One local entrepreneur is now on strike

To the editor:

In response to Steve Sebelius’s July 27 column, “Naysaying Republicans to middle class: drop dead”:

I was fired in 1978 and have not received a paycheck since. But do not cry for me, Las Vegas, for I am now part of the 1 percent.

As a conservative investor, I kept debt to a manageable level. Today, I own and manage investment real estate. It is difficult. New regulations, designed to convince the public that government is doing something (like solving last year’s problems), have created new problems this year. Have you applied for a mortgage lately?

But I digress,

“Entrepreneur” is what they call people like me these days. At different times I have owned and operated about a dozen companies, including a jewelry manufacturer, a radio station, two equipment refurbishing companies, a couple of food processing companies, a small chain of retail cookie stores, and, of course, my real estate refurbishing and management company. Some succeeded, some didn’t.

But entrepreneurs are not any different than other hard workers. If we do not like our working conditions, if the risks we are being asked to tackle are too severe, if the return (pay) is inadequate for the effort required, we strike.

And I am on strike.

As a striking entrepreneur, I sold or closed my companies with employees. I will not hire again until we have an administration that respects me and my efforts. I will not invest until my government understands it is more important to create an investment climate that encourages risk-taking rather than regulating and taxing it.

Over the years I have employed hundreds, maybe even a thousand, employees. Today, I have none. Not one. I still own my real estate, but I will not invest in a company with employees until the environment for employers, especially small employers, is more reasonable.

Employees bring with them responsibilities and obligations. Forms for payroll taxes require a CPA. Laws govern hours, who you can hire, what you can pay, how much time they can work, how old they have to be, and the sexual and racial mix in the workplace, among other things. This means that hiring is not a matter of finding the best person for the job, but finding the person who fits a profile established by bureaucrats.

As an employer, you have to guide your business through a minefield of rules while exposed to lawyers whose only business is shaking down small businesses against whom a real or perceived violation can be argued. You have to figure out how to comply with a crazy quilt of regulations and requirements. As a businessman, I have endured this government nonsense – OK, there is some value in these rules. The other 95 percent is nonsense.

Our president seems comfortable with the idea that private-sector job creators should take more risk, work harder and earn less so that so many people who have been totally irresponsible – people who have made mistake after mistake in their lives, people who have never made the effort to improve their station in life – can continue to receive government support. Barack Obama talks about fairness, but how can a society where 1 percent of taxpayers pay more than 50 percent of the burden of government be fair? And if you argue that it is fair, how high does that 50 percent have to rise before it becomes unfair?

Whether it suits your political persuasion or not, if you want jobs, entrepreneurs with the capital to invest must be willing to take the risks before a deserving worker can earn a wage. Create a friendly investment climate and the jobs will come faster than we can fill them.

Until then, I and many other entrepreneurs remain on strike.

Joel Silverman

Las Vegas

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