Sunday, November 11, 2012

The American Dream: We're Not the Bad Guys

Mark and I in 1982
with two of our kids
My husband and I started a business in 1982 (paid 18% interest to get the start up money from a second mortgage!) Over the next 25 years we worked our behinds off through good years and lean. My husband sometimes worked 60 hour weeks. We took risks, We suffered and succeeded. We finally made enough income so that I could stop working in the business and follow my dream and write. We created jobs for dozens of people who became our friends. That's the way with small businesses. The employees often become family. We dance together at weddings, celebrate births, and support each other when we go through hard times like cancer or loss.
We sold the business to two of those employees in 2007 but my husband still works there part time (it's hard for him to cut the ties to those people he cares about--one guy has worked for us 25 years.) 
But you should have heard the despair in that office after the election. Desperate talk of who they were going to have to let go because of health care changes and the anti-business philosophy that is being coddled in a desire to find a scapegoat, a philosophy that punishes success and growth. Of individuals and couples. Of fellow citizens that are doing nothing wrong but following the American Dream.
Mark and I in 2011
Businesses and their owners are not the bad guys. They should not be punished for working hard and creating jobs and stability for their employees. It's like the president of Olive Garden said before the election: if things get worse for business with more taxes and high-cost health care, he was going to have to cut his workforce dramatically. He is not alone.
I fear we're going to see the predicted (but obviously ignored) inevitable become reality. Businesses will have to tighten their belts and lost jobs will be rampant. And then those who want to punish entrepreneurs will call out, "But wait! This isn't what we wanted."
But it's what you were told you would get. You just refused to listen.
I'm praying hard for our nation. And for all those who still dare to pursue their own American dream.

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