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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Inauguration Day Madman

February 4, 2009


New Small Businesses as a Part of the Answer

There aren't that many ways for us to get out of our prolonged Recession/mini-Depression slump. The economic stimulus/ recovery package now working its way through the Senate is, however, one of the few options which might work, and it will take time - lots of time - to see what its end result will bring.

Let's all keep our collective fingers crossed in anticipation.

One thing the new economic/ recovery plan doesn't take into consideration, however, is one of the main strengths of the American people: aggressive perseverance.

I'm not speaking of the type of Bush-like aggression perseverance that has taken us into two wars and alienated us from many of our allies (now former-allies) in the world. I'm speaking of the kind of that presents itself as the ultimate in economic risk-taking: self-employment.

If it's true that competition is the best medicine for any commercial society, then it's aggression and perseverance that puts the teeth into it. Sure Coke hates Pepsi , but the mom and pop store on the corner hates Wal-Mart even more.

And we're ready to take them on!

Self-employment and small business start-ups should be used either as an alternative or addition to the new economic stimulus/ recovery plan being put in place. But there are prerequisites which need to be put into place first.

We need to make sure that everyone has health care. No one is going to leave a job, or spend money on creating new jobs without it. When the average American looks into the future and sees him- or herself in their own business, they don't see it without health care. And while the plan which President Obama is pressing for includes health care financial aid for those who have lost their jobs, health care is neither mandatory or inclusive, and it need to be. Many a would-be entrepreneur never takes the plunge without it.

Back in 1990 when two of my brothers and I started our own New York based button and trimming company (Buttoncraft, Inc. - mpbuttons.com on the web), health care was easier to afford. Today it has made the possibility of starting one's own company nearly impossible. I could never had started a business like Buttoncraft today without affordable health care.

And we need to make it even more than just affordable.

Today, job searching is, in itself, a full time job. Ask anyone who has lost their job within the past year or so how easy the job market is and how much time they put into it. No longer does one just purchase Sunday's New York Times, circle the jobs which interest them, then make a bunch of phone calls on Monday to set up an interview or two. Today, a job seeker has to put in the requisite Internet time filling out endless forms on Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com or any of the other thousand or so career finder web sites. Then comes the necessary wading through all of the ads for online universities, resume writers and any other thing the site's webmaster can make a buck off of for the seeker to spend his (or her) time and money on.

(This is all followed up by dozens of emails a week. And if you should choose the option to allow your email address to be shared among other "partners" of the job seeker web site, you may as well forget work because you have a new full time job: reading your email to get to the one or two that might make actually lead to a job.)

The option of starting a new business is certainly hampered by the method of searching for a job today. One would think that helping those who wish to create new jobs by first creating their own new job would be a way towards making our nation more solvent today.

I'd like to see the new economic stimulus/ recovery bill tackle that issue. I'd like to see the SBA (Small Business Administration) given some if its teeth back and be a player in the market once again.

I'd like to see the aggressive perseverance of the American worker transformed into the aggressive perseverance of the American small business owner.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "I'd like to Howard Dean named as Daschle's replacement. As a doctor, former Governor (Vermont) and the original author of the Democrats' fifty state strategy after John Kerry's defeat in 2004, he should have been President Obama's choice for HHS in the first place, Pat Thompson writes:

I agree with you 100%. He's a great man, and we should all -- including Obama -- be thanking him for the 50 state strategy. But unfortunately he as head of the Democratic Party had a falling out with Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who was chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It was a bitter struggle over funding, and from what I read in a NYTimes Magazine account of it a couple of years ago, Rahm thought it very stupid to be sending money and opening offices in places like Alaska and other red states -- and now we have a Dem. Senator from Alaska! Dean was right, and he should be in an important position in this administration.

In response to, "I'm from the GOP and I'm here to Help(?)," Sheila P. Burleson writes:

Do I think Senator McConnell will EVER do anything to help the people who need help the most? HEEEEECK NO. He's a fool who always looks like his underwear is in a knot. All the Republicans who are against a GOOD STIMULUS PACKAGE need to remember this: a large majority of their constituents back home (remember - those are the people who voted you IN) are out of jobs, have a problem with their mortgage, need healthcare and are just plain tired of Republicans who stick together just because they can. Come reelection time, those constituents are going to REMEMBER who voted to help them out and who wanted to keep the rich - well RICH. Large corporations and the disgustingly wealthy don't pay taxes - they have attorneys who find loopholes so they don't have to pay taxes. McConnell has been on the Hill way too long. It's time for him to retire nicely and be replaced by someone who puts not his PARTY FIRST but the people who voted him in to help them. Those holdout Republicans are acting like silly children - GROW UP.

In response to "Confirmed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had to explain away his neglect in failing to pay taxes from his world Bank days ", Pat Thompson writes:

As a non-US employer, they didn't deduct social security/Medicare taxes from his paycheck, as I understand it.

And in response to, "Tom Daschle (DEMOCRAT-SD) failed to pay taxes totaling somewhere in the area of $120,000," Pat Thompson writes:

his taxes were on the use of a car and driver, which a friend offered him. He had never declared this as "income". And when he did, he declared the highest possible amount, as if he had used the car daily, which supposedly he didn't. Many low income people catch a ride with a fellow worker -- do they declare that as income? Or a relative gives them an older car -- is that income taxable? I wonder if any of us were scrutinized like these candidates were if we'd come out perfectly clean.

I suspect that had the driver been a co-worker of Senator Daschle it might have been call car-pooling. Instead, the driver was paid as a driver and his compensation had to be reported as income. Yes, it was an innocent oversight, but it was still a tax omission and someone like Daschle should have known better. -NG

In response to "DC hypocrisy", Victoria Brownworth responds:

As a leftist with more than a five minute memory, I actually remember when Tom Daschle was in the Senate and he was just as lacking in backbone as he has been this last week when he should have withdrawn GRACEFULLY and not created blowback for President Obama. What many fail to comprehend is that the arrogance of insider Washington is not just the purview of Republicans--it's the purview of power. Frankly, I was horrified when Obama chose Daschle. I thought in the Senate he was ineffectual and his behavior during the primary was appalling. So I couldn't be happier that he's out. Particularly since Obama promised that he would not have lobbyists near his White House. That has proven to be false, but Daschle's lobbying ties to the health insurance industry are so dramatic, that it's difficult to imagine how he could possibly deal with the health care issue honestly. The Daschle story is a cautionary tale: Americans are done with the arrogance of power, with entitlements for the wealthy and the attitude that they are above the law. If we didn't like the Republicans doing it, I don't think we can accept the Democrats doing it. The fact is stealing from the people is wrong no matter who does it. I'm glad Daschle withdrew. I just wish he had been honest and less arrogant in the first place so that the Obama Administration--and the president--had not been forced to deal with this embarrassment in the first two weeks.

And Bob Driscoll writes:

The Democrat solution for everything is taxes, taxes, and more taxes. In order for Obama to fund his socialist agenda, everybody has to pay their taxes and pick up the slack created when people who don't even pay taxes get a "tax refund". Obama should be able to find some non tax cheats for his administration. Our new President allows Daschle to fall on the sword and then comes out and says he (Obama) screwed up. This guy is beginning to make Slick Willie Clinton look like a piker!

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-Noah Greenberg