The President says we’re soft

“This is a great great country that had gotten a little soft and we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades,” Mr. Obama said in response to a question about the country’s economic future. “We need to get back on track.” – Barack Obama,

Yep. That’s it, Mr. President.  We’re soft. We’ve lost that competitve edge. We need to get back on track.

Let’s see, business is noncompetitive… Yet, during the last two years of my professional finance career, we have been through 6 different audits from 6 different government agencies. (total dollar value found to be owed to the government? Zero). As far as finance managers go, I’m not that weird.

Wow. I wonder what value I could’ve been adding to my company during that instead of creating multiple phone book sized reconcilliations that no government employee will actually ever read. However, if I’d failed to spend hundreds of hours producing these useless documents, we’d have gotten fined and put out of business.

WARNING: I am about to go on an angry tirade about why American business is not competitive. Spare me the useless offended emails about how not all government employees are bad. Dur. Of course they’re not all bad. Many of them are truly awesome people. I’ve worked with many impressive government employees who have conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism…. But even then there are a ton of you, and you’re all up in our business too. And even if you are one of these good, solid, reliable, smart, hard working government employees, you are also probably the first to admit that many of your coworkers suck.

Ask any businessman, you’ll get the same story. Assuming you can make your way through the paperwork process to actually start your business, the fun begins and never lets up. Heaven help you if your business actually does something that might involve a committee of bureacrats somewhere, because then you get to waste lots of time begging for permission to exist.

You want employees? Get ready for the DoL. Better get your EEOC reports done on time (one of the only places left where anyone actually gives a damn what color you are). When I opened my first business, I was rather surprised to discover that I had to contact 5 different state and federal entities before I could hire my first employee. You want to actually build something? Get ready for OHSA and the EPA. The approvals alone will eat up an eternity of time you could be productive. And you’d darn well better make sure you do your quarterly filings with the IRS and your state tax commission, or they will eat you.

And every time you turn around, there is a new regulation. Since there are like twenty different agencies that can screw with you on a whim, you’d better keep up on all of them. You need to know every clause! Not that that matters in real life anyway, because I’ve personally witnessed government employees totally ignore their own regulations and jerk a business owner around, usually through laziness or apathy, because it is easier than just doing their stupid job by the book.

Remember, no actual wrong doing on your part is required. Your company pops up on a list and now you get to spend hundreds of man hours kissing butt and playing fetch the report for a bureacrat, simply to earn the right to stay in business. You can be fined or shut down, all without breaking a law.

Once upon a time, I sent in a mandatory report to a federal agency (which shall remain nameless, because I may have to deal with them again and I know they’ve got at least one spiteful bastard on the payroll). We were in full compliance with the law. The numbers where what they were.

The federal employee did the math wrong when he entered it into the database. We received a warning and were threatened with a huge penalty. It took me (literally) six seconds to see what he had entered wrong. I explained it, and had to reexplain it, and reexplain it, and even sent color coded spreadsheets over, and for the next TWO MONTHS had a terrible penalty hanging over my head…

Because this bureacrat had made a mistake, KNEW he had made a mistake, but it was too much work for him to go back and fix his mistake… In the end there were multiple levels of government supervisors involved, lawyers and independant experts confirmed I was right all along, and still he was grasping at straws to somehow prove that we were in fact wrong, and he was right the whole time (because he had already said so to his manager, who also couldn’t be bother to actually look at the report). This went on and on, with various new odd ball ideas popping up to show how I had to be in violation (because he’d already said so, and it is really hard for him to go back and change that) up to and including accusing me of fraud.

The fraud one really got my goat, because he sent over this gigantic e-mail about “OMG why don’t these numbers match!!!” This one took me literally, and I’m not joking, 16 seconds to figure out what he was doing wrong, and we’re talking some basic Accounting 101 level, are you f’ing kidding me, level math.

Finally after hundreds of man hours of very expensive per hour dicking around, we got it all cleared up, “Oh… Yeah, I guess I did put that in the wrong column to begin with… Sorry. Oh, but since you showed up on the poopy list, next quarter you have to fill out this super gigantic poopy list paperwork that is totally mandatory.”

But at least I never had to deal with that employee again… Because he got promoted.  

Yes, Mr. President, it must just be becasue America is soft.

Let’s see… We’ve lost our competitive edge… Even though Canada’s unemployement is lower than ours because they are actually tapping their natural resources instead of throwing billions of dollars at mythical green energy projects. In the same time period my little company got audited half a dozen times and passed, Solyndra got audited once by Price Waterhouse, failed miserably, and got half a BILLION bucks. One of these things is not like the other.  Maybe we need to start building solar panels, (or donating money and photo ops to the president).

Ken Salazar put thousands of men out of work in eastern Utah with the stroke of a pen. Then they did the same thing in the gulf. Now Canadians are having to hire Americans to fill all their many job openings. Think about that… Canada. Friggin’ Canada is kicking our asses! They were all like, “Hey, we’re all out of jobs, eh? But under our feet is stuff worth money. Maybe we should dig it up and sell it, eh?”

But we can’t do that, because global warming or something. Let’s see, liberals are the scientific ones–they are always quick to tell you–but their response to global warming is mandating energy products that don’t exist, cars that don’t run, and poisonous light bulbs, while we funnel billions and billions of dollars to crappy countries that don’t like us. BRILLIANT!  So, assuming that you guys are totally right on the science (which you aren’t) and that the whole thing isn’t a gigantic scam–like unto eugencis back in the day–to grab up more political power (which it is), the only possible solution to this huge problem is more government control of everything?

The same politicans that have saddled us with millions of pages of regulations, suck up all our time, and harrass us with bureacrats are also in bed with the unions, an institution which made wonderful sense back in ye olde tymes of child slave labor and rat flavored sausage, but now primarily exist to take money from their employees to funnel through their very wealthy leadership to democrat politicians, in order to ensure that the guy that sweeps the floor makes at least $60,000 and has full benefits from the day he retires until he dies in thirty years.

Yes, because that is going to keep you competive, Mr. President!

Look, you’re in a union, and you think it is awesome. Whatever. We don’t live in ye olde tymes. You think your job is treating you bad or your work conditions suck? FRIGGIN’ QUIT. The whole business model of working for one company for eternity and they take care of you until you die? It doesn’t work out in real life. Quit expecting it to. And now the companies that have fallen prey to this mentality are floundering and dying, you are out of work, but your leadership is still collecting dues to donate to the same politicans that ruined everything to begin with. They don’t love you. They aren’t looking out for you. You are a statistic to be used, nothing more.

Despite all of this nonsense your kind has thrown at us, American business keeps on trudging along, being the best creator of wealth in the history of the world, and you have the audacity to say we’re soft? Everything this nation has ever accomplished has been in spite of your kind, you self-righteous academic narrcisst, not because of you.

Not just that, but you say that America is a little soft?  Does this guy look soft to you?

They don’t make soft Marines.

Maybe your golf buddies are soft, and your union thugs are soft, and your legion of academics that have never held a real job are soft, and the societal leeches that depend on the democrat’s perpetual welfare state are soft, but most Americans are not soft.

My best friend and coauthor, Mike Kupari, is deployed to Afghanistan right now. He volunteered to be an EOD tech and defuse IEDs, a stupidly dangerous job, because he is an American who is anything but soft. His first published novel, Dead Six, came out this week, but he’s too busy not being soft to be home to enjoy the fruits of his labors. 

The reaon I think of Mike right now is because I got a long email from him this morning about how depressing the news is from back home. About how everything seems to be falling apart. About how people like you seem fixated on doing everything in your power to drive us into the ground. About how your side wants us to turn into yet another failed, bankrupt, pseudo-socialist, all controlling, nanny state.

And normally I’m the optimistic one in our friendship, but for the life of me I couldn’t think of anything good to say. Because he was right.

I do however agree with the last line of your quote, Mr. President. “We need to get back on track.” Yes. We do need to get back on track. Luckily, we know exactly what got us off the track to begin with, politicians, regardless of party, that believe the solution to everything is more government meddling.  The first step to getting back on track is throwing you, and your ilk the hell out of office.


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