As a business owner, here in the US and specifically Nevada, times are tough, and I am fed up! I know firsthand how difficult it is to stay afloat, even though I have a phenomenal product. Right now, everyday people are suffering, jobs are scarce, unemployment is through the roof, and yet the news and the drivers of public policy do nothing to solve the real problem. What is the real problem, you ask?
Too much government interference, regulation, and red tape! The politicians continually speak of “job creation;” however, all they do is erect more roadblocks with each new “solution.” The truth is the “solutions” are more onerous regulations that make it harder and harder to do business.
When our founders created this great country, they knew that the enemy of prosperity and economic freedom was big, overreaching government. That is why they explicitly and emphatically put so many limitations on government in the Constitution. Unfortunately, over the years’ politicians and liberal (socialist/progressive) jurists have continuously violated these plainly stated constitutional constraints. The result is our current situation of economic hardship.
What people don’t realize is that if business owners are continually suppressed by the government, then they cannot efficiently create new jobs. No new jobs mean less money earned to pay bills and buy goods and services. All this is in addition to the declining value of the dollar caused by the Federal Reserve which results in lower demand and therefore lower production, and so the spiral continues downward.
If you are a business owner, you know what I’m talking about. If you are an employee, stay with me, and let me explain what I have experienced over the past couple of years. But before I do, I just want you to know that most business owners are NOT super rich, they don’t have a money tree in their backyard, and they DO have to work very hard to make their business successful.
Okay, here is a little of what I have had to put up with in the recent years. And note, the examples I will give have nothing to do with competition, management, employee mistakes, or any other regular and ordinary business difficulty. These are only regulation-based attacks.
Over the past couple of years, I have had the IRS withdraw my entire bank balance out of my business account – twice – and then only to have it partially put back after multiple calls, clarifications, and requests by my accountant. Finally, the IRS admitted, after taking about 18 months, that they were NOT entitled to withdraw the money. We did get it all back, but not considering what I spent in accountant fees (which ran in the thousands). Now understand that this occurred out of the blue and with outstanding bills to be paid. How’s that for a little-added stress? Trust me; it was not fun.
The Health Department shut us down. Not for unhealthy conditions, but for not having a “duly approved” “clean room” (the room where our bottles are filled). This cost tens of thousands of dollars to get new plans and changes made. Also, we were out of production for about three weeks.
The SEC investigated my company because of a disgruntled shareholder who had personal financial issues. After a year and a half and tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees and other related costs, the SEC formally dropped their investigation. Then, of course, the State of Nevada Department of Corporations also followed up and later dropped their pursuit, provided we paid a “reasonable” administrative penalty. We did, as it would have cost much more to pay for attorney’s fees.
Also, the fire department comes through every six months or so, checking that everything is up to code. Well, we are in an older building, and the floor plan doesn’t match the original plan from the 70’s. Even though in previous years this was not a problem, they now decided that it was; I suspect this was because the regulators needed to promote their own job security and collect more fees for the government. We had to hire an architect, at the cost of thousands of dollars, to draw up new plans that reflect the current office layout.
We have been audited by the city tax agency and Nevada sales tax agency. Both reviews required significant administrative time, which of course the business must pay the cost to complete.
There have been two independent contractors that have claimed unemployment benefits after the fact. Again, we had to expend resources in the thousands of dollars to defend and put forth our position. Since government agencies are so pro-workforce and anti-business, the duty is on us to prove that the business is “not guilty” of wrongdoing.
We added a new machine at our plant, but it came from Europe. It didn’t have an acceptable UL plate (a plate that is supplied by a testing agency) on it. Due to this, the city government would not permit its installation. We had to hire a company from the east coast, again at the cost of thousands of dollars, to “inspect” the machine and add the proper plate certification.
All of this occurred within the last couple of years! And again, these do not include the typical business costs such as regular machine breakdowns, missed shipments, etc.
You may be thinking that this is an isolated example and that I must be an incompetent business owner, but that simply is not the case. The government is completely out of control and is trampling our rights. Take a look at some of these recent news stories:
A Venice, California, health market was shut down, and three people were arrested. The crime? Selling raw or unpasteurized dairy products! Apparently unpasteurized products, which are considered by many health practitioners to be much healthier and haven’t caused health problems, but “could be dangerous,” are illegal. Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2011
An Amish farmer experienced a similar fate after an FDA investigation when his farm was raided with guns drawn. Again, his crime – selling raw milk to happy customers who were making a free market decision. No complaints, but the possibility of “potential” harm was the justification. Washington Times, April 28, 2011
A successful locksmith, in business since 1975 (family owned since 1956), is closed down by the Department of Public Safety because the owner did not have a post 9/11 qualified manager’s license. No letter, no warning, just you are out of business! Central Texas Telegram, September 18, 2011
How crazy and absurd can this get? Quite a bit.
The National Relations Labor Board (NLRB), an entity of the federal government, sued Boeing because it built a new plant in South Carolina. The reason for the suit: Seattle, Washington, is an unionized state and South Carolina is a “right to work” state. That is, in a nutshell, South Carolina doesn’t require unionization. So now the government can even prevent a business from opening up a new plant in another state!
I could continue with examples all day. The point is this: if our government, the one that our founding fathers feared would become too big and overbearing, continues to over-regulate and suppress business owners and job creators, those job creators will go “on strike” themselves. When they do, then there are NO jobs. We will continue limping along with high unemployment and economic disaster.
The only solution we have, that is, if we want to resuscitate our great country to its former glory, is to get rid of big government. Tear unconstitutional over regulation out by its roots! Restore personal freedoms and responsibility. Let individuals, an employee – employer or producer – consumer, set their own agreements freely without a Washington or state bureaucrat dictating the terms in the name of “public safety or good.” Then and only then will our country get back on track and create the most prosperous place on Earth!
“Capitalism should not be condoned since we haven’t had capitalism.”
Ron Paul – speech to House of Representatives, July 9, 2002
I am personally encouraged by the election of Donald J. Trump as our new President of the United States. As a businessman, Trump understands the damage caused by big government’s excessive taxation, over regulation, and how these policies force businesses out of business and kill job creation.
I am optimistic that President Trump can reign in government abuses allowing business owners the freedom to focus on operating and growing their business and expanding our economy.
By Brent A. Jones
Brent is the President and majority owner of Real Water, the only alkalized water with stable negative ions, President and owner of Real Mixed Martial Arts, and President and Founder of Real Chamber of Commerce, with headquarters of all three based in Las Vegas, NV.