One small business owner is worth a thousand politicians

February 9, 2009
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Common people have common sense. Ancient civilizations such as those in Rome, Egypt and Greece were not brought down by the common citizens. They were brought down by their leaders. Leadership for them was made up mainly of mental defectives, at best.

Big business, big labor and big government have led us to the edge of the abyss. What would have made us expect otherwise?

Common people are not blinded by greed and ambition. In order to survive in a common person's world, adult thought patterns are required. Consequences can be harsh for failing to be aware of one's surroundings and watching one's p's and q's.

So what happened?

People who are rich and powerful, especially in New York and Washington, D.C., lose all touch with reality. They suffer from a mental illness. Riding in a limousine and being waited on hand and foot eventually causes a person to believe he or she is special.

Once these people lose contact with the common people, they tend to drift into a dream world. They become so insulated that, like economists, they begin to question that maybe what did not work in reality would work in theory.

What it takes to become a powerful politician is counter to what it takes to be a pragmatic and decisive business owner. The same is true of big business and labor leadership.

Being a gifted suck-up does not indicate any capability to accomplish practical goals. Try to imagine Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank or Harry Reid running a company. President Obama has only shown the capability of getting elected. Not one of these people is a leader.

Who can resist the appeal of a promise to take the income of your neighbor and give it to you? Leadership is telling you to get off your dead ass and go to work. These leaders function in a world that does not deal well with competence. Reality and competence are annoying; a good fantasy is fun.

Do you know what deep doo-doo we are in if Obama turns out to be nothing but a pretty sight and sound?

So what happened on Wall Street? It was like mating season among the elk in Northern Michigan.

Every fall, bull elk in Northern Michigan lose their self-control. When the pheromones hit the air, the bulls become mindless searchers for the only worthy goal a bull elk can have: a female elk. On Wall Street, it was the smell of money that got into the air. Some humans react to the smell of money in the same primitive way animals respond to smells during mating season. They have an uncontrollable urge that a normal person cannot comprehend.

All you wanted was that your 401(k) plan would provide for your years after work. That's all they wanted too — except they wanted your 401(k) plan and everybody else's that they could get their hands on. They are special, you know.

I have to admit that they deserve the same fate a bull elk suffers while he is rutting. Hunters depend on the rutting seasons to make the elk more vulnerable to a slug through the heart. Prosecutors should pursue these parasites with the same vigor elk are hunted.

So what's going to happen?

Small business will survive, but it won't be easy. Did you notice that the employees whining the loudest are the ones who retire at 50 with lifetime health care? The government is going to take money from the people who work until they are 70 without benefits, and then give it to the people who have worked the least but have been given the most.

I wonder if the government would bail out the DeVoses or the Van Andels? Probably, but only if they lost everything in a mindless attempt to get even richer.

Small business is the future of this country. That is true now more than ever. One small business owner is worth a thousand politicians. Business owners will have to work harder to overcome the greed and incompetence of New York and Washington.

To seal my point, the new Secretary of Treasury, the chair of the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House, and the nominee for Health and Human Services all cheat on their taxes with impunity. This is great country: When you get to the top, you cease to have to be a decent person.

At least, that's the way it will be until we do something about it.

Paul A. Hense, CPA, is president of Hense & Associates, a local accounting firm. He also is past chairman of the National Small Business Association and of the Small Business Association of Michigan.

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