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An Open Letter to Our Politicians From a “Working Guy”
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Dear Beltway Bandits:

In late February, while flipping channels one night, I overheard Chris Matthews on MSNBC declare that President Obama was “promising to tax the rich people in order to pay for health care for the working people.” I’ve since heard this sound bite repeated over and over again by those sympathetic to the Administration.

Now, I have sometimes been accused of taking things literally (my wife, kids, and employees would attest to that). And in this case, I did/do as well. I resent his remarks and others’ too. Deeply. I resent his implication that “rich people” must not be “working people.” In other words, that a business owner (generally considered a “rich person”) doesn’t really work for a living. And if you, Beltway Bandit, owned your own business and made the climb only an entrepreneur knows . . . overcame the obstacles that we all must, then you’d probably find Mr. Matthews’ remarks as irritating as I do.

You see, we DO work for a living. Most of us “rich people” work longer hours than our employees do. We take home more work to do in the evenings than our employees; we work more hours over the weekends; we travel and spend time away from our families, working; and we have enormous executive responsibilities and the stresses that come with those.

And by the way . . . the work we DO, generally is more valuable work, too. We have worked extremely hard to make ourselves more valuable. We made a conscience choice to learn more and keep learning more; to read more; to play less; to develop expertise. And most of us worked much, much, much harder than the “average working person” for years, even decades to create our businesses, master our crafts and skills, build our reputations, and finally put ourselves in positions to harvest our current high incomes. There may just be — oh the horror! — some cause-and-effect to all of this.

We not only work harder than all those we provide jobs for, we also provide nearly ALL the capital and take ALL the risks to create businesses and everything else that provides the majority of jobs in America. Those they see as “working people” create no jobs for themselves; us so-called non-working “rich people” provide nearly all of them.

And as I’ve pointed out in these pages before, we also pay an exorbitant share of the total US tax burden — far, far in excess of the difference between our incomes and those paying less, little or none, and far in excess of our ratio to the overall population and our consumption of “public” services. In fact, data was just released that shows the top 1% now pay 40.4% of all federal income tax, yet earned just 22.8% (source: Tax Foundation’s “Fiscal Fact No.183”, based on 2007 data from the IRS). The top 5% (income higher than $160,041) paid 60.639%; top 10% (incomes of $113,018 and above) paid 71.22%, and the top 25% (income of $66,532 and higher) paid 86.59% of Federal income taxes.

Back to the letter . . .

WE are Atlas already carrying the entire Nation on our shoulders, and you, Beltway Bandits, throw tacks on the road before us and tempt us to shrug. You see, we could go on strike, too — choose to reign in our spending (already being done), choose to reign in our investing in tomorrow’s innovative companies (already being done), and choose to “take time off” while we continue to be antagonized, assaulted, and abused by you. For every one of us who takes this reactionary tract, dozens, if not hundreds, can kiss their jobs good-bye. If you doubt that or it’s a surprise to you, I’d be happy to explain.

I’m getting just a little tired of the attacks against the employers in America (the “productive class” as I called us in my recent FOX Business News television interview). The constant cries of class warfare are more than just bothersome. Somehow, those pursuing a profit have recently become the personification of Evil according to the Fourth Branch of government (the Press, which is showing few signs of profit themselves these days). I’m not sure I can pinpoint when this started to happen, but it’s very troubling for our country’s economic future. Believing in a better future and having a meritocracy in America where anybody can rise up if they just work hard enough is a very valued, yet currently being extinguished, fabric of our culture.

You see, capital is on strike in America because we’re living in economic times where you are openly hostile to capitalism and the champions of capitalism: the men and women small business owners in the economic trenches every day battling to grow our businesses . . . who provide up to 80% of the net, new jobs in this country. Now, we have to battle you, too. It’s not enough for us to battle foreign and domestic competition . . . we now have to take on the ignorant, the condescending, and the fanatically righteous. The people, including you, who no longer believe in that traditional American mantra, “to the winners go the spoils.” No, you’d rather we share the pain, bring us down to the lowest common denominator, and in the process, stomp out all incentives to excel. The last time I looked it up, that’s the very definition of socialism. Government can’t provide ALL the jobs. We need some, competitive businesses still staying open, don’t we? If everybody works for you, than we’re no better than the glory days of the old Soviet Union, and we know how that turned out, don’t we?

Let me give you an example of just one of your latest, many follies: the SBA’s new ARC loans. They are a joke, plain and simple. $35,000 for a small business?!? Are you kidding me?!? This shows how out-of-touch you (our political class) truly is. This is like throwing a cracker to a starving person — he’ll think it’s the greatest food ever, but he won’t last long enough to enjoy a second one.

The $255 million ARC loan program will only help about 10,000 businesses, by the OMB’s estimates (plus having nearly 60% default rates in their esteemed projections) . . . yet BILLIONS go unused EVERY year in other, already existing SBA programs! These programs (like the one we specialize in, the 504) only need slight tweaking to unleash a flurry of job-saving and job-creating activity. But no, ’tis better to create more, unnecessary programs that steal the spotlight, than boringly fix already existing programs. Better to brag to the malleable press that you’re “really doing things” to help America’s small businesses, like waiving loan fees — hoping the all-too-compliant press fails to research the fact that those fees hardly EVER come out-of-pocket for borrowers; they’re financed-in every SBA deal. Now, banks that are providing ARC loans (if a borrower can even find one) are only providing them for their existing, mostly defaulting and desperate borrowers, but are failing to give consideration to paying down credit card debt, home equity debt or line of credit debt — virtually all of which was taken on by small business owners to keep their businesses afloat. Remarkable.

When you total the entire amount that your highly touted Stimulus Bill (now called the ARRA) set aside specifically for America’s nearly 27 million small businesses, it was only 0.08% of the $788 billion. That’s right . . . you did NOT read that incorrectly . . . it was just 0.08% (that’s less than 1%, if you’re someone who slept poorly last night). I find that appalling! Truly appalling!

To put that into better perspective: the new ARC program, alone, was only roughly 1.5% of 1% of what you invested (on our behalf) into just one of our bailed-out companies (AIG). And that $255 million in just that one new program was just slightly larger than the $165 million AIG bonuses of early Spring that you reacted so quickly to (within 48 hours you had passed legislation in the House exorbitantly taxing it, if I recall . . . which either means your priorities are woefully misguided or you can simply pass higher taxes quicker than you can wink). So this is how you expect to stimulate such an important sector of our economy, huh? Amazing!

This feels the same way it did to me when I was in college (and yes, I paid my own way to go — no silver spoons in my family to go around) and late one night on an “L” train, I saw the pan-handler with the bum leg who, by day, begged for money near the university subway station, but who that night, picked his cane up, rolled his pant-leg down over “supposed” sores and nearly sprinted onto the subway platform like an Olympic athlete. It was all a fraud. Magicians call it the “sleight of hand” — look this way, so I can fool you where you aren’t looking. I was shocked then, and if I hadn’t become so cynical watching the jokesters in Washington all these years, I’d be shocked now, too. But, sadly, I’m not.

Many small business owners are NOT taking a family vacation this summer — frankly, few of them can afford it these days and most are too busy trying to “right their ships.” Why you feel compelled to take your traditional “Summer Recess” when these are NOT typical times is beyond me? I think you should be required to stay in Washington until you pass a stimulus bill aimed squarely at helping small businesses, rather than just the old, dying dinosaur businesses. And no, I’m NOT suggesting we need more drunken spending from you. Give small business owners access to funds left over every year in already approved and authorized small business lending programs (I project about $4.5 billion this fiscal year alone in just one SBA program, the 504). Give us (and our employees) payroll tax relief so we can try to recoup what we’ve lost and invest in keeping our businesses afloat. Give investors a massive tax incentive to move their parked capital off the sidelines and into our businesses — that may not quite be what you had in mind when you said you wanted “public-private partnerships,” but it’s what’s needed if you’re going to get anyone but those near Wall Street to participate. Debt capital shouldn’t be your sole focus — we need equity capital reforms, too.

Perhaps you should stop patting yourselves on the back long enough to re-read the Declaration of Independence like I just did to my young children (ages 8 and 6) the other day, as I do every Independence Day. Jefferson very clearly stated, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government.” I’m thinking that time is again, at hand. And if you need me to translate what those austere words mean, like I did to my kids — getting a kindergartner and a second-grader to understand it — I’d be happy to do so. Sadly, I think the rest of what Jefferson said has been the case for us for some time, “all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

You can keep beating up us “working folks,” but eventually you’ll kill the geese that lay your golden eggs. What will you do then? With leadership goes responsibility and no matter how you try to spin it — that this “problem” was the previous guys’ doing — you’re going to get the blame, so it would be wise to heed my advice. I believe it was Margaret Thatcher who once said socialism works until you run out of other people’s money.

Sure capitalism is far from perfect, but I’ve read/watched our free-market economy receive pot-shot after pot-shot for months by you and the compliant talking heads in the media . . . as if we should now simply scrap what got us here . . . to the place of being the wealthiest society the World has ever known. You seem to forget how truly awful socialism has been for many other countries. Those formerly suffering under repressive regimes (often “justified” in the name of “sharing the spoils among all people”) are frequently the greatest defenders of our free-market economy. I wonder why? Maybe first-hand knowledge of its failures, perhaps?

I think it’s time that someone defended the economic system that has served this country so well for centuries. We are still a county where more want to come into, than want to flee — and speaking of learning, whatever happened to those Lear-jet-liberals, I mean celebrities, who were going to move out of the country if a certain President was re-elected a few years ago? Gee, I guess they changed their minds and realized how good they truly have it here, with or without him.

See, you need to understand that capitalism creates an economic environment where businesses must evolve over time or simply become extinct. Yesterday’s “great” company is today’s bankrupt debacle (think GM, Chryler, AIG, many of our biggest banks, etc.). Therefore, your policies should predominantly go to encouraging the creation of fast-growing, innovative companies, not the dinosaurs of business yesteryear. And this doesn’t mean every “mom-and-pop” business with a handful of employees who thinks that $35,000 ARC loans will save them — those businesses probably won’t be adding many of the jobs of tomorrow.

We are perilously close to no longer being the wealthiest country in the world sometime in the not-too-distant future.

We are under-going an economic shift, as I’ve written about previously. Things will NEVER quite be the same as they were in the “heydays” of 2006 and 2007. Our economy is constantly evolving . . . but we have a choice of letting our economy evolve naturally and most efficiently or impose governmental and societal impediments that “channel” the evolution (“well-intended,” as it always is, of course), yet serve to restrain it.

Self-reliance is dying in America. We are teaching, by your heavy-handed actions, a whole generation to look to Big Government to solve our problems. We wait for you to fix things, to improve things. This is highly dangerous . . . as you’ve clearly shown you have no ability to restrain your own spending. If you had to spend less than you take in, like a business owner does to stay operational, you would have long ago quit your racket. Without the ability to “print-on-demand” and “earmark” at will, your power loses its appeal.

For too long in our culture, we have turned to Big Business as the “ideal” — the “good job,” the “good benefits,” and “stable and secure” with a “decent pension.” Those ideals of only 25 to 30 years ago have gone up in flames. Big Business will not save us. Big Government can only engulf us. It is high time we actively push the development of more self-reliance in our society. That means encouraging entrepreneurship. That means telling our young NOT to “go get an education and then get a good job at a big company and work there for your whole working career.” It may mean suggesting that your children (or your siblings or others looking up to you) take some time off from the pursuit of “traditional education” and go get “hands-on” education — an apprenticeship, for instance. It may mean encouraging their creative dreams for how to earn a living. It may mean seeding their first business idea with your capital.

You and I know the parable of “giving a man a fish” versus “teaching him to fish” . . . in America, right now, you’re giving fish out like it’s about to spoil. We need to go back to the basics of how our Country became great in the first place . . . and that means independence and self-reliance, not dependence and central planning.

And by the way, roughly 5 million Americans earn $250,000 a year or more (where you seem to define the “rich”), but no matter how much of our incomes you tax . . . even if you confiscated 100 percent… you simply can’t raise enough revenue to pay for everyone’s health care. Five million paying for the health needs of 300 million? Absurd. Those fifth-graders on TV are certainly smarter than you on even this.

What you don’t realize is that every dollar stolen from me and others like me with taxes, will be retrieved right back from those “working folks” you so desperately, parentally want to protect. How will I do so, you ask? By downsizing companies and cutting jobs, by outsourcing jobs, by not investing in expansion and creating new jobs, and by raising prices. It’s already been happening in anticipation. The last, raising prices, causes inflation (as does your heavy borrowing to finance the supposed stimulation of big, broken, dying companies) and inflation is the biggest tax on the “working folks” there is and the ONLY tax on poor people. Every tax-the-rich scheme costs far more than it gets. Nothing else could come close to the destruction guaranteed by you abusively taxing the rich.

Us “rich” ought to be thanked, daily, for our contributions to our society . . . better yet, we should be encouraged to work at creating and building things, rather than trying to outmaneuver you Bandits in Washington. We’ll be working very hard at that, trust me, rather than what we ought to be working on (using our creative powers to invent the industries of tomorrow). It’s called the Backlash, and it’s been a major reason why the “Stimulus” has been failing so miserably. A plan long on social engineering and short on truly stimulative effects was doomed to failure from the beginning, but that’s what we get when you’re so out-of-touch with the real, daily goings on. If less of you were professional politicians, rather than ex-business owners (meeting payrolls rather than playing with others’ money), you’d understand that better.

Respectfully yours,

Chris Hurn, CEO/Cofounder

Mercantile Capital Corporation

48 Comments

  1. jason ross says:

    i enjoyed reading this.

  2. Jan Drake says:

    Awesome letter Chris and soooo true. I am sending a copy to my Senators and Congressmen telling them this is exactly the way I think. I was the 2008 finalist at the Super Conference in Nashville. We own an insurance agency and are not hiring new employees until we see how this health insurance plays out. Great job!! Jan

  3. Pat Young says:

    GREAT letter. I, too, plan to forward to the legislators SERVING me.

  4. JB says:

    This letter speaks so much truth. Unfortunately, the truly abusive and greedy elite have developed a bad name for those that choose to take life risk for ultimate capital gain.

    And yes, thanks should be given. But thanks should only be taken once given.

    As a business owner, the biggest lesson learned has been that nothing is achieved without having those around me dedicate themselves to my vision.

    Unfortunately, too many of my brethren have lost sight of this, and I believe that Mr. Hurn is inching closer to losing sight of this humility which is important to sustaining success and growth.

    Although I agree with the premise of this article, Mr. Hurn has misguided his anger at his politicians by minimizing the importance of those he employs, which I think is a shame.

    But thank you Chris for a detailed fact driven blog that exposes a lot of what is being ignored by mainstream media.

  5. Bob Fay says:

    You are speaking for a lot of frustrated and dedicated Americans. We are watching the unraveling of our country by a bunch of liberal politicians, many of whom have never worked outside of government. They are the career politicians who make every decision to preserve their own jobs. I hope you and others will yell loud and clear that enough is enough. We need term limits to flush all of them out of office and replace them with people who know what it is like to work hard for those dollars they seem so anxious to want to waste.

  6. eric says:

    If only this message was getting through to the right people. This administration should be ashamed of itself …. Chris Matthews…does anyone actually listen to that simpleton?

    Keep up the good work…you are sending the CORRECT message. Taxing the the ones that work harder and create opportunity is going to have serious consequences…to the negative for the entire country. These people should be praised but the signal being sent by the administration is counterproductive and cowardly!! Without those who embody the true spirit of entrepreneurship, those risk-taking businessmen and women who create opportunity and those who take ownership for making things happen in this country without pointing their finger elsewhere, those that are truly responsible for many of the great changes that take place and benefit America from the top down (and their direct supporters who appreciate them and respect their contribution to society)..this country is nothing more than a vast pool of under-educated, misguided, under-achieving, needy consumers who are just waiting for hand-outs from a derelict body of non-problem solvers that are completely irresponsible, corrupted, unaccountable & completely off track…yes the U.S. Government..complete with all of its newly appointed czars & chieftains…true captains of the sinking ship we like to think are representing our best interests! Wish us all luck.

  7. Bob Staniforth says:

    You are right on the money. The frustration level is rapidly rising. Also, there is an all out assault on the community and regional banks in this country by the regulators. Hold on to your hats. Remember Savings and Loans? Remember the RTC? Let capitalism work. By the way, in your company, who is the last person to get paid when times are tough?….been there brother…BS

  8. Dan Durney says:

    Chris, this was an amazing letter. I look forward to sharing it with some others as well. – Dan D

  9. Dan Hannah says:

    As usual Chris you put pen to paper or in today’s world key stroke to screen with such clarity that maybe just maybe the Beltway Bandits will be able to follow your thoughts. By keeping your comments under the length of the congressional bills that they do not or cannot read nor fathom there is a chance and only a chance of understanding. Thanks Chris.

  10. Tim Saunders says:

    Very nicely done, Chris. It’s everything I’ve wanted to tell them myself.

  11. Walt Cameron says:

    Chris,

    I would like your permission to air your comments on my radio show sometime in the near future.

    I think American needs to hear what you have to say. We could even have you as a guest on the show….talking about this and how you overcame hurdles and obstacles in the successful pursuit of achieving your own American Dream

    I could not have said it better myself, and, on my soon to be syndicated weekly Radio Show, “Our American Dream”, I am constantly railing against Obama essentially ignoring the two most important things needed to get the economoy on the path to recovery…..that is provide guarantees to local banks of lines of credit for small business who have seen their lines reduced by banks to lessen their risk. The effect of that has been to force small business to layoff workers because they can’t operate without adequate LC’s…especially as their Accnt/Receivables are paying much later…..normally 30 days are now going to 90 days and longer. Second, Obama needs to put more stimulus dollars toward retiring bad debt, such as mortgages….residential and commercial. As you know, the regulators require banks to put up cash reserves of 3 to 4x the amount of the bad loan….those funds are frozen and can’t be used for loans.

    Anyway, our country is in trouble because Small Business employs the vast majority of Americans….and if Obama wants to reuce the 600,000 lost jobs each month, he better start with Small Business.

  12. Charles Brandt says:

    Very direct and to the point. Your thoughts are from a business owner’s prospective and should provide a “moment of truth” for congress. I fear that this will fall on deaf ear’s as congress is so out of touch with reality.

    Keep up the great work that you are doing.

    Regards,

    Charles Brandt

  13. Bob Davis says:

    Chris – a well articulated summary of what we are facing in our country today. I’ve read that the end of a democracy comes when the population realizes they can vote themselves the national treasury – and that’s exactly where we are with the “entitlement” mentality that exists today. You summed it up in an excellent fashion – your letter should be required reading for all of our numbminded bureaucrats! Thanks for sending. Bob

  14. Paul Ferruzza says:

    I must agree with your blog… I think if you haven’t seen Rush Limbaugh’s interview with Greta on Fox it’s a must see… he talks about Obama with his chip on his shoulder with not being proud of his country, only bitterness.. stating reparation does not go far enough… in your example above about the 5 mil “Rich” paying for 300 Mil people, he carries it one step further,,, all workers earning $75k per year must have 100% of their earnings confiscated to tote the note,,, so the American Dream is dead under his theory,,, no incentive, no production,,, the fall,,,, other points in your blog are sorry to say too accurate, Jefferson very clearly stated, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government.” I’m thinking that time is again, at hand…” The sleeping lion( silent majority) must be awakened,as I see quivers starting to surface,,, but if this man gets his programs passed now on the table, we will join the Roman Empire in the bowels of History…

    Lets get the 504’s Cranked to max and use the seed productively to educate the complacent,,,

  15. Mike Seeley says:

    Good article Chris! Unfortunately they won’t have the attention span to read beyond the third line!

  16. Edw says:

    Mr. Hurn,
    I read your story so I think I should be entitled to say my side too… I am a business-man like you, and a lot of the things you said in your letter were obviously off… for example, you said if you confiscate all the pay of the 5 million richest, it wouldn’t pay for 300 million people’s healthcare. IF the top 5 million only made 250,000 (and they don’t), that would be $4,166 per person, and if our healthcare was non-profit, it would cost less than $3,500 per person. All joking aside… If those earning more than 250,000 paid an extra 1%, that would be $2,500 per year. Each American pays $1,444 per person on corporate welfare (that nobody ever seems to complain about because they’re cowards), so if we stop the corporate welfare, we have more than enough to pay for a non-profit system. If a soldier is willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, corporations should be willing to give a smaller sacrifice of giving up all profits during times of war (but instead corporations usually make more during war, and cowards don’t say anything about it). Cowards complain about the second bail-out but not the first bailout. Cowards complain about voting on the healthcare bill without reading it, but didn’t complain about the patriot act being signed without reading it. Cowards don’t realize that FREEDOM without RESPONSIBILITY is a watered down form of Anarchy. All they think about is themselves, and not their fellow man, not realizing that if their fellow man doesn’t have healthcare, and winds up bankrupt (only in America) because of it, and copes by drinking, and drives down our street, and hits our child, it affects us. I BELIEVE WE SHOULD ALL BE RESPONSIBLE AND HELP OUR FELLOW MAN. Too bad Americans don’t realize that the first Americans put what they produced in the Commons House and took out what they needed. The Greedy corporatists that teach us to be like them, knowing that they can make sure that most can never climb the ladder, and share the wealth that they earn off the masses, have taken our attention off of real role models like Jesus, Ghandi, Mohammad, and the likes. It’s strange that most of the cowards don’t direct any complaints agsinst the parasitical insurance industry. The ME, ME, ME mentality is stranger when you consider that those same people want their parents to have their Medicare, and believe that VA Healthcare is good enough for the Vets that risk their lives for us, but not for them. There are some sick ignominious, puscilanimous reprobates our there, aren’t there ?

  17. Chris Hurn says:

    “”Edw” (since I don’t have your name) –

    I don’t disagree with some of what you’ve said, but I’m afraid you’ve overly-simplified it. There are a lot of “if”s” in your argument. Each American doesn’t pay $1,444 per person for corporate welfare – nearly half the working populace doesn’t even pay income taxes for that matter. My point is that a very slim minority is being taxed overwhelmingly for the majority and not only does that disincentivize them, but it’s patently unfair. I don’t use the public “services” more just because I pay for more of them… so I’m pretty sure I’m already doing my “civic duty” to my fellow man. I also have always provided health-care for my employees, not because I was forced to do so by some bureaucrat, but because it was good for my business from a recruitment standpoint. Businesses exist to create profit. Period. They don’t exist to “provide jobs” or to “give back” – owners of businesses have a fiduciary responsibility to do more with less when they can (something populist politicians often fail to understand when they rail against outsourcing, for instance). The owners of those businesses should be allowed to decide where to “sacrifice” and donate some of their profits (when they want to) – and the research clearly shows that American businesses are the most charitable in the entire world (I’ve chosen to give mostly to veterans causes for years, for example). Your analogy of the “fellow man” going bankrupt with no health care so he’s driven to drink and commits manslaughter is a typical “straw man” argument. No one forces you into the welcoming arms of alcohol when you lose your job. Another point of my blog post was about self-reliance. I think it’s time we have more of that. A responsible person who loses their job comes up with ways to make themself more valuable in our society (to someone else or to the marketplace as a whole) – they don’t automatically “throw the towel in” and get drunk. If they do, they deserve what little they get. There are certainly “cowards” out there, no argument from me here about that, but there are plenty of well-read people speaking out against “government creep” and that is what the protests in townhalls all over the country are about. A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take anything from you, as the old adage says. Insurance companies are certainly not angels, but neither are our politicians who have created an environment where little competition even exists for health-care, especially for small businesses.

  18. Hakim Aziz says:

    While this letter dealt with some issues that are beyond dispute there are others that are clearly open for dispute. I fully expected the rantings and ravings of some right winger spewing hatred without any substance. What I received was a different and good perspective.

    Right now this nation is about 12 trillion dollars in the hole and you can’t just gloss over that fact or ignore how we got there. We’re in the middle of two losing wars, one of which bankrupted the former U.S.S.R. and seem to have us headed in the same direction. Why are we so far in debt and still have so many problems that require money? Where has all that money gone and what could we have purchased with it if wiser people had been in charge? The Taliban told Bush that if he gave them direct evidence of Bin Laden’s involvement in 09/11 they would hand him over. It seems to me that providing them that evidence would have been considerably less expensive than the route Bush decided to pursue. Why bring up war policy in the midst of a conversation on economics? I brought that up because it was those dumb decisions and other similar ones that brought us to the point of needing stimulus and bailouts in the first place. For eight years a regime sat in the white house that didn’t know or care about how to run this country. Their agendas for being in power didn’t come close to coinciding with the wants and needs of the people in this country. The majority of the population seemed overly patient while this regime reaped havoc on this country that will be felt for years to come.

    As someone who knows his way around the mortgage industry, you know that the real bandits of this foreclosure crises have gotten the least amount of attention. I’m talking about the people who decided to peg an adjustable rate mortgage to indexes that only seemed to keep going up. In other words how much have you heard about the creators of these exotic mortgage products and why they created them? Common sense should tell anyone that if you increase someone’s mortgage every six months, sooner or later they’re not going to be able to afford that mortgage. This “hands off” approach just doesn’t work unless it’s going to coupled with some steep penalties including prison time for offenders. Those mortgage lenders, brokers, servicers, etc were permitted to push things to such an extreme that the person responsible for paying the mortgage was forgot about. The whole residential mortgage industry was about everybody getting paid and to heck with that poor homeowner.

    As far as what made America the richest country in the world, some would argue that slavery was responsible for that. I’ve heard arguments on both sides of that issue and there’s a compelling case to be made for having some people work for free for over 300 years gave America an advantage far ahead of other nations. If capitalism was practiced in it’s true form where the best talented went to the top, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re presently in. We got here largely because we don’t have the best minds heading a lot of these companies. Why else do so many of these corporate heads have to cheat to stay ahead? That good ole boy network needs to be rooted out and destroyed but no one including yourself is talking about that. I’ll be happy to provide you specific names and companies if you need them.

  19. Jerry Levinson says:

    Don’t try and confuse our politicians with logic and reason.
    Instead of sending the letter to unaccomplished and inexperienced people such as our President why don’t you send the letter to the people who voted for the unaccomplished and inexperienced Politicians?
    I wrote a blog once on the “Selfish Patriot” It’s a story of how a rich guy purchased a house he will only live in 2 weeks out of the year. Most would call him a selfish rich guy, but I named off all the people who made money building this selfish bastard his house. The real estate agent, concrete layers, framers, carpet, counter tops, drywall, paint, landscape, and most important of all Window Coverings.
    These people used that money to go to the restaurant and support the local guys. They gave the waitress a nice tip. She went to the movies where the pimply faced concession kid sold her popcorn. He used the money to put gas in his car, and we all know that selfish rich guy owns the gas station.
    This is the Readers Digest version.

  20. Everte Farnell says:

    Good stuff Chris!! How you can keep such a level head when talking about this stuff is beyond me. (When I start the bar room thug I used to be comes out and it all goes down hill from there.)

    Anyway, these nit wits are going to drive us into a collapse of our entire economy. When that happens, It’s people like us who will have to do the work “cleaning up their mess” as our good president likes to say.

    But like I told someone today, until the government services offices are empty of people, and Americans are willing to take responsibility for themselves and refuse government ‘hand outs’ because they lead to slavery, we are destined to the scrap heap of history. Not because government wanted to take care of the people, but because the people let it.

  21. Meg Fuhs says:

    I’m forwarding to my Senators and Congressmen as well. So many thoughts I could relate to. I felt your pain. Very well written. Meg

  22. Michael Sabler says:

    Chris – well written and abundantly true. Small businesses built America and continue to be the backbone of innovation. Throwing money at failing banks, automakers and programs based upon averse selection versus solid qualifications makes no sense and brings negative return on capital expenditure. Countless innovators today are seeking capital to expand and create jobs are reaching dead ends since funds are going to pork and failing companies. Not only do our government officials need to read The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution; they need to take basic economics to learn the law of supply and demand.

    Note to government: if a company can not find capital from market funding sources(including equity investors and hard money lenders) the company is a BAD RISK and you should not risk taxpayer money to fund.

  23. Don Stark says:

    Wow this was such a refreshinging and alarming letter.
    True, True, True and I have never been so upset with our mindless board of directors (Congress) and their response to the CEO of over 500 corps (Obama). Do we let him get away with this because of his color? Is he using this as a way to keep us from complaining? Will he just buy us a foreign beer??? not even a good american beer.
    I am constantly amazed at the length and breadth of this horrific president and the passivity to it by our elected officials…
    Sorry if this is ranting….. But America is being stolen without even a shot being fired.
    Thank you for this great article, I will retweet, post email and send to all my 3200 contacts….
    Go Chris….
    Thanks

    Don

  24. Larry Frank says:

    Very good Chris, I will thank you for being a business owner! Chris ever though about being President of the SBA!! P.S. just a thought??

  25. Sheila Spangler says:

    Chris:
    Thank you for saying it so well. I like the idea of forwarding to our elected representatives. Have you sent this to Obama yet???!!!!

    Nice work.

    Sheila

  26. Tony T says:

    Thank you for the great article, i am sure you are on the right track.

  27. Chris Hurn says:

    JB – I think that’s awfully condescending and pedantic of you to presume I’ve nearly lost sight of my humility. I’m the first one to always acknowledge the importance and exceptional work of my great staff. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for their contributions. We also profile our staff considerably in our monthly newsmagazine and in upcoming videos, which you can watch on our YouTube channel: http://www.YouTube.com/504LoanExperts. Apparently I’m doing something right, as my staff has anonymously voted us “Best Place to Work” in Central Florida in the small business category for four of the past five years in our local business journal. No other firm in Orlando can lay claim to such a consistent honor. And I give thanks daily… so you’re welcome to criticize our confidence (we have a LOT of it as we believe we’re the best at what we do), but there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. I don’t believe we’ve crossed it, nor will we.

  28. Chris Hurn says:

    Walt – I’d be honored to come on your radio show. Please send us the details at (info@mercantilecc.com) and we’ll try to make it happen. Thanks for the offer. Hope I don’t disappoint!

  29. Dr. Perry Faison, J.D., LLM says:

    I had a chance today to sit down and read your blog. My response to you is that we as Americans are a free society that believes in a free capitalist market. That free market is now under seize by our own federal government.
    I am sure this is not the change the American people wanted. We at Northern California University have been trying to buy a building in California to expand with no success. The Angel Investors and no other lender will not lend. Why? Because they are all afraid and we the entrepreneur suffer. Great ideas are being lost, as this country’s entrepreneur has been shut out in favor of the auto industry, the banks that don’t lend and the special interest groups that have the ear of the administration. For the banks and the Congress to help us , we the entrepreneur will have to make noise like the Americans at the town hall meetings on health care reform. Thank you for your voice. I hope other private lenders and investors will listen and get involved “the rope is around our necks the only thing left is to “kick the chair from under us”.

  30. Boyd Cochrane says:

    Chris: I scanned this because I do not have enough time right now to study it in detail and I want to get my resppnse back to you ASAP which is I completely agree with your positions.

  31. eric says:

    As stated in Edw’s blog: “If a soldier is willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, corporations should be willing to give a smaller sacrifice of giving up all profits during times of war (but instead corporations usually make more during war, and cowards don’t say anything about it). ” (EDW says above)

    My response: What??? Are you living in our same democratic, free enterprise system? We have been in war for like 7 years..companies should just work for the sake of it just because the president decides to squander our hard-earned tax dollars overseas??? No profits? Why is this even offered as a solution??? With that mentality there will be NO future for this country!!

  32. Nikos says:

    Nicely said Chris. Hopefully politicians are paying attention but I don’t think they can handle logic, and well thought out arguments.

    I honestly hope that Atlas doesn’t shrug because then our country will be a scary place indeed.

  33. W D Waite says:

    Chris:
    Nothing speaks louder than facts and you came in loud and clear. You should run for congress in your district. We need more business owners, people that have made a payroll and understand cash flows to run our country. We the people deserve better !

  34. Braudis Lee Pegram says:

    Hi Chris,

    You’ve made some good points. It looks like, from the diverse comments, that you’ve really struck a nerve, or rather brought emotions to bear that illustrate just how diverse or shall I say, divided, America can be. We Americans disagree with such fervor!

    THIS is the real problem. In our emotion and division, we lose sight of a very important issue: America. Instead of America, many of us focus on our special concerns and/or our political positions, as though this country was just originated and Obama was our first President and this is our first Recession and the “Big Car Companies” and “Big Banks” were never small companies and small banks or in otherwords, those companies were never once entrepreneurs just like we are now.

    Although I may not agree with all of the Administration’s methods, I can understand the reasoning behind SOME of them: Big companies can keep and hire more employees. More people working, saving here and spending there, sounder economy. After the economy is sounder, back to lending. I’ve oversimplified it, yes, but anyone whose been alive for the last 21 years and ever been employed or has family that has been employed by ANY big company should surely grasp the underlying prinicples.

    NONE of us alone can resolve this crisis, but economically, we ALL need to do what JFK said “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. And as hokey or new age as it may sound, we really need to ask ourselves, despite our differences, WHAT DO WE REALLY WANT FOR OUR COUNTRY? Once we focus our Intent on this question we will begin to productively move toward the answer, and America at large, will be better off.

    NO, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN MAGICALLY! But look at all the negative energy! Constant doom and gloom everywhere! And this is from the leaders! Republicans, Democrats! Is there no wonder followers echo? How can positive fruit rise up from all this negativity in the soil?

    One of the commentators said that America was being stolen… America can’t be stolen. But it can be given away in gestures of uncompromising anger and barrages of destructive criticism. There’s an old saying (paraphrased): “One person can cast off a thousand problems, but two in agreement can cast off ten thousand.”

  35. C.Hobel says:

    Chris- Sadly your wisdom and insight falls on the deaf ears of the lowest life form. the entitled elite. you alluded to jefferson. Time is coming shortly where all the words in the world will not fix the abuse of power that the government chooses to take. there are 2 ways to rid ourselves of these assholes. 1. by violence- full scale armed takeover. 2. purposely refuse to comply en mass with any federal taxes- irs- gathering.

    what we need to do is make being a govnt official a lowly position ie- decrease salary- no pension- cant make it career oriented. it should be like jury duty. get everyone in office out- impeach all of them for treason vs declaration of indepence etc… have mass elections- anyone running cant have any previous post as a govt official-i think no lawyers would be another good call cause most of them in there now are ex lawyers. we need to get joe football involved in politics and sam the barber. ie regular ppl and i would also decree that ppl could tap heads of business to be advisors and like jury duty /civic duty you’d have to advise for atleast 12 mos. so we’d have smart ppl like warren buffet- steve jobs- donald trump .

    thats my 2 cents

  36. Scott Alvarez says:

    I read your commentary and I get it. However career politicians don’t because they fly at an altitude so high above the real world and daily grind their perspective is oblivious to what it takes to make things work at ground level.

    The same way bailing out GM, Chrysler or Countrywide only delayed the inevitable, let them keep dishing out Trillions, taxing (out the wazzoo) those who still have jobs, and reward laziness. My belief is things will have to get worst, before they get better.

    I cannot believe the cash for clunkers program took US tax payer money and issued $4,500 incentives which could also be used to purchase foreign cars. Japan benefitted more than the U.S. because they sold the most cars.

    Too big to fail was the excuse we got for throwing ten’s of billions at companies who needed to fail. The back bone to the American economy has forever been small business. Should we stumble there will be no emergency congressional session to lend a hand.

    I wonder if the office supply stores in D.C. sell special calculators…..because none of mine know what do with a figure approaching the Trillion dollar mark.

  37. Tony Miller says:

    By the way, your editorial to the “Beltway Bandits” this August was spot on. Maybe you should run for office. You would get my vote.

  38. Ron Key says:

    I got your newsletter today and I read your article about “an Open Letter to Our Politicians” I thought it was terrific. I think you’re singing to the choir – you said everything that I believe in and I just hope there’s more people out there like you and me who feel that way, because I’m concerned about the direction our country is heading. I’m in the commercial real estate business so basically, we’re straight commission – we’re entrepreneurs – exactly what you were describing in your article and everything you’ve said is what I’ve said to other people. I hope there’s more people out there that feel the same way, otherwise I just think we’re heading down the wrong path. You’re probably going to get a lot of comments back – I just wanted to take the time to say that I thought it was a terrific article and I’m gonna pass it around. Thanks – talk to ya later.

  39. Steve Massell says:

    I just received the July/August newsletter and read it cover to cover, first attracted to the article on Timothy Ferriss, continuing through your rant on Washington. Before the downturn, I too was one of those high earners and hard workers…now I’m just a hard worker. But after 23 years in the business, and 3 generations, I know it will come back.

  40. Patrick Clarke says:

    I just read your newsletter and I just wanted to commend you on a great job well done. Very inspiring — in the essence of someone speaking out against our government, who is obviously going down the wrong path. Just an enjoyable read – I’d just love to get on the bandwagon as far as support, so thanks again for getting something out of this caliber. I mean, obviously every industry is hurting, small businesses are definitely hurting, which is ours, and I appreciate what you’ve said in there and it makes a lot of sense. Again – great job – love it! Thanks!

  41. Jim Anderson says:

    This letter was RIGHT ON. I sent it to a number of people. July/Aug. Vol 6 Issue 51.
    Your Newsletter is very good.

    If the gov’t. only knew how many people are on the sidelines from the real estate business and building industry.
    Many of the people not making money in this market aren’t even in the gov’ts unemployment numbers because they’re not eligible.
    Independent agents, contractors, and entrepreneurs.
    Framers, masons, landscapers, roofers, electricians, plumbers, etc. are not working because nothing is being built or sold.
    Banks aren’t lending.

    And the people that make the windows, carpet, faucets, toilets, drywall, lighting fixtures, and on and on, aren’t working.
    We need to wake up the people in Wash. To the fact that nothing happens until they get off our back.

    Keep up the drumbeat.

  42. Joseph Koss says:

    Just got your latest newsletter and just wanted to compliment you on your terrific letter. Boy, you hit the nail on the head. Well written and exactly what we’re thinking on our end here. I appreciate this little note you put together.

    Joseph Koss
    Culver Franchising System, Inc

  43. Kevin McEwen says:

    I just finished reading your “Open Letter” in the most recent MCC newsletter…

    Thank you!!

    I want to stand on the rooftop and scream it at the top of my lungs.

    It is brilliant!!!!

  44. Robert Liebeck says:

    I’ve read this open letter to lawmakers. Great read, and I forwarded it to one of the State Senators, in Niagara County NY.

  45. Anthony J. DelVacchio, Jr says:

    I read your letter, and YOU ARE SO RIGHT ON POINT. You so eloquently voiced the same thoughts I have had for quite some time now.
    The logic of what you say screams so loud, isn’t it a wonder that so few seem to get it? Thanks for your push toward saneness.

  46. Ben Glass says:

    This letter is brilliant.

  47. ny unemployment online says:

    I figured i’d throw my two cents in on your An Open Letter to Our Politicians From a “Working Guy” page as i feel there are a few things that need to be discussed. At a time when the official unemployment rate is nearing double digits, and 6.35 million people are receiving unemployment benefits, the U.S. government is on a hiring binge. Executive branch employment 1.98 million in 2009, excluding the Postal Service and the Defense Department is set to increase by 15.6 percent for the 2010 fiscal year. Counting benefits, the average pay per federal worker will leap from $72,800 in 2008 to $75,419 next year. Some of the Feds’ hiring increases have been stunning. If you look at the four-year period from 2006 to 2010, the number of Homeland Security employees has grown by 22 percent, the Justice Department has increased by 15 percent, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can claim 25 percent more employees.

  48. Chris Hurn says:

    Thanks for comments. That was written in August of 2009, but I stand behind my comments. You stats may be facts, but you must remember that when the government hires, it either borrows those funds to pay for their “hiring” or it taxes to pay for their “hiring.” Either way, it isn’t creating wealth . . . that is it doesn’t add productively to the economy. It’s taking from one sector (the private) to pay for the enlargement of another (the public). It would be an expense in our “Federal Income Statement” and their future benefits (healthcare, pension, etc.) would be a liability on our “Federal Balance Sheet.”

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