This isn’t exactly breaking news, but with this being possibly my last opportunity to write for this great site, I really wanted to provide an authentic account of just how our President’s proposed policies are affecting a small but thriving business.
I own and operate a small but feisty landscaping business in Southwest Florida. We employ 26 men, having to lay off two loyal employees this past week as a result of the Obameconomy. Our employees work an average of 54 hours each week and the average annual salary is $42,000. In an industry wrought with illegal employment of undocumented workers, we run a very tight ship and ensure that all our employees are legitimate.
A number of my employees are married and have children. They procure their own health insurance. Despite what the mainstream media is telling us, the average cost for these families is still somewhat affordable at around $500 per month. I certainly agree that any effort at “reform” should concentrate on making these premiums more affordable. It would seem that TORT reform and opening up state borders would be a huge step in the right direction.
Our business has quadrupled its overall revenue to about $2.5 million over the past two years and expand its workforce from 12 to a peak of 29 employees as recently as this summer. Again, our men contribute to the tax base by paying federal income tax and social security tax. We pay an additional 18 percent to payroll tax and the Workers Compensation pool. This has been a good thing: The government gets a healthy chunk of our prosperity, but our employees earn a livable wage and I still get to fish from my backyard.
The House bill (HR 3200) requires I pay for the health insurance of 26 employees or pay a penalty of 8 percent of my payroll which, at $900,000 per year amounts to $72,000 per year straight out of my pocket. We don’t have a clue how the Senate bill melds to this passed legislation because Barack Obama welched on his promise to make these things transparent. But the idea of paying an additional $72,000 per year to the government as a penalty that still leaves my employees uninsured does have me scrambling for ways I can cut payroll to offset this burden.
Then we get to the pending Cap-and-Tax legislation. We are an energy-consuming business and I have earnestly tried to think of ways we can burn less gas, but those damn mowers only get 1 MPG regardless of what speed we run them. I’m still waiting for the Hybrid commercial mower. It doesn’t seem to matter to Mr. Obama that our service allows 1,400 local residents to refrain from burning fossil fuels by hiring someone else to mow their lawns. We are in the scopes of this administration and will pay dearly for our role in “warming the planet”. Fortunately, unseasonably cold Octobers the past few years have cut the growing seasons short down here.
We have seen the Bush tax cuts expire and our burdens rise. If I hear this President or House Speaker proclaim I must “pay my fair share” one more time, my head will explode. I don’t know what to do. I cannot raise my prices to pay for all this governmental overhead because my customer base lost much of their retirement in the market. I have competing companies nipping at my heals because no one is handling the rampant problem of employment of illegal aliens down here. I am seeing unscrupulous local landscaping companies plucking my pigeons because they are blatantly and openly paying illegal workers inhuman wages and I cannot compete because I run a legitimate enterprise. I am truly between Barack and a hard place right now.
I have come to accept the fact that my government has declared war on my enterprise. I have been blessed to support my family with a healthy living and my employees are doing likewise, but our fiscally redistributive President and liberal Congress have declared that I should be vilified for “getting rich off the backs of the poor”. This is patently false. I know my employees would be worse off had not our business taken off like it did. I have no problem with my tax dollars going to some folks less fortunate. I worked hard and gambled everything to make my business a success, but I acknowledge I’ve been blessed beyond my means and I’m certainly receptive to the idea of helping those in genuine need. But I draw the line at the prospect of my tax dollars going toward the murder of the unborn, as outlined in HR 3200. I do not want to see my tax payments going toward health benefits for illegals who will be legitimized by this President. I lament the fact that my hard-earned tax dollars (along with those of my employees) will be destined toward those who subjectively elect not to work. Right now, I need to find ways to cut hours… or employees.
I find myself logging onto Rasmussen Reports each morning in hopes this President’s approval ratings have plummeted even further because I have come to realize his supposed coattails have now become a huge burden to liberals in Congress. There is hope. The few reasonable Democrats in Congress are balking at Obama’s efforts to socialize America because they realize their complicity will result in their own political demise. But what a sad commentary about the state of our economy… a once bright-eyed entrepreneur now relegated to hoping our President fails in his efforts to transform our great nation. I pray those who still have a soul are able to unite behind leaders who can push the sun back in the sky and give us one more day of summer… because these are frightening times indeed.