Not to pile on our Beltway Bozos, but W T F? I’m a small businessman (whatever that means), and have been a partner in two fairly successful businesses for over 30 years with the same partners. We manufacture novelty and healthcare products for middle income buyers. We aren’t planning on making the cover of any news magazine or a Forbes list, but we’ve always made money and had as many as 120 people employed in our Brooklyn, New York facilities. We even have many second generation family members working with us.
Everybody was happy.
Now, we have about 50 people and the count is going backwards, because 60% of what we sell is made in Asia. So we’re importers more than manufacturers now, and we hate it. We liked making our own stuff and having a good work environment, but we’ve been forced to cut jobs, farm our products out, or conversely, go under.
I understand that time marches on, things change and all that other cud people spew out, but still. Who should we blame? Did we get stupid and forget how to run a good business?
I think not.
We’ve gotten hammered by forces beyond our control. Unions huff and puff about increased wages, more vacation time, and of course better health benefits. The increased taxes from the city, state and our glorious Federal waste system, have forced us to cut employees instead of hiring new ones. We are in an area euphemistically called a difficult neighborhood for workers to find jobs. I’m not whining, but what we made and sold for $3.00 each is now made in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and beyond, for 50% less.
Don’t even think about asking me what issues this ridiculous healthcare mandate has caused. I have at least average intelligence and I can’t explain the rules to our employees.
Instead of silly platitudes like “I feel your pain” or “small businesses are the backbone of our nation,” just knock it off and join the real world where most of us live. You neither feel our pain or have the actual backbone to work at a job that requires measured achievement. Why don’t you come to any factory at 8AM when most of us begin work, turn on the lights, look at the employees and figure out how the hell to grow the business so we all have jobs. Here is an open invitation to any of our exalted leaders in Washington: If you’d like to try running a business where everything matters and words really do count, c’mon down to South Brooklyn and spend a few days with us. I’ll treat you to lunch.
I hope you don’t mind that we eat and work at the same time. By the way, lose the cameras, this ain’t no photo op.