Reply to my Senator

Senator Mark Warner sent out the following email to me today:

A sobering experience

There has been a lot of talk recently about the apparent gulf that exists between what we're talking about here in Washington and the economic uncertainty that too many Americans are experiencing in their daily lives.

An event I hosted in the Fredericksburg area earlier this week illustrated this economic anxiety in a powerful way.

My office sponsored a federal job fair at the Stafford County campus of Mary Washington University, and more than three-dozen federal agencies were represented -- from the Transportation Security Administration, to the Peace Corps, to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

The response was overwhelming -- literally overwhelming.

As many as 7,000 jobseekers showed-up to speak with these federal agency recruiters, and the unexpected response resulted in long lines and significant traffic congestion. In fact, our event reached capacity before lunchtime -- so members of our staff started collecting resumes and contact information from people who could not stay.

As I visited and chatted with many of these jobseekers, I heard stories from the long-term unemployed and the under-employed -- all of them obviously willing to stand in line -- not because they wanted some kind of hand-out, but because they simply wanted an opportunity to improve their situation and help their families in this tough economy.

After returning to Capitol Hill, I spoke to my colleagues on the Senate floor about the experience. I told my colleagues that the individuals waiting in those lines did not understand or care about filibusters or the other procedural tactics that too often dominate the discussions here in Washington. It is crucially important that we put partisanship aside and get serious about a bipartisan effort to create more, and better, jobs.

My office will host additional job fairs in the coming weeks, because the need obviously is there.

But I look forward to the day, hopefully soon, when we no longer are overwhelmed by the large crowds of jobseekers like we saw earlier this week.

Mark Warner

To which I replied:

Sen Warner,

I just got your email about the jobfair in Fredricksburg and it is truly unfortunate that so many people are un- or under-employed.

If we are truly honest with ourselves, we know that the possiblility of full employment with good, high paying jobs for all Americans is a pipe dream. With efficiencies of manufacturing reducing worker count and the fact that high enough labor rates to count as 'good, high paying jobs' will just force manufacturers offshore means that our traditional ideas of employment are rather quickly morphing into something that we don't know how to deal with.

Is it the job of the federal government (or any government for that matter?) to 'create jobs'? I guess that the government can create jobs and pay for them with revenue from taxes but then the tax revenue needed to sustain this process causes a chilling effect in the private sector.

As a former entrepreneur and employer yourself, how much of your time and treasure was spent figuring out ways to minimize your payments to state and federal coffers? Be honest. NO COMPANY wants to pay taxes and NO BUSINESS OWNER (especially S Corp. owners) want to see their company make big profits, because they know that at the end of the day, much of what they take home will only be confiscated from them in the form of taxes on the business.

Hiring an employee is a big deal, especially when you consider how much it costs to fully fund one person. There are a LOT of deductions out of paychecks and many are paid for by the employer. Health care is huge and gets bigger each year. Some state mandates push up the costs even higher than other states. The threatened government takeover of our health system will ABSOLUTELY cause the costs (either directly or indirectly) to go up. [Please name me ONE, just ONE, federal program that has come in consistently under budget. To expect that health care costs will come down with the Senate or House Bill is a fantasy and it insults my intelligence that Democrats are swearing that it will save us money.]

So, if government hires workers that cannot be fired and likely will never see their job go away and this translates into even more pressure to raise taxes to pay for these permanent employees, what part of that will encourage business owners to start hiring workers?

I also want to comment on something else. As a business owner for almost 30 years, I have NEVER gotten an easy loan for ANYTHING, especially a business loan. Banks want two pounds of flesh for every pound that I borrow, plus personal guarantees, assets greater than the loan amount and leins attached to anything they can attach to, and to top it all off, I must have a life insurance policy with the bank as the beneficiary in case of my premature demise. And guess what? Several loans were guaranteed by the federal government. The banks had NO exposure, yet I was put through the wringer to get the loans.

What I want to know is WHO ARE THE LOSERS WHO GOT 'LIAR LOANS' AND OTHER EASY MONEY THAT JUST ABOUT BANKRUPTED THIS NATION? How did that happen? Why wasn't I ever offered one of these loans? Why are people struggling just to qualify for very low end homes that needs LOTS of work? They have jobs, but how can they ever hope to get ahead? We are not talking about illegals working as gardeners and domestics buying $500K homes on a signature, either. Did any of the fraudsters spend one minute in jail? I have heard of victimless crimes, but this recent debacle created 'crimeless victims'. We are all victims, but no one is going to jail.

I know that laws are virtually never repealed, but there are so so many rules and regulations that effect everything we do, that it makes many not want to do anything. We are the freest country in the world and we can start a business at the drop of a hat, but to cross the line to become a really successful business and hire people is very daunting and frightening.

BOTTOM LINE (and I know with absolute certainty that this will NEVER happen)... get the government out of the way of entrepreneurs and let us revitalize this economy. Most of the jobs that were lost are gone forever. They are not coming back. Large companies were just waiting for the opportunity to prune while the spotlight was shifted elsewhere. The only way we are going to dig out of this hole is to unleash American ingenuity. You want to teach new skills to people? Teach them to run a business. Teach them about money. They will figure out the rest. And I have to say this at the risk of sounding callous: eternal unemployment insurance is not the answer. Some people will NEVER find a job as long as someone is willing to pay them not to work.

Caution: if you teach people about money and business, you will lose your docile constituency. They will start to recognize the fraud and deceit and hypocrasy of our laws and start to fight back and get rid of the dead wood in the Senate and the House. It would be an unhappy time in DC, but it might be just what the Doctor ordered to get us all back in shape.


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