. But that's not really MY MONEY to keep. It's how I underpin my business. When customers disappear or take their time paying bills, I still have to pay my employees, rent, suppliers, and countless other expenses. Every penny that the tax man takes out of that profit is less money that I have to carry forward to stay in business for the next year. And if Obama and Reid and Pelosi take more of this by "raising taxes on the rich" then of course my business will suffer. And so will all the employees.

This is exactly what almost none of those lawyers turned politicians understand.

But of course, you will have to send tax money into the government, Joe, because the man who is in charge of spending that money -- Charlie Rangel -- damned sure wasn't paying his fair share as we know now. Get out that checkbook.

Of course, all of this matters only if you can afford to fill your plumbing vans with gas at gosh knows what price. It could be that the recession will lower the gas price, but that's not terribly good news for you either, since customers don't spend as much money in a recession. I mean, I hate to burst your bubble, but small business owners are surrounded by a sea of challenges outside their control and almost all of them are caused by liberalism. Government has formed a business firing squad and it's a doggone circle!

I wish you well, guy.  You might just have the genius and persistence to pull this off. I really do hope so. As for me, I have had enough. I have fought creeping liberalism and managed more wins than losses over 17 years. We have progressed to where  our business,  now a corporation,  is big enough so that Obama and his ilk now have their own ideas about "what larger businesses can afford" and what "corporations can afford."

Well I've got news for him. I cannot afford what they think I can afford, so I am breaking her up and giving her away to some key employees.  I wish them well too. They are like you, tough and smart. Perhaps if they stay small enough and never can carry forward more than 250 thou to the next year, they will be allowed to keep their businesses through a downturn. 

As for me? I'm outta here.
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