Visiting a Sick Friend

Craig Covello
September 29, 2010 Posted by Craig Covello craig@hollywoodrepublican.net

You may have noticed that the articles I usually publish all have a similar format. My normal style is to research a specific topic, highlight important points, deliver a political  analysis or opinion and close with links to sources.  This morning, however, please allow me to make a slight departure from this format and give you thoughts regarding the health of America’s business climate.  Be forewarned  that today’s concerns are not accompanied by Wall Street Journal statistics or GAO projections.  They are based purely upon anecdotal evidence observed yesterday.

As many of you know, I enjoy flying airplanes.  You might consider it my prescription-strength mid-life crisis antidote.   The trade journals know this as well, because my inbox receives several virtual pieces of e-mail each week filled with news related to the aviation industry. Yesterday afternoon, one of these newsletters reported that Piper Aircraft has announced their intentions to lay off  60 employees in Vero Beach Florida.  Steve Johnson, Piper’s vice president of human resources was quoted as saying “people are just not buying high-end, luxury goods right now, and airplanes fall into that category”.

I would normally take this in stride, because the private airplane manufacturing industry always has its ups and downs.  But yesterday’s news seemed a little more ominous in context.

You see, the Piper layoff announcement came on the heels of my visit to the Honda motorcycle dealer earlier that same day.  I was in search of an oil filter for my XR650L, which is another mid-life crisis prescription to be taken daily, per doctor’s orders.  This Sacramento dealership has an excellent pharmacy in the form of a parts and service department, and I’ve been going there for years.  Actually, its laid out more like a casino than a hospital because those in search of a cure have to walk between all the motorcycles in the showroom in order to get to the parts department.  This deliberate geography must snag a good percentage of motorcycle sales as customers stroll past cruisers, rockets and dual sports on their way to buy a $12.00 oil filter.  That’s why I go there in person instead of ordering by mail.  I go to look.  Occasionally, I buy.

But over the last 18 months, I’ve noticed that the number of bikes in the showroom have steadily declined. Yesterday was a low point, as indicated by a sign taped to the glass door. My immediate impression was that the dealer had gone out of business, but the sign’s message read otherwise. They had simply moved to a new location across the parking lot. My brief sigh of relief was short-lived, however, after seeing the new digs. In a word, they were depressing. There was a “new” makeshift showroom, which now displayed only one motorcycle, and that bike was used. The parts department was also downsized by about 75%. Not very impressive in that it resembled something you might see at a Saturday yard sale. And the employees standing behind the counter put off a vibe that mirrored the dark mood of the 1964 movie classic “The Pawnbroker”. Rod Steiger, resurrected from the grave, could not have made this cast any more depressing. In fact, today’s trip was metaphorically akin to visiting an old friend in the hospital with inoperable cancer. This dealership has been reduced to a mere shell of itself and I don’t expect it to be around much longer.  It is a ghost.

So what does any of this have to do with politics?  Simple.  The White House has been killing small business.  You can smell this disease in the air.  Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid  and the rest of the liberal progressives currently in power have spent considerable energy preaching and encouraging class warfare.  Apparently anyone economically successful in this country is now considered to be the Democrat politician’s personal ATM machine. That includes small business owners.


The specter of the looming 2011 tax increase is justified by some liberal politicians under the erroneous assumption that escalating rates on incomes greater than $250,000 will only impact about 3% of the country, the so-called “rich”.  Here is a reality check. These progressives are lying through their teeth.  Raising taxes on income exceeding $250,000 is not targeting the” rich”.   It dampens about about 60% of the economic engine in this country.  That engine is called “small business”, and it has the power to either hire people, maintain the status quo or fire people.  Those decisions are not casually made.  Business owners must take the long view in order to survive, and they are influenced by our government’s negative attitude towards building wealth in this nation.

Threaten them with significant tax increases.  Warn employers of unfunded, mandated healthcare.  Institute federal policies which diminish the capital credit markets.  Burden them with bureaucratic regulations.  Denounce the traditional view of free-market capitalism from the desk in the Oval Office.  Tell Americans that they have consumed too much of the planet’s resources and that it’s time to settle for less in their lives.  Proclaim that Americans must now redistribute their wealth to other nations as a form of “social justice”.  Then step back and see what happens. Sales decline.  Inventories shrink.  Manufacturing plummets.

And who gets punished?  Here’s a clue.  It’s not the “rich”.  It’s the employees in America’s private sector who lose their jobs.


I know, because I did not see many of them yesterday when I was visiting a sick friend.


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One Response to Visiting a Sick Friend

  1. Billy Dean on October 1, 2010 at 6:40 am

    You are right on the money man. I operate a small business but I don’t make the 250 thousand but I’m scared to death. I see the way these people in the white house and congress think and I think they are after me, they are after anyone that has anything. You better cut back and save your money and I’m obviously not alone. I have cut all my big orders. I’m buying supplies on a weekly or at the most monthly basis.
    I just have a bad feeling about the economy. I see everything the government is doing as wrong. Like most small business people I’m independent and hard headed, just ask my wife. I don’t like being told what to do. I have almost canceled my health insurance everything time the bill comes in since they passed this Health Care mandate. I say they can’t make me buy health care, it just pisses me OFF!!! I’m not in the rich group but I’m in the well off group as in everything is paid for, I can quit tomorrow and be just fine. If they push me around, raise my taxes and make me buy an expensive health care plan, that’s just what I’ll do!!!!

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