Should Success Surrender?

February 22nd, 2013

Since the fiscal cliff vote at the beginning of the year, I’ve spent a good deal of my time trying to figure out how to lawfully keep my taxes as low as possible.  It’s quite a task.

After the initial shock of it all, I at least felt some comfort that the worst was over.  President Obama had his pound of flesh.

Or so I thought.

Now Obama again is demanding more taxes from mostly successful small business people.  He still doesn’t believe they’re paying their “fair share.”  Currently, the top 1% of all wage earners pays about 40% of all taxes.  That seems more than fair to me.  Evidently, he still doesn’t believe it’s enough.

I wish he’d just end this torture and tell all of us exactly what he thinks is “fair.”  Half your money?  Three fourths?  What is it?

Whatever it is, I think there is little doubt that those of us who bought into the whole American Dream thing are starting to look like suckers.  I know in my case, I didn’t grow up “rich.”  I worked hard and paid my way through law school.  So did many of the people who went to law school with me.  Now, instead of serving as a positive example of what can happen in America when you work hard and play by the rules, we’re being cast as the villains.

I’m particularly concerned with small business.  Big corporations will always do just fine.  They always find a way to cut a deal with whoever is in power to get what they want.  By contrast, the average person, who took risks and built a successful business, doesn’t generally have a lobbyist handy to look out for him.  That’s why whenever taxes go up on the “rich,” it’s never the Nancy Pelosi’s of the world who have enough money to live like a queen for the rest of her life.  Instead, it’s the man or woman who operates a business and takes risks to meet a payroll that ends up paying the piper.

When workers want to make a statement that they’ve had all they can take of mistreatment at the hands of their employers, they go on strike.  Perhaps it’s time for small business to do something similar.  Maybe they should close one day a month.  Remind Americans exactly the good things these entrepreneurs do for our country.  There’s that old saying that “you don’t know how good things were until they’re gone.”  Maybe we’re at a point when the country needs to be reminded that lots of good (like jobs) come from these people.

Since it looks more and more like a smaller and smaller number of people are expected to pay for the growing government, perhaps at least a little pat on the back or thank you wouldn’t be too much to ask.  Maybe if you pay those high taxes you could be allowed automatic access to the fast TSA line at the airport or permission to drive in the HOV lane even when you’re alone in the car.

Who am I kidding?  That’s never going to happen.  That would be considered “unfair,” too.

Maybe the only option left is to just surrender . . . throw up the white flag.  That doesn’t mean paying all those high taxes.  No, just relax.  Stop and smell the roses.  Enjoy life.  Quit working so hard and beating yourself up with all the stress involved in running a business.

At this point, I think we can either fight or surrender.  There’s really no good option in between.