Let’s Go Into Business

I want to be your partner. Here’s the deal.

You put up all the capital and I put in nothing. You provide all the labor and I provide nothing. I will tell you the minimum wage you can pay your employees. From the wages they earn, I will collect a percentage.moneylink

You will have to comply with the edicts I make on all aspects of our business from 1) the types of products you can sell; 2) the materials that are to be used and, 3) how to dispose of the waste.  I have laws and regulations that you will need to follow covering everything from plumbing to lighting and more.

Every year you will pay me a percentage of your sales regardless of whether you make money or not. If you don’t pay me I will fine you and, if necessary have the authority to imprison you. From time to time, I have the right to raise or lower the amount you have to pay me.

Should you leave or sell the business, I automatically become the partner to whomever you sell the business. If we are successful and sell the business at a profit, I will charge you a fee (call it a capital gain fee) on the price of the sale. Sound fair? Ready to deal? If you already own a business you know who I am.

I’m Uncle Sam.

Sound ludicrous, doesn’t it? And people wonder why we have close to 100 million people out of the labor force.

Bernie Sanders is leading the charge to solve this malaise by offering more “free stuff.”  How does he plan to get and pay for it all? He’s telling you the answer in advance: from his business partners, of course, who are going to be less than delighted to fork even more of their money to their partner (a/k/a the Federal Government by way of the IRS).

The fact is that neither candidate on the Democrat Party sounds as if he/she truly understands how business works; therefore, they continue to ask for more and more money from private business owners.

Currently,  the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Because of this, the largest and smartest companies shield their revenues and assets from the U.S government by creating offshore entities. They then book their revenues through these stand alone enterprises. Such  maneuvering shields them from having to pay U.S. taxes. So, the tax burden then gets shouldered by smaller and smaller enterprises who are unable to get the same treatment, or concoct the same schemes with government acquiescence, that larger companies can.

It is easy for a multinational corporation such as Google to move much of its revenues off shore since much of their transactions are global. But the local restaurant, whose customers are within a 100 mile radius of their location, are unable to do the same. The IRS would never allow a local entity to park its assets offshore.

So, the freebies that Bernie Sanders plans to give away will come from this already overburdened business class.

It is easy to see by the demands and promises that Bernie Sanders is making that he has no real understanding of, or connection to, the business community and the Herculean efforts small business owners make to succeed at their ventures. This disconnect between big government and the small business owner, and the adverse effects it has on the nation as a whole, can be understood by an example within the medical field.

When I was younger and played sports, I had many injuries that required extensive physical therapy. I had several shoulder injuries as a result of many years on Aikido mats. This happened because when I threw my opponents to the ground, I failed to connect my torso to my shoulders. As a result, my shoulder would become stressed. Instead of moving in unison with my torso, the shoulder moved separately and bore the entire stress.

When I then needed physical therapy, I encountered physically healthy people who had been recommended to physical therapy by their mental health practitioners. They were directed to physical therapy in order to connect the body back with the mind. Most of these were white collar professionals who had long stopped using their body properly and suffered mental issues. The physical therapy was a way to connect the body back with the mind.

This whole notion of working the (literal and figurative) body and mind together for matters of wellness and wholeness applies to everything we do…from physical injury to business to politics: the same principles apply.

The Democrat candidates for President are promising more free stuff without any idea of who pays for it. This disconnect is causing turmoil and sickness to the body politic. Over the last few weeks, there has been increasing aggression at political events and agitation by the citizenry over fear and confusion for the country’s political and economic future. The business class is upset due to its declining margins as well as the demands of the political class for more and more money. Instead of working together to grow a larger economy where all can benefit, business owners know that the proposals from Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will, to the contrary, kill their businesses once and for all.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton need more of a connection to small business owners and the realities of operating a profitable enterprise. If they had that connection, they’d never be touting more free stuff. Then again, if the didn’t tout more free stuff they’d never be the top two candidates for the Democrat Party’s nominee.

Now there’s logic and a very good reason to vote Republican… if case you need one.




Setbacks As Opportunities

I blew out my knee when I was seventeen. My body was thrown right, my left leg locked up and I shredded my knee. I tore the cartilage along with the ligaments. Instead of playing football my junior year, I missed the rest of the season and was left with a joint that was permanently damaged.


I ended up in a lengthy rehab where I learned how to stretch. Really stretch! If it hadn’t been for that injury, stretching would not have become part of my daily practice. After that type of injury, scar tissue builds up in the injured area and the only way to dislodge and break it down is through extensive stretching and physical therapy. It was through this process that I learned to love stretching. I loved how stretching changed my body and made me much more flexible and lithe. The benefits I found were not only physical but mental as well. As the body stretches so goes the mind.

As I got older, I suffered a second knee injury which led me to Pilates, a type of workout that adds flexibility to the body, improves posture and strengthens the body’s core. I was instantly hooked. Pilates combines the element of stretching along with strength training. Again, a setback led me to a new way of working out that I doubt I would have found had it not been for that injury.

Still a glutton for physical training, I took up martial arts and for many years trained every day in Aikido, a Japanese martial art which focuses on utilizing your opponent’s strength against them. Through this practice, I wrenched my back and dislocated both shoulders. This lead me to further my knowledge of the body. This time the payoff was classes in both Yoga and Gyrotonics which helped repair my shoulders.

These setbacks with my physical body helped me to adapt to setbacks I have suffered in my professional career. My physical injuries helped me learn to become resilient and helped me to look at setbacks through a different lens. In my financial career alone, I went through four major upheavals where thousands of employees were laid off, departments cut and careers terminated. I have held numerous jobs in numerous fields and have had to constantly adapt and upgrade my skills to stay current.

Because of all the upheavals, personally and professionally, I have had to reinvent myself many times over and upgrade my skills while taking jobs in fields unrelated to finance. I have suffered through periods of unemployment. However, I have always managed to create income in my life because I have created a skill set and mindset to do so. I have not been immune from experiencing failures or humiliation but I have come to accept these as part of the process.

We live in a time where we celebrate success to such an extent that we fail to realize that defeat and failure are the mother of invention. The creation of the Pilates method itself was born during Joseph Pilates internment as a prisoner of war by the British during WWI. Rather than become depressed, he worked as a nurse helping war veterans, and during this period experimented with the use of levers and pulleys from hospital beds to create a new form of exercise. Thomas Edison view of failure is poignant as he did not see things as failure but rather opportunities to do things differently.

I imagine many people today are questioning their sanity and belief system given their financial situation in the last seven years of under-performance by our economy. There are currently over 90 million people in the U.S not in the work force. With a media unwilling to report the true nature of our economy, it must be vexing to the average American to understand the economic landscape they are living in today.

The current economic doldrums not only affects the middle class but the wealthy as well. Robin Williams, prior to his death, lamented that given his economic predicament he had been forced to go back to working in sitcoms, a platform he loathed. Wall Street as well, over the last few years, has been rocked by numerous suicides due in part to the economic pressures people found themselves buried under.

None of us is immune.

It is only by understanding and going through the struggle that we come though more resilient and compassionate for our fellow human beings who may be struggling with predicaments much worse than our own. Compassion for ourselves and others combined with a healthy dose of hope and “can do spirit” goes a long way to surviving any downturn…physical, emotional or financial.