An Open Letter to Small Business Owners

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Small business owners everywhere should know that Ron Paul is by far the best candidate for president that you are likely to see in your lifetime.

I've voted for over 30 years, but in all that time I have never had the opportunity to vote FOR a major-party candidate. I was always voting against someone, in a futile attempt to protect myself and my property. Eventually I realized that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil, and I had given up voting entirely for several elections.

Ron Paul's candidacy has turned me from disgust and contempt of politicians and all things political to a political junkie who can't stop reading or talking about the ideas, accomplishments, and courageous campaign of the greatest statesman of our time.

Ron Paul understands the vital role small businesses play in our national economy and civil society unlike any other politician. He is a genuine scholar who has studied and written about free-market economics for decades. He ran his own private medical practice for many years and delivered over 4,000 babies. He understands the day-to-day reality of running any small business and has first-hand knowledge of the destructive effects of federal government meddling in the free market.

Ron Paul's proposals would revitalize the nation's economy and particularly small businesses. Take a look at his Prescription for Prosperity, a comprehensive economic revitalization plan. The first item on the list, tax reform, should be enough to convince any small business owner.

Ron Paul wants to abolish the IRS, eliminate the income tax, and replace it with nothing. Everyone can understand the appeal of having more money, but small business owners will appreciate the enormous burden this lifts from their shoulders more than most. All small business owners serve as unpaid accountants for a federal tax code whose complexity and inconsistency grows without limit. Nearly all of us hire expensive accountants and/or tax attorneys to assist in the preparation of the massive amounts of paper, the collection and sorting of endless bits of information, receipts, and forms that are required by law. All of us risk fines and the threat of prison for any mistake.

Take a minute to think how much simpler your business would be if you weren't a slave to government accounting requirements. You no longer have to make minute classifications of ordinary expenses as tax-deductible, partially deductible, or non-deductible. You, not some desk-bound tax official, could decide how long a piece of capital equipment will be useful, and how to account for its depreciation so that you can save enough to replace it when it wears out.

You wouldn't need a pension plan, and all the accounting and bonding and means testing and auditing that goes with it. You'd be free to offer savings plans to your employees as a way to attract and retain the best possible talent. Today's 401(k), IRA, Section 125 and so on are all necessary to protect the employee's earnings from taxation, at least for a little while. No income tax, no special plans required.

The same goes for other benefits and the elaborate accounting, forms, and regulations that go with them. You could offer whatever benefits you wish without incurring an enormous penalty in "compliance" for each choice.

Perhaps most importantly, you would no longer find yourself acting as tax collector for the federal government. This is the part of my job I hate the most. My business gets money from free market customers. They pay us for our services, because they determine that our help is more valuable to them than the fees we charge. But a huge chunk of those funds never reach me or my employees. The customer's check goes to our bank, and several very large deductions go straight to the various governments.

Try this simple accounting experiment: You probably know your revenues for last year to the penny. Now add up the payments to government. Not just your personal taxes. Add up all the money you sent to all governments, all the money you collected but never got to send to employees or contractors or suppliers. Monies you withheld for income, sales, Social Security, Medicare. Your "share" of the Social Security and Medicare taxes is a big one. Add in the sales taxes, telephone taxes, licensing fees, unemployment taxes, permit fees, the property taxes included in your lease. Be sure to include accounting fees you pay to do all the tax paperwork, legal advice you get in an attempt to stay in compliance with regulations, outsourced HR services required to comply with affirmative action and other mandates, bond fees and compliance testing you pay for in order to qualify for a pension plan, estate planning fees that are required to preserve some of your hard-earned wealth from the death tax. Add in the value of the time you and your back office spend trying to keep up with all the paperwork. Add in everything you can think of that you do because the government tells you to, not because it's necessary to run your business.

Just the exercise of looking at your expenses in this light is educational. I expect you will find the total dismaying. Divide it by your revenues, and there is your average tax rate. Whatever it is, I'm quite confident it will be a lot higher than 35%.

I was depressed for months the first time I did this. I realized that I am a slave, working my tail off to send enormous sums to the government. I knew when I went into business that I would only get to keep a small fraction of revenues, but seeing just how much I was sending to governments that use the money to do things that horrify me was a real shocker.

Ron Paul would begin to end this madness. It might take him some time to dismantle the income tax, but his proposal to stop taxing tips has political appeal that will be very hard to deny, especially as the country sinks into what looks from my vantage point like a major recession. Collecting the tax on tips that are "estimated" by government tax collectors is another burden that will be lifted from small business owners.

Congressman Paul also wants to repeal the death tax, that particularly evil form of double taxation that routinely destroys small businesses and family farms when their owners die. He would end the tax on capital gains, on investment and savings, and on social security benefits. That last change, also certain to be very popular, would allow millions of senior citizens to re-enter the workforce part time, increasing their income rather than having benefits cut because they made "too much." Small businesses would benefit enormously from the newly available job seekers, who would expand the labor pool with talented, experienced people.

All small business owners know they must live within their means. We don't have access to capital and stock markets to raise large sums. A single large loss can put us out of business forever. When our revenues drop, we must take immediate action.

Doctor Paul knows about living within his means. He returns part of his congressional office budget to the US Treasury every year. He has never voted for a tax hike, a pay raise, or taken a junket. He wants to eliminate the Federal Reserve, that fountain of phony money that enables endless government deficits. He wants to shrink the size of government, not by little nips here and there, but by a whopping 40% or more. His proposal to bring home all the troops, everywhere, could ultimately save a cool trillion dollars a year.

Ron Paul's policies on trade are also particularly attractive to small businesses. If you've ever tried to import or export a product, you know how complex and expensive the so-called "free trade agreements" truly are. You may know about the absurd risks that you take by even buying imported goods after they reach US shores. Abuses like the McNab case, where 4 businessmen were sentenced to long prison sentences for importing or buying and re-selling frozen lobster tails in plastic bags instead of cardboard boxes. These atrocities are a clear warning to small business to stay away from the complex regulations of international trade. Only big business, with lots of lawyers and compliance specialists and close working relationships with the multitude of government agencies they must placate can afford the risks, and reap the profits, from international trade.

Ron Paul sees through the talk. He charges that free trade agreements are really managed trade, and that true free trade requires only low, uniform tariffs fairly applied. Imagine being able to expand the potential customers for your business to 300 million middle-class Chinese, or 800 million Europeans, a billion Indians, or hundreds of millions of Asians or South Americans.

The other candidates for president talk endlessly of all the things "they" will do to help American workers, American families, American consumers, and American children. You know all too well that most or all of that "help" will mean more taxes, more paperwork, more regulations, more opportunities for civil or even criminal liability for new laws you never heard about.

If unemployment benefits are extended, your unemployment taxes must go up. A "fair tax" means you must keep detailed records of every single transaction. It's fair only to those who don't have to collect it. If health care benefits have to be provided to everyone, as they do in Massachusetts thanks to a dreadful new law that Mitt Romney likes to take credit for, it falls to small business to do the work, pay the new bills, and fill out the endless forms. This is true even if your business is so small, as mine is, so that it doesn't officially have to comply (yet), but we must still spend endless hours filing forms to prove its status.

The ten-term Congressman knows that it is not his job to run the economy, or our lives, or the world. He knows that hard-working men and women are the only means to true wealth and prosperity. Ron Paul also understands how well-intentioned but misguided efforts to help the handicapped, various races, sexual orientations, women, and other favored groups backfire. He knows that a small business hardly dares to offer employment to someone in a wheelchair, when the ADA then requires the employer to make unlimited accommodations, at your expense. He realizes that placing a "help wanted" advertisement risks the entire business, because should you choose not to hire an applicant from a favored group, you may find yourself defending your actions in court or in a regulatory "hearing," where your adversary has the limitless time and funds available only to government.

This Republican from Texas proposes to disband entire departments of the federal government. His ideas are radical, but timely and necessary, and contrast sharply with the platitudes and "more of the same" proposals of his rivals. He is fighting a battle of ideas against unarmed men.

Ron Paul understands the extraordinary limits to growth that burdensome government regulations place on small business, and how those regulations give competitive advantage to the military-industrial complex and other mega-firms. He also understands that small businesses create the majority of new jobs despite the best efforts of government to regulate us to death. The last time I checked, there were new regulations that would kick in when I had 5, 6, 10, 11, 15, 20, and 25 employees. I'm sure I missed some, and that others have changed. Hiring every single new employee adds regulatory burdens, compliance costs, and disproportionate risks to small business. Remove even some of those obstacles and firms will grow, unemployment will shrink, and our economy will prosper.

There is much more about Ron Paul's ideas that are vital to small business interests. Ending war and a trillion-dollar-year overseas empire will bring peace and prosperity back to our shores. Revamping our foreign policy from swaggering bully to neutral colossus will enable tourists and business people to become the face of America overseas, rather than American soldiers and bombs. Ron Paul will work to restore privacy and liberty to our nation, to allow free adults to make contracts agreeable to them, to get the federal government off our backs and out of our lives.

Dr. Paul understands the pernicious effects of inflation on society in general and business in particular. Our fraudulent money system creates bubbles and business cycles, sending false signals to business about faux prosperity and fake money in the hands of eager buyers. He wants to start a gradual return to sound money. This will particularly benefit small businesses, that don't have access to the fiat money capital markets that give huge firms huge advantages. When we are able to calculate our investments, costs, and profits accurately without future inflation wrecking the results, our businesses will prosper. When we can borrow money at rates set by the free market instead of unaccountable academics and bureaucrats we will have regained an important signal of the savings and desires of consumers and investors.

There are those who say that Ron Paul can't win. This should be of little concern to small business owners. Each of us has heard the endless stream of statistics, "90% of small businesses fail in 10 years," etc. Each of us knows what it is like to work without a net, against long odds. We know that having better ideas and being nimble and quick can be just as important as being well-established with deep pockets. We know that being the little guy, the long shot, can sometimes be a powerful advantage. We know that new ideas and new strategies can work very well indeed even when most people think they are crazy.

Paul's campaign has clearly threatened and angered those who control the media empires and huge businesses. They know he cannot be bought. Despite a near total media blackout, he has raised tens of millions of dollars, most from individual donors. I've never contributed to any major party candidate before, but I'm giving generously to Ron Paul's campaign, and I urge all small business owners to do likewise. Better still, educate yourself about Dr. Paul, put some signs in your windows and literature on your counters. Talk to your customers about Ron Paul. Spread the word.

Dr. Paul's supporters are the most varied and motivated of any candidate. Google "Ron Paul Revolution." Check out the amazing videos on YouTube. I particularly like "Stop Dreaming" and "Land of the Free," (be sure to read the surprising comments by the creator) but there are literally thousands more. His supporters have organized a series of "money bombs," online events that raise millions of dollars, more money in a single day than any other candidate in history. Nearly all contributions are small, averaging about $100. They've even hired a blimp! All this is done without direction or control from the official campaign. Small businesses can't bundle contributions, hire lawyers, and buy favors the way megafirms can and do, but we can still pool our resources to support a man who will make a difference.

You may find that you don't agree with every one of Ron Paul's positions. I don't. But he's been in Congress over 20 years, and you can read his speeches, his bills, and his writings over that time. There is a remarkable consistency that comes from extensive study, deep thought, and unwavering commitment to principle. Even if you disagree on something, you can be absolutely confident that President Paul will obey and enforce the long-ignored limits placed on our government by the Constitution. "Dr. No" will begin the Herculean task of lifting federal boots off of American necks everywhere.

Ron Paul offers more than tax cuts and simplified regulations to small business owners. He offers the most precious commodity of all: time. Time presently spent working as unpaid accountant and regulatory enforcer for a government that has forgotten its limits. Time to grow your business, to spend with your family, to live your life.

Most importantly Ron Paul offers hope. Hope for a better future, in a world where small businesses can dream of becoming large ones without automatically enlarging government. Where hiring the 20th employee, or the 100th, doesn't put you afoul of some regulation you've never heard of. A world where being successful doesn't torture your conscience with the knowledge that your success is buying weapons used to kill innocents in far corners of the globe.

Successful small business owners know all too well that when opportunity presents itself it must be seized with both hands, for it may never come again. Ron Paul is literally a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change how America thinks and acts, both around the globe and right here at home. His proposals and influence will be enormously beneficial for small business in particular and for peace and prosperity in general. Please join me in supporting Ron Paul's candidacy in any and every way you possibly can.

January 28, 2008

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