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A Personal Look at Obama's Economic Vision

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.


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Comments (16)

Alan,Hang in there. ... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Alan,
Hang in there. I believe some of the so called "conservative" Democrats in Congress are getting the message. The Independents in the middle are deserting the social experiment, Obamalala is trying to ram through, in droves. There is going to be a rebellion to higher unemployment, higher taxes and higher prices. We can only be thankful for Obamalala's ignorance and arrogance to try to get his agenda through so quickly that it is obvious.

Alan,When you stat... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

Alan,

When you state that the average health insurance cost for your employees is $500 per month how did you arrive at that figure? Do you survey your employees? I used to work, way back when, in the landscaping field and the majority of the people I worked with were young, relatively speaking. You know where else employers don't have to provide health insurance for their employees? Canada, most of Europe, Cuba, China, etc. How do you feel about your employment practices being in line with the those places?

Alan,I enjoyed hea... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

Alan,

I enjoyed hearing about your company and the reward for effort shared by you and your employees. World Citizen, notwithstanding, the average paycheck in your company clearly demonstrates that you are looking after employees with an eye to their futures as well as to your own. My prayer is that Obamao has so over reached and so rapidly done it, that the backlash which has already begun will hit him and many others of his party, dislodging the lot of them from their illusion that they will be staying in Congress for the long haul.

The speed with which he threw these changes at us was intended to shock the populace into inaction, into that old, old, feeling that it's just impossible to do anything about the government no matter how hard one tries.

But it isn't quite working out as planned, and it is doubtful that those in the House and the Senate whose votes Obamao and his henchmen thought safely accounted for, will be coughing up those votes as easily as once believed.

My prayer continues that this trend as well as the forceful voice of the people of America will continue to grow and that the old adage ( the attribution escapes me at the moment) will be once again demonstrated to be true:

Government works best when it is more afraid of the people than they are of it.


Thanks so much for posting ... (Below threshold)
ram:

Thanks so much for posting this information! We appreciate the time you must have taken to present this information so clearly. I really enjoy this site.

WorldCitizen,I have ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

WorldCitizen,
I have read your cordial reply to Alan. Unfortunately, I don't get your point. Could you elaborate?

Of course, tort reform is a... (Below threshold)
Michael Kirsch, M.D:

Of course, tort reform is an overdue remedy for an unfair system. As a physician, I have been victimized by it repeatedly in a 20 yr career, although all cases against me were dropped. This cost me $$$ and anxiety and affects how I view my patients. The medical malpractice situation also results in billions of dollars on defensive medicine. Do patients want this?

Landscaping is a cut-throat... (Below threshold)
MjM:

Landscaping is a cut-throat business precisely because so many hacks operate outside the rules. I applaud your keeping things on the up-and-up. Such has been a very tough thing to continue to do given the state of the economy.

Having recently been laid off (permanently) from my job in landscaping I can attest to seeing the same future as you.

I was responsible for many things - design, scheduling, procurement, crew management, equipment upkeep, lighting installs, etc., - in our like-wise small company, a more hardscape than softscape company). I was also responsible for selling the small jobs, anywhere $500 to $10,000. These are the kind jobs that just help pay the equipment repair bills, buy paper clips, and keep the guys working during slow periods.

For an idea of how things went, last year I did close to $100K in sales in small stuff. This year I struggled to get $8K. Last year we had five four-man crews running 12-15 hours a day, six days a week. This year, at the time of my leaving, it was down to two crews, with a lot of equipment sitting idle for lack of work or broken for lack of cash.

(Note: Up here in the north, its a bit different. Landscapers get only 7-8 months to cram as much biz in as possible. And while there is snow removal ops, that is a hit or miss thing for the guys.)

Anyway, Alan, one strategy I heard for small biz guys is to to split your busines up into distinct companies. If you have, say, a design staff, hardscape crews, cleanup crews, and mowing crews, split them off into separate companies that have $250K or less in total payroll.

One other thing you might try; I made it a point to make sure my customers (er, when I had them) knew that my company payed decent wages, that our guys were legal, and that we played square. I found that most customers appreciated that.

I feel for you brother. I a... (Below threshold)

I feel for you brother. I am a Plastering Contractor in California and I feel that way too, that the Government has decided not to defend our borders has put me right in the line of fire. It is as if my business and industry was designated to be eliminated. Maybe thats part of Obamas redistribution plan, to give all these jobs that Americans do indeed want to do to illegal aliens. Lift up the third world by giving away American Enterprise. I hold George Bush responsible too because he had a chance after 9 11 to slam the border shut and did not do it. I always say if the Politicians were getting undercut by border jumpers you could count on the National Guard being there the next day!

Alan,Assuming some... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Alan,

Assuming something like HR3200 passes and you either have to provide health insurance or pay a penalty there are some things you can do. If your average worker pays 500 per month for their own insurance then you might be able to use that amount from worker's wages to provide health insurance. Most likely you'll be able to provide health insurance to your employees for less than they can get it on their own. Obviously, you'll have some employees who won't like that idea (young and single), but if you have a good relationship with your workers and explain the issue then I believe most will agree. For those who don't, then I would pass Obama's penalty on to them as a deduction on their paycheck. If businesses do that it will put some political pressure on congress to re-reform health insurance.

The so-called insurance reform claims to make it easy for small business to join a pool in order to get even better health insurance deals. Also, health insurance premiums taken form employee wages are excluded from federal taxable wages, which is a benefit to workers who pay the most income tax (singles). I don't believe that will change except maybe for the so-called Cadillac plans.

In the end you might be able to provide good health insurance to your workers for less than the $500 per month they now pay, so they won't mind you taking it out of their wages as they will have more disposable income than they did before. Those workers who don't like it will move on, but you'll find new employees who see it as a bargain.

As for illegal aliens working for less, well that's how businesses out source American jobs that can't otherwise be exported. Being the tendency of liberals is to ignore the impact such workers have on businesses trying to do things the right way you may have to make a tough choice at some point. You can fight to continue business the way you do it now, or adopt to the political reality and take a don't ask don't tell approach to hiring the lowest level employees. I know. . . that's a tough decision that goes against conservative principles, but it's not your fault, nor will you going out of business change the facts on the ground.

Small business like yours are the backbone of our economy and the health of the nation can only be as good as the health of small business. Now if we could just get the politicians to understand that

This column is exactly what... (Below threshold)

This column is exactly what I will point to if anyone starts goading me about Rush Limbaugh hoping the president fails.

Alan, How would your business model change if the FairTax was passed?

Bluelight,Our busi... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

Bluelight,

Our business model would not change much under FairTax because we buy so many actual products in the course of doing business, so the increased sales tax on that would negate our income tax savings. However, my employees would be much better off having all that disposable income in their wallets. What an economic stimulus the FairTax would be for our country.

World Citizen,

That figure is essentially an average. Some of our employees are single and pay very little, some even decline to purchase health insurance. But other employees have large families and pay much more.

As for your comment that Canadian, Cuban and Chinese businesses do not have to pay for the health care of their workers... I'm afraid you are missing the point. Businesses WILL pay for health insurance under the pending legislation. This was my whole point. These taxes and penalties will erode my bottom line by an astonishing 30-40 percent. Less solvent companies will utterly fail. Then you will have fewer and fewer businesses paying for governmentalized care... at a staggering cost.

Mac Lorry,

In your final paragraph, you provided the summary I needed in the article. Small private businesses like mine are what make our country what it is. None of my employees have ever set foot in a college. Most never finished high school. Heck, a few cannot even read. But all these men have one thing in common -- they are willing to work very hard. They have made themselves valuable to the company by learning certain aspects of the trade. Most importantly, they are NOT on the public dole, but instead, are CONTRIBUTERS to the tax base. When businesses like mine contract or fold, it hurts everyone in the country.

Alan, you'll have to pardon... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Alan, you'll have to pardon "World Citizen". In their view "free" health care means just that. It's so "free" no one has to pay for it. Doctors, nurses, hospitals and their employees, medical suppliers, technicians...all get "paid by the government". See? "Free". WC has never wrapped their head around the fact that government does not work for a wage and generate income like you or I. Government TAKES from some in order to GIVE to others. Just ask those idiots in Detroit, lining up for "free money".

Sen.Harry Reid D-NV, Nancy ... (Below threshold)

Sen.Harry Reid D-NV, Nancy Pelosi D-CA, are the drum majors who failed in their objective to stifle the E-Verify law, as continued public outcry positively terminated any chance of that? E-Verification is a sophisticated tool to indirectly deport the 20 to 30 million plus from America? What's the good of hanging around, if you are going to be verified through a government data base? Simply put! It has a self-deportation mechanism. It's time to hold your own governments feet to the proverbial fire? US workers should push to make it mandatory for every business operation, so that if caught employing illegal foreigners they should go to prison. Right now the battle lines have been drawn between--THE AMERICAN WORKERS Vs. A MULTITUDE OF PARASITE BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS AND THE OPEN BORDER LOBBYISTS. The public need to know that Opponents have a vested interest in nullifying E-Verify, so they can resume hiring discount illegal labor

Even our law enforcement is under constant attack, such as Sheriff Joe Ariapo's illegal immigrant removal program. Any kind of federal or state legislation is mostly designed to be weakened, so it looks as though our government agencies are working for the US job seeker or even the whole population. Sheriff Joe of Maricopa County, Arizona acknowledged he would finally be ripped away from using 287 G fed law, because its working too good throughout this nation. As citizens and legal residents we must insist of our money-vulnerable politicians that 287 (g) is mandatory for every state and county police agency, that the No-Match-Letter to disclose illegal aliens working in procured US worker jobs and no cut back on ICE workplace sweeps remain in operation indefinitely? The feeble excuse is that Joe is racial profiling, but then we must take into consideration that the whole Southern border has been--ILLEGALLY COLONIZED by foreign nationals, costing states billions of dollars. Such as Obama's Democratic leadership secretly trying to enclose language in the public option health care available to illegal immigrants. In the end we all know that illegal immigrants will wheedle their way into health care, because Hillary Clinton, Diane Feinstein and the majority Dem's cater to them. It's a sorry story when these people get preference over our own people, so it will be a battle all the way? Emergency care! Yes! But not filtering into the American people's one chance at Universal health care?

The feral business organizations have been unable to state that E-Verify is racist or profiling by religion or any other adverse criteria, as this piece of software is unable to discriminate In previous court appearances the ACLU, Council of Foreign Relations, the Associated Builders and Contractors, Immigration attorney Associations, the Society for Human Resource Management, the American Council on International Personnel, and the HR Policy Association, and a mishmash of open border groups has stumped themselves for some way to delay implementation of the E-Verify program? The 15 million unemployed citizens and legal residents now know who are the enemy that we are up against? The American public must stop the demand for the unceasing influx of impoverished labor for these companies?


Everybody who needs to hire illegal labor should be identified, just as large businesses are exposed by ICE agents.
Mandatory implementation of E-Verify should not just for federal contractors/subcontractors are should be propagated for everybody who wields a wrench, a pen, a computer or anything else in the diversified working space? In other words--IT SHOULD BE FOR EVERY WORKER, MANAGER, and SUPERVISOR OR EXECUTIVE IN THIS COUNTRY? The magnet is businesses that draw the illegal cheap job-hunters across the borders into the clutches of exploiting employers. I have heard from countless US workers, who have been dropped to make way for cheaper labor in every category of jobs, including higher career positions. Even day labor sites such as Home Depots, Lowes or anywhere these people congregate should be also verified through an E-Verify portable application. Small contractors or a
American employers should--ONLY--be able to solicit for highly skilled tradesman and proven scientists and engineers, under the eye of government labor departments. Europe has adopted a method of selecting specialty workers through a points system that is also being used by other industrialized nations.

United Kingdom first introduced a point's based system in 2002 called the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). Immigrants can come to the British Islands under this scheme without a sponsor or previous job offer if they can score enough points based on age, education, and past earnings. Australia uses its General Skilled Migration program to attract migrants from across the globe to help alleviate labor shortages, both in trade occupations and highly skilled professional occupations. Canada Potential immigrants can score points based on previous education (both University and Trade school qualifications). New Zealand immigration authorities assess immigrants chances of success based on their occupation and whether it conforms to what the country deems to be future growth areas and sectors experiencing labor shortages. Other countries, such as Germany and France, require a job offer and other stringent requirements for migrants from outside the European Union.

American workers have been paying a price for at least two decades, because thousands of companies had resisted paying for health care? Instead maimed workers especially in manual forms of labor are carted to the nearest emergency hospital for treatment, so the outcome being the employer is resolved from any responsibility and the taxpayer absorbs the medical debt. WHEN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FORCE OUR INCOMPETENT POLITICIANS TO INTRODUCE E-VERIFY AS A PERMANENT ADDITION TO THE IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT ARSENAL, ILLEGAL ALIENS WITHOUT JOBS WILL LEAVE IN DROVES. But their must be substantial penalties for--NOT--using E-Verify, such as heavy fines and prison for many violations.


Internal ICE enforcement on a grand scale must become a daily event, as they investigate violations within the working communities. ONE CERTAIN WAY TO HALT THE ILLEGAL ALIEN INVASION, IS BY CHANGING THE CIVIL LAW TO CRIMINAL AS A CLASS ONE FELONY FOR ENTERING AMERICA WITHOUT PERMISSION AS IN SENSIBLE FOREIGN COUNTRIES?

A new poll by Zogby International has found people across our border believe an amnesty that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants would prompt more people to enter the U.S. illegally, the Center for Immigration Studies (CRS) stated. Another new survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports reveals that 56% of Americans say that federal immigration policies encourage illegal immigration, and 64% believe that local law enforcement should conduct raids in places where illegal aliens gather to find work. Only 19% opposed the raids compared to 24% who opposed such raids back in April.

THIS IS THE MAJOR REASON WE NEED A PERMANENT E-VERIFY, FOR EVERY PERSON WHO IS EMPLOYED? NOT JUST FOR A THREE YEAR PERIOD?

Then we have Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, a Democrat from Chicago, has been on the road most weekends since last December trying to beckon people towards forging a favorable immigration reform package. However, it seems --IF--the bill ever becoming a reality while millions of Americans are without work or given up hoping to find a job, the financial impact will be overpowering--as well as insane. VIEW THE LIST OF LAWMAKERS WHO HAVE SIGNED ON TO COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM AT http://tinyurl.com/CIR-letter-to-POTUS. THESE CONGRESSMAN/ WOMEN WANT TO STEAL YOUR JOB AND GIVE IT TO ILLEGAL ALIENS? KEEP THEM EMBOSSED IN YOUR MEMORY AND UNSEAT THEM WHEN THEY COME FORWARD FOR RE-ELECTION.

Call and blast your Senators and Representative at 202-224-3121 in Washington. Jamming the switchboard with your calls, as it is having an outstanding effect of--MILLIONS of angry voters on legislators. THEY ARE BEGINNING TO LISTEN AND REACT? INFORM THEM TO DO THEIR DUTY OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES ON RE-ELECTION DAY? Tell them you want PERMANENT E-Verify for--EVERY WORKER, a secure double layer fence and--REAL--enforcement against sanctuary state policies. Read undisclosed facts, statistics and lawmakers immigration enforcement grades of politicians at NUMBERSUSA. UNEARTH the corruption in government at JUDICIAL WATCH. Your voice is needed to halt OVERPOPULATION and American Worker survival. Demand NO-MORE-AMNESTIES. They should--GO--home and come through the front door, like millions of honest legal immigrants? Report any irregularities in your workplace to ICE. Be a patriotic American, Whistle-Blower and inform of illegal activity to ICE. Your job--COULD BE NEXT?

hey "Brittanicus" do you ev... (Below threshold)
Marc:

hey "Brittanicus" do you ever have an original thought?

You know one where cut and pastes isn't involved.

"We are an energy-consuming... (Below threshold)
Highlander:

"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," states Alan Orfi.

Unbelievable. Really racking your brain, huh??? Yeah, right. Fool, as you damn well know, you could get one of these things:

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07137610000P?vName=Lawn+%26+Garden&keyword=reel+mower

And once you start using a nonpolluting lawnmower, you'll be pleased to know that your business would be belching less filth into the air for others to inhale! Think about others besides yourself -- can you do that, conservative? Oh, and I'm sad to learn that you fritter your precious life away dealing with one of humanity's least pressing problems -- changing the height for grass. Hope one day you'll get a government job, so you could do something worthwhile.

WorldCitizen is patently an... (Below threshold)
Gary:

WorldCitizen is patently and obviously (besides being brainwashed by choice and dumb by nature) a hate-America-first, far-left loon.




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