President Obama and Small Businesses

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English: View of the east end of the Ithaca Co...

At http://washingtonexaminer.com/55-percent-of-small-business-owners-would-not-start-company-today-blame-obama/article/2509069#.UGNK8q4yfCZ is a story revealing that 55% of small business owners would not start a business today, and that they blame President Obama for that. Democrats love to claim that “We are for the little guy,” but the small business owners with whom I have talked agree with the 55% in the poll. One owner of a flower shop told me that his business prospered best when Mr. Reagan was president, and that he is barely holding on under the Obama administration. The main reason is the poor economy–and this is something that cannot be wholly blamed on Mr. Bush, although he shares part of the blame. Mr. Obama has been in office for three years, and his massive spending of federal money has done no more good than did Mr. Bush’s massive spending. The “economic stimulus package” may have helped some businesses and educational institutions, but much of the money did not go to “shovel-ready projects,” as Mr. Obama claimed.

What is needed for small business to prosper is (1) a lessening of the regulatory load the federal government imposes on business, (2) a reasonable tax rate that does not overburden small businesses, (3) an end to the corporate welfare that favors large corporations over small businesses in a given community, and (4) higher tariffs and other ways to lessen the trade deficit and to stop outsourcing of American jobs. The Republicans agree with the first three factors–they need to follow Pat Buchanan and agree with the fourth. Still, three out of four is better than the Democrats’ zero percentage.

If the Obama Administration were only an enemy of large multinational corporations I could stomach that. They hold an unfair advantage over small businesses and often out-compete mom and pop operations by city, county, and/or state officials giving them large tax breaks. But the Administration has revealed its hostility to small businesses as well through heavy regulatory and burdensome tax policies. The massive spending of federal funds that has blown the federal budget deficit out to astronomical proportions helps keep investors nervous and helps keep the economy in a chronic recession. If a Republican were president, much of the media would be telling the truth which is that the United States is in a depression. The true unemployment rate that includes those who have given up trying to find the job approaches 15%. In some counties unemployment approaches 30%. The poor economy means that people have less money, and their lack of funds means that they spend less money–and small businesses, which are often more expensive¬† than large corporations, suffer first as customers seek cheaper products. The combination of poor sales and increasing capital resources to pay taxes and for renovations required by the government smothers small businesses. The economic ramifications of a second Obama term would most likely result in the ruin of many other small businesses.

On “Diversity Training”

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Marxism's last stand?

Many public and private schools, colleges, universities, and businesses have mandatory classes in “Diversity Training,” usually taught by a diversity or multicultural officer. Some of this trend may be due to federal requirements (and in some states, state government requirements).

Now teaching employees about religious and cultural customs when they have co-workers from different cultural backgrounds can be useful. For example, the Nashville, Tennessee area has a large number of Iraqis, including Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. If a company hires people from more than one of these three groups, it is useful to educate employees on how to avoid conflicts or diminish conflict between people of different backgrounds.

The vast majority of diversity training is politically motivated and has been from the beginning. “Diversity training” to some multicultural officers focuses only on “traditionally underrepresented groups,” and creates a culture of entitlement and resentment in members of those groups. “People of color” and “Hispanics” are emphasized, while different religious faiths (other than Islam) and Asians are de-emphasized in such courses. The white male is considered the most evil entity in society, and they are automatically grouped into the class of the “oppressors.” In some classes white students have been asked to “confess” their racism, sexism or “homophobia.” Failure to confess such can lead to negative consequences, such as an unsatisfactory mark that could result in a student expelled from a college or university. Women, minorities, and homosexuals are always labeled as “the victims.” “The victims” can never be racist or sexist–only white males are in that class. The lesson of the splendid movie, “Crash,” that people of all backgrounds have their prejudices, is lost on many diversity trainers.

Multicultural officers sometimes say (and I have heard one state this) that they are concerned with “social justice.” Translate the term “social justice” as “socialism,” and you will get the meaning. “Social justice” is interpreted in Marxist categories of oppressed and oppressor. White males become the new bourgeois, and every other group becomes the new proletariat. The proletariat must transvalue the values of the bourgeois, and this means abrogating freedom of speech. One is only allowed to speak the narrative of the diversity trainer. Any deviation from the Puritanical norm of the politically correct will result in punishment which can be being thrown out of school as a student, a professor being dismissed, or someone who has worked faithfully for years at a business being fired. The rules of the politically correct multiculturalist are as follows:

1. Western civilization is evil and oppressive.

2. Only males can be sexist.

3. Only whites can be racist.

4. Social justice = the social platform of the Democratic party.

5. Believing that practicing homosexuality is morally wrong is homophobia and hate.

6. Refusing to acknowledge one’s hidden racism and sexism is a sign of moral turpitude.

7. Saying anything negative about feminism is a sign of moral turpitude.

8. Bringing up crime statistics regarding race automatically makes a person a racist.

9. If you do not believe that the majority of women in colleges and universities have been raped at least once in their lives, you hate women.

10. If you are opposed to abortion, you hate women.

11. If you do not believe in Great Society programs, you are a racist and a hater.

12. If you oppose affirmative action, you are a racist and a hater.

13. If you defend teaching Western Civilization over World Civilization, you are a racist, a sexist, an ethnocentrist, and a hater.

14. If you are politically conservative, you are a hater.

15. If you criticize President Obama’s policies, then you are a racist.

16. If you criticize Michelle Obama, then you are a racist and a sexist.

Those are only the ones I can think of at the moment. There are many more rules, and it is difficult for anyone to know he has violated one (oops, I just violated one — if anyone uses “he” to refer to both males and females, he/she/it is a racist and a hater).

Diversity training is liberal propaganda. Multiculturalism is anti-Western propaganda. It is past time to halt such training or reformulate it to include teaching about the customs of actual cultures to avoid offense (for example, do not remove an icon from an Eastern Orthodox Christian’s room). Higher education is particularly suspect to such madness given its strong left-wing bias. There are schools who have not bowed to Baal, but they are fewer, and given government policy, under attack. The best route for those schools is to aggressively raise private funds and refuse to participate in the federal student grant and loan programs. A school that rejects federal aid entirely (such as Hillsdale College) can have the independence to be able to avoid the b..l…t of Marxist diversity programs.

The Prom and Wedding Racket

July 7, 2012

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Prom couple

Prom couple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my minor regrets in life is not attending my high school prom. At the time I was in a Fundamentalist religious group that opposed dancing, I was too shy to ask anyone out, and I did not have the money to go anyhow. Then, in 1980, the prom was a nice event and students dressed up for it, but it was not the ostentatious showy event the prom has become today.

My wedding was on a modest budget. My wife bought a beautiful white dress that served as a wedding dress. I wore my suit and tie. Church members made the wedding cake. It was a nice wedding, and even though it was not fancy, it was just as much of a wedding as one in which a family paid tens of thousands of dollars. Weddings like mine are becoming rarer, with a slew of wedding planners out there to make sure that families spend as much money as possible, and wedding shops willing to take their money.

A prom is a special event, but it is basically a date to a high school dance–a special date, for sure, one that is a great complement to the one who is asked. It is fair to expect those attending the prom to dress formally. In my days a suit and tie was acceptable, although some better off students would rent tuxes. Now proms have become rackets in which attendees demand the best dresses and tuxes in order to keep up with the other students. Shops who rent and/or sell prom outfits are quite happy with the new arrangement. Instead of being a nice date, proms become a way to show off and “keep up with the Jonseses.” The prom then becomes an ostentatious event for middle class parents to show that they can dress their child just as well or better than their neighbors. Poorer students who wish to attend the prom may pressure their parents, already strapped for cash, to rent expensive outfits. Acceptance is so desired by high school students, and this will trump common sense almost every time. The winners are the businesses that make million of dollars exploiting the immature insecurities of parents who are often no more mature than their children. Prom clothing is even marked by the year, like cars–“These are the prom dresses for 2012.” “God forbid that we’re a year out of date.” The parents will make excuses about elegance and how it is so good to see their child dressed up so nicely–I do not know how much of that is sincere and how much is male bovine excrement. I think it is more of the latter.

Weddings have become a racket as well, with families often spending ten thousand dollars or more on them. The money could be better spent in the form of a check to help the new couple get an easier start on their own. Instead, families must scrape, plan, rehearse and rehearse, buy the fanciest wedding dresses, buy or rent the fanciest bridemaids’ dresses, in order to feel superior to their neighbors–“Oh, did you see the Smith’s wedding. Her dress wasn’t half as beautiful as what y daughter is wearing.” The silliness of it all is humorous to watch, and the makers of wedding outfits are laughing all the way to the back. Businesses have a right to solicit business, and if they appeal to man’s baser instincts, it is not their fault that people yield to their baser instincts and buy more than they should need. I do not know how many times I’ve seen a family spend tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding, only to see that marriage dissolve in divorce less than a year later.

Sometimes it amazes me how much many American people are suckers.

BUREAUCRACY, EMPLOYERS, AND TRUST

October 26, 2009

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Bureaucracy cover art

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Susan, 55, has worked for a corporation for thirty years. Most of the time, that corporation was small, and even upper management was able to visit most branches of the business. For years, her vacations had to be approved only by her immediate supervisor.

One day, Susan gives her request for three days’ vacation to her supervisor’s new secretary. The secretary glances at her request, returns it to Sue, and gives her another form. “You need to fill out this form for vacation requests. They must be approved by both your supervisor and your senior manager. Susan protests. “In the past I’ve always given my request to my supervisor.” The secretary waves her off and says, “No paperwork, no vacation.” Susan walks away, furious, feeling powerless, and almost in tears–but she fills out the form anyway.

Most of us, if not all of us, must deal with bureaucracy in some areas of our lives. We may work for a large organization with a complex bureaucracy. We may have to deal with banks, electric and water companies, and other organizations that provide the necessities of life. Most of us find ourselves frustrated at bureaucracy in our lives. Why is that the case? Is it just a matter of the time it takes to go through person after person on the phone before we find help? Is it a matter of the loads of paperwork we have to fill out? In most cases, those reasons are adequate. But when it comes to dealing with bureaucracy in our workplace, as in Susan’s situation, there may be a more fundamental reason.

Most people recognize the need for complex authority structures as organizations grow. There must be a clear hierarchy and clear procedures for business to be accomplished; otherwise an organization would function poorly, and perhaps fail. But there are cases in which a bureaucratic structure can interfere with good employer-employee relations. The problem is a matter of trust.

No employee wants to work for a company she does not trust. Corporations require some level of trust to encourage loyality and hard work. But a corporation, without being naive, should trust its employees. Management should not assume that the employees are essentially lazy and “out to get” the employer (as in Theory X management). This will only result in a hostile work force.

Adding layers of bureaucracy, especially with a lack of good communication with employees, sends a clear message to employees: “We do not trust you.” For example, in Susan’s situation, upper management apparently changed policy on vacation requests without informing lower-level employees. Susan may think (and she might be right) that such action reveals a fundamental distrust of employees (“we’ll do this without consulting our workforce; this is an executive decision, and the workers can find out about the new policy as they make vacation requests”). Such action may also reflect a belief by management that employees will take advantage of their vacation time.

Now Susan may be wrong about all this. Management’s decision might be related to a desire to know when workers will be on vacation company-wide in order to discern patterns and make appropriate plans. And the lack of communcation might be due to the slowness of communication in any large bureaucracy. Even if that is the case, we can understand why Susan is upset–and why we would most likely be upset in similar situations.