I listened to your speech last night. I’ll admit before anything else, that I didn’t watch all of it. I saw the final 20 minutes. I’m sorry about that; I just really needed to make a Costco trip.
Of the section I did hear, I wanted to mention a part that I really liked and, I will admit, even caused me to get goose bumps. When you spoke about families finally having the privilege to say to their loved ones serving in our military “Welcome home”, I agreed wholeheartedly. That, Mr. President, is a mission we can all agree on.
Now, when you were speaking about taxing the rich and providing health care and college opportunities to those who would not normally be able to have them, I understood the notion. It is nothing new to view the world through a lens of “fairness”. After all, the millionaires do have some money to spare, why not use it for good? They don’t need to be so selfish with it.
The part that caused me some confusion was the very next section when you spoke of the “go getters” and “achievers”.
I am glad that you support those people. I am glad that you want the average American to succeed. But Mr. President, what happens when they find that success? You spent a majority of this section demonizing the successful millionaires and their wealth, but how did they get that wealth? I don’t know too many people who are millionaires who became such by accident. I would be willing to bet that almost all of the successful business men and women who are very wealthy achieved such status by being the very definition of a “go getter”. Sure, there are some who inherited their wealth or maybe even won the lottery. But these are the exceptions, not the rule.
The confusion, Mr. President, lies in this: you encourage me to become an “achiever”, to use the help of the government to become successful but what happens when I make it? Will you then demonize me in your political speeches, making me out to be some greedy bad guy because I simply did what you told me to do? Isn’t that like telling your daughter she can achieve anything she wants but then disowning her when she finally gets there? I am not so sure I enjoy the trade-off, Mr. President. Either you support me and my dreams to be successful, or you don’t like the idea of success at all. Not sure there is middle ground on this one. Perhaps you can offer some clarification?
You mentioned Steve Jobs in your speech as someone we should aspire to be like. You also suggested rather forcefully that “Wall Street” was one of the villains in this economy. Yet, didn’t Steve Jobs’ Apple Company one of the most notable players on Wall Street? Isn’t Wall Street full of successful “go getters”? I understand that the dishonest and greedy and selfish Ponzi schemers deserve to be punished, but what about all those who earned it? What about Gates, Disney, Ray Kroc (McDonald’s) and the countless others who earned their wealth the right way? Are they evil? They are the ones who make the jobs, why should they be punished? Or demonized? I might need some clarification on this issue as well. I hope that will be alright.
Also, you did mention you wanted to help create jobs. I think that is a great idea. But the question is the area where you want to create these jobs. Let me preface my question with the basics of how I see the economy working. Forgive the simplicities, but I don’t want to make this too complex for this short paragraph.
I open a restaurant and serve food. You come in and buy my food. You then tell 10 friends to come see me and eat my food. I like this as it brings me business. With the uptick in traffic, I hire Susan as my chef and Ronny as my server. They are happy because they have jobs. I’m happy because I can grow my business and be a good boss while proving better services.
You want to create jobs by building roads, bridges and other government specific jobs. I am OK with these jobs to an extent. I drive on the roads and want them to be maintained and nice. But in truth, they don’t really provide a sellable service. To pay for these new employees, rather than just using the current ones you have, you have to take more money from my restaurant. I have to pay their wages and their benefits. My profits shrink, but I want to help the economy out so I don’t complain. Unfortunately, the shrinking of the profits doesn’t allow me to keep Ronny as my server.
Ronny is now on Unemployment which causes my profits to shrink yet again. But I like Ronny, so I won’t complain. The downside to that is Susan has to take a pay cut to stay with me. She now pays less in taxes and qualifies for government assistance because she falls below a certain income level. This causes my profits to shrink more (as I pay into the government assistance programs) and I have to close my business. Susan and I now are both on Unemployment and now the government is receiving nothing from me, my business, or my employees. Three people are out of jobs and no one gets to enjoy my good food.
Correct me if I am wrong, for I certainly am no expert on this issue, but doesn’t it cost the tax payers more to hire people for government jobs? Wouldn’t it be better for me to keep my profits so I can employ more people who then pay more taxes? I can then expand and grow my business and the government reaps the rewards of my success. As my profits grow, that percentage you take from me also grows, right? Isn’t that the “arithmetic”? Again, I’m sorry if my confusion is inconvenient for you. I want to understand.
Oh, one last thing; if my parents want to invest in my business and/or success by lending me money, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. Mr. President, please leave my mom out of this.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to your response.