The Beginning Of The End
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11-Year-Old Girl BANNED From Selling Cupcakes By Control Freak Government Bureaucrats

Marble Cupcakes - Photo by F_A from Ostwestfalen, GermanyAmerica is being suffocated to death by red tape.  You are about to read about an 11-year-old girl in Illinois that had her cupcake business brutally shut down by government bureaucrats.  Her name is Chloe Stirling and her crime was doing something that we used to applaud young people in America for doing.  Instead of sitting on her sofa and watching television all day, she actually started her own business.  And it turned out there her little business started thriving.  In fact, it started doing so well that a local newspaper took notice of it.  Well, that is when the control freaks swooped in and took her business away and banned her from selling any more cupcakes.  The really sad thing is that people are being paid to do this with our tax dollars.  All over America, little entrepreneurs are having their lemonade stands shut down and are being banned from selling Girl Scout cookies, and our tax dollars are paying the people that are doing it.  As I wrote about earlier this month, the level of economic freedom in the United States is at an all-time low, and it gets worse with each passing year.  The country that so many of us love is dying, and it is being replaced with something that I like to call “the USSA”.

In the Union of Soviet Socialist Americans, you have to have a government “license” or “permit” to do just about anything.  If the government does not give you permission, you can get into a whole lot of trouble.

Little 11-year-old Chloe Stirling must have thought that this was still the nation that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson once founded, because she dared to actually start a business and sell cupcakes to the public.  Little did she know that she would soon make national news

An 11-year-old girl from Illinois got a dose of regulation American-style this week when local government officials shut down her cupcake business.

Chloe Stirling, from Troy, got the front-page treatment from her local newspaper, which featured how well her business, Hey, Cupcake, was doing. By all accounts, it was a successful little enterprise. Chloe was getting $10 for a dozen cupcakes and $2 for each specialty cupcake. She even donated her cupcakes when a boy in her school fighting cancer held a fundraiser.

So why did they shut her down?

Well, it turns out that she didn’t have a “permit” to sell cupcakes and her kitchen was not “licensed”.

Like I said, you have to have permission from the government to do just about anything these days.

Another example of this phenomenon that is absolutely infuriating took place out in Fauquier County, Virginia.  When a mother held a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls and posted the photos on Facebook, she never imagined that she would soon be hit with $15,000 in fines…

Martha Boneta owns a small farm in Fauquier County, Virginia, where she recently hosted a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls. They wore hats, picked veggies, and made goat’s milk soap. The county says she should have obtain a license before hosting such an event and hit her with a $5,000 fine.

Boneta also got slammed with two more fines for $5,000 each, one for advertising a pumpkin carving and another for violations in the small shop on her property. Boneta sells produce from her farm, as well as eggs, yarn, birdhouses, and local crafts. She sought and received a license for the shop in 2011, but the county now says she can’t sell handiwork or produce from her neighbors under that license.

Stuff like this just makes me want to scream sometimes.

What is happening to this country?

A few years ago, my wife used to take old pieces of furniture, sand them down, repaint them and sell them to others.  It was something that she really enjoyed doing and she made some extra money along the way.

But if you try doing that in some areas of the country today, the EPA could potentially hit you with a fine of $30,000 for a single incident in which you do not follow the proper procedures.  The following is an excerpt from a discussion that some furniture painters were having on Facebook.  It is a little technical, but it is worth reading.  In this excerpt the identity of the business has been removed to protect the business from overzealous regulators…

As a painter in PA, I am required by law to test everything that I disturb and I must charge the customer $60 for every test I perform which adds up. What the law states in my area is that if I disturb more than 6 square inches on anything made prior to Jan 1 1979 I must test it. Disturbing means, sanding, scraping, or even using a sponge/scuff pad (like you use on your pots) if I disturb more than 6 inches, I must take photographs, document in 4 different logs, I have local, county, state, and federal log books. If I find lead then I must suit up. Originally, the law stated that if there were no children around then you didn’t have to do that however some lame brained legislator decided that if a child enters the premises for more than one hour a day, we must assume they will be in contact with the lead and therefore will contract lead poisoning. Then the legislators decided that if you were over the age of 60 then it didn’t matter, you didn’t have to test who cares if you get poisoned. Lo and behold OSHA stepped in and joined forces with the EPA, they decided that all were at risk including your pets and the leaves on your trees can hold the lead dust and …..well, that’s a whole other issue.

What is happening now is that so many painters decided they weren’t going to follow the lead law, that OSHA and EPA send out secret shoppers. A lot of us don’t even put our logo’s on our vehicles because that invites these shoppers to investigate. If you come to the **** ********, you won’t see signage on the building, you have to get to the actual door of the workroom to know we are there. We no longer have logo’s on our vehicles either as the fines are too stiff. There isn’t one of us that can afford a find of $30,000.00 A DAY, not a year, A DAY.

The government bureaucrats are running wild and the rest of us are just sitting back and letting it happen.

Things have gotten so bad in this country that the federal government even requires small-time magicians to submit “disaster plans” for the rabbits that they use in their acts.  The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles

Central planning in this country is getting completely and totally out of control.  These days, you can hardly do anything without running into a suffocating web of red tape.  For example, a small-time magician from Missouri that does magic shows for kids was absolutely horrified when he learned that the Obama administration is requiring him to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the rabbit that he uses in his shows.  Yes, this is actually true.  His name is Marty Hahne, and he thought that it was bad enough when the U.S. Department of Agriculture busted him for not having a “license” for his rabbit.  He went out and acquired the proper “license” for his rabbit, but he never dreamed that eventually he would also have to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the same rabbit.

You can read the rest of that article right here.

Are you starting to get the picture?

These control freaks want to completely dominate every aspect of our lives.  The “nanny state” is entirely out of control and it is up to “we the people” to do something about it.

Barack Obama revealed the kind of mentality that is behind this “nanny state” when he recently made the following statement

“I would not let my son play pro football”

And without a doubt, the control freaks that run things will try to ban football (or at least “tone it down”) the moment that they think that they can get away with it.

America was supposed to be a place where liberty and freedom were maximized and the interference of the federal government in our lives was supposed to be minimized.

Instead, what we have now is just the opposite.

No wonder Americans consider the government to be their biggest problem.

Marble Cupcakes - Photo by F_A from Ostwestfalen, Germany

They Are Murdering Small Business: The Percentage Of Self-Employed Americans Is At A Record Low

They Are Murdering Small Business - The Percentage Of Self-Employed Americans Is At A Record Low - Photo by Tina McKimmieThe percentage of Americans that are working for themselves has never been lower in the history of the United States.  Once upon a time, the United States was a paradise for entrepreneurs and small businesses, but now the control freak bureaucrats that dominate our society have created a system that absolutely eviscerates them.  This is very unfortunate, because by murdering small business, the bureaucrats are destroying the primary engine of job growth in this country.  One of the big reasons why there are not enough jobs in America today is because small business creation is way down.  As I mentioned yesterday, entrepreneurs and small businesses are being absolutely devastated by rules, regulations, red tape and by oppressive levels of taxation.  If anyone doubts that small business in the United States is dying, just look at the charts below.  Sadly, this is what the bureaucrats that run things want.  They don’t want us to be independent of the system.  Instead, they are much more comfortable when as many of us as possible are heavily dependent on the system in one way or another.  If all of us have to go running to the government or to one of the big corporations for a job, then we are much easier to control.  But as the control freaks continue to construct their bureaucratic utopia, they are also killing off what once made the U.S. economy so great.

The other day I came across the following two charts in an article by Charles Hugh Smith, and I was absolutely stunned by what I saw.  This first chart shows that the number of unincorporated self-employed Americans has dropped back to levels that we have not seen since the mid-1980s even though our population has increased by tens of millions of people since that time…

The Number Of Self-Employed Americans

As you can see, from 1970 to the mid-1990s the number of unincorporated self-employed Americans rose steadily.  But in the mid-1990s it began to level off and now it is falling rapidly.

This next chart shows the percentage of self-employed Americans as a share of non-farm employment.  In other words, those that work on farms are excluded from this chart.  The percentage of self-employed Americans was fairly stable between 1970 and 1990, but since 1990 it has been steadily eroding and it has now reached a level never seen before…

Self-Employed As A Share Of Non-Farm Employment

At this point, only about 7 percent of non-farm workers are self-employed.  That is depressingly low.  That means that an overwhelming majority of those that are employed in America are working for the system in one capacity or another.

But isn’t that what we pound into the heads of our children these days?  We teach them to work hard in school so that they can “get a good job” when they grow up.  From a very early age we train our children to plug themselves into the system.

Not that working for someone else is wrong.  Of course not.  It is just that we are not fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship in America today.  In fact, we seem to be doing everything that we can to kill it off.

In a previous article, I detailed how the number of new businesses (and the number of jobs those businesses create) has been steadily declining.  In particular, this decline has accelerated dramatically under the Obama administration.  According to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data performed by economist Tim Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

Is that a good trend or a bad trend?

It doesn’t take an advanced degree in economics to figure out where things are going.

Kane speculated about why we are witnessing such a decline in his paper

There is anecdotal evidence that the U.S. policy environment has become inadvertently hostile to entrepreneurial employment. At the federal level, high taxes and higher uncertainty about taxes are undoubtedly inhibiting entrepreneurship, but to what degree is unknown. The dominant factor may be new regulations on labor.  The passage of the Affordable Care Act is creating a sweeping alteration of the regulatory environment that directly changes how employers engage their workforces, and it will be some time until those changes are understood by employers or scholars. Separately, there has been a federal crackdown since 2009 by the Internal Revenue Service on U.S. employers that hire U.S. workers as independent contractors rather than employees, raising the question of mandatory benefits. New firms tend to use part-time and contract staffing rather than full-time employees during the startup stage. According to Labor Department data, the typical American today only takes home 70 percent of compensation as pay, while the rest is absorbed by the spiraling cost of benefits (e.g., health insurance). The dilemma for U.S. policy is that an American entrepreneur has zero tax or regulatory burden when hiring a consultant/contractor who resides abroad. But that same employer is subject to paperwork, taxation, and possible IRS harassment if employing U.S.-based contractors. Finally, there has been a steady barrier erected to entrepreneurs at the local policy level. Brink Lindsey points out in his book Human Capitalism that the rise of occupational licensing is destroying startup opportunities for poor and middle class Americans.

In my previous article, I also pointed out some of the other statistics that show that small business in America is dying…

-According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. economy lost more than 220,000 small businesses during the last recession.

-As a share of the population, the percentage of Americans that are self-employed fell by more than 20 percent between 1991 and 2010.

-As a share of the population, the percentage of “new entrepreneurs and business owners” dropped by a staggering 53 percent between 1977 and 2010.

Unfortunately, this is a crisis that has taken decades to develop and that there are not any easy solutions for.  But there are certain factors that should be addressed immediately.  The following are some of the things that are contributing to the murder of self-employment and small business in America…

#1 Taxes: The IRS seems to especially enjoy tormenting entrepreneurs and small businesses.  In fact, things have gotten so bad that even late night talk show hosts are joking about it.  Recently, NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno joked that if Barack Obama really wanted to close down Guantanamo Bay, he should “do what he always does: declare it a small business and tax it out of existence”

#2 Ridiculous Regulations: If you have ever tried to start a small business, you probably know how frustrating it can be dealing with government red tape.  In particular, the federal government has burdened our small businesses with gigantic mountains of rules and regulations and it gets worse with each passing day.

#3 State Governments That Are Openly Hostile To Business: A perfect example of this is the state of California.  In 2011, the state of California ranked 50th out of all 50 states in new business creation, and yet they just continue to pass more legislation that hurts small businesses.

#4 Obamacare: Our broken healthcare system is a tremendous burden on small businesses, and Obamacare is going to make things much worse.

#5 The One World Trade Agenda: In many industries, U.S. small businesses simply cannot compete against products made by workers that are being paid slave labor wages on the other side of the globe.

#6 Predator Corporations: Time after time we have seen corporate giants extract huge tax breaks and other enormous concessions from local officials which give them an overwhelming advantage.  But once the corporate giant moves into town, many of the existing small businesses find that they cannot compete and are forced to shut down.

#7 Our Corrupt Political System: On the national level, elections are almost always won by the politician that raises the most money.  Our politicians know that their careers depend on raising money, so they tend to be very good to those that they get big money from.  There is a reason why big corporations spend billions of dollars on campaign contributions and lobbying.  They do it because it works.  Over the decades, the big corporations have been able to shift the rules of the game massively in their favor, and this has been to the detriment of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Can you think of any other factors that you would add to this list?  Please feel free to share your opinion by leaving a comment below…

Michael T Snyder's New Book

 

22 Facts That Prove That The Bottom 90 Percent Of America Is Systematically Getting Poorer

22 Facts That Prove That The Bottom 90 Percent Of America Is Systematically Getting Poorer - Photo by Joe MabelThe mainstream media is not telling you this, but the truth is that most Americans are steadily getting poorer.  The middle class is being absolutely eviscerated, and poverty is soaring to unprecedented heights.  The fact that 90 percent of the population is constantly sliding downhill is not good for our society.  The United States is supposed to be a land of opportunity with a vibrant free market system that enables average people to make better lives for themselves.  Unfortunately, free enterprise is being strangled to death in the United States today.  Entrepreneurs and small business are being pounded into oblivion by rules, regulations, red tape and oppressive levels of taxation.  At the same time, millions of jobs have been shipped out of the United States by corporate giants and sent to countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.  All of this has happened under both Democrats and Republicans.  Meanwhile, wealth and power continue to become even more heavily concentrated in the hands of big government and big corporations.  Our founding fathers warned that we should not allow such large concentrations of wealth and power, because they tend to funnel the rewards of society into the hands of a select few.  We need to change the rules of the game so that entrepreneurs, small businesses and average workers can thrive in this country once again.  If big government and big corporations continue to gobble up even more wealth and power, the wealth inequality that we see right now will only get even worse.

The following are 22 facts that prove that the bottom 90 percent of America is systematically getting poorer…

#1 According to the Pew Research Center, the top 7 percent of all U.S. households own 63 percent of all the wealth in the country.

#2 Between 2009 and 2011, the wealth of the bottom 93 percent of all Americans declined by 4 percent, while the wealth of the top 7 percent of all Americans increased by 28 percent.

#3 On average, households in the top 7 percent have 24 times as much wealth as households in the bottom 93 percent.

#4 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#5 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest one percent of all American households have 288 times the amount of wealth that the average middle class American family does on average.

#6 According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

#7 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.

#8 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.

#9 In the United States today, corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high, but wages as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time low.

#10 In 1980, CEOs at S&P 500 companies made 42 times as much as their employees did on average.  Today, CEOs at S&P 500 companies make 354 times as much as their employees do on average.  In fact, there are many CEOs that make more than 1000 times what the average employees in their companies make.

#11 According to a report recently issued by the Pew Research Center, Americans over the age of 65 have 47 times as much wealth as Americans under the age of 35 on average.

#12 U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

#13 Back in 2007, about 28 percent of all working families were considered to be among “the working poor”.  Today, that number is up to 32 percent even though our politicians tell us that the economy is supposedly recovering.

#14 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

#15 Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

#16 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

#17 As I mentioned yesterday, the homeownership rate in America is now at its lowest level in nearly 18 years.

#18 The United States now ranks 93rd in the world in income inequality.

#19 Approximately one out of every five households in the United States is now on food stamps.

#20 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.

#21 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.

#22 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

Even if your income just stays the same, you are still getting poorer because inflation is a tax that is constantly chipping away at the value of every single dollar that you own.  The cost of everything that we buy on a regular basis (food, gas, health insurance, etc.) is constantly going up, and if your income is not keeping pace that means that you are getting poorer.

That is just one reason why the Federal Reserve system is so insidious.  They are killing the middle class with inflation.  For much more on the Federal Reserve and why it should be abolished, please see this article: “10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve“.

So if most Americans are getting poorer, then why aren’t our politicians doing something to fix it?

Well, the sad truth of the matter is that the big corporations fund the campaigns of our corrupt politicians.  They know that the candidate that raises the most money almost always wins, and so it provides an incentive for our politicians to be very good to those that have the money.

Plus, many of our politicians are way too busy having a good time to be bothered with doing anything for us.  Take Barack Obama for example.  According to The Telegraph, Barack Obama has spent twice as much time playing golf and vacationing as he has on attending economic meetings…

In an analysis of the presidential diary and newspaper reports, the Government Accountability Institute found that Mr Obama has spent 976 hours since his January 2009 election on holiday and playing golf.

In contrast, he has only spent 474.4 hours in economic meetings.

“As a government watchdog group, we just tabulate the numbers and let others decide how to interpret them,” said Peter Schweizer, president of GAI, which compiled the report.

But this is a problem that is not going away.  The bottom 90 percent of the country is systematically getting poorer, and if this continues it will inevitably result in massive social problems.  The video posted below does a great job of graphically illustrating the crisis that we are facing…

Michael T Snyder

We Are Witnessing The Death Of Small Business In America

Historically, small businesses have been the primary engine of new job creation in the United States.  If the economy was getting healthy, we would expect to see the number of jobs at new businesses rise.  Instead, we are witnessing just the opposite.  We are told that the economy is supposed to be “recovering”, but the number of “startup jobs” at new businesses has fallen for five years in a row.  According to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data performed by economist Tim Kane, there were almost 12 startup jobs per 1000 Americans back in the year 2006.  By 2011, that figure had fallen to less than 8 startup jobs per 1000 Americans.  According to Kane, the number of jobs in the United States at businesses that are less than one year old has fallen from 4.1 million in 1994 to 2.5 million in 2010.  Overall, the number of “new entrepreneurs and business owners” has fallen by more than 50 percent as a percentage of the population since 1977.  The United States was once known as “the land of opportunity”, but now that is fundamentally changing.  At this point we truly do have a “crisis of entrepreneurship” in this country, and that is a huge reason why America is in decline.  We are witnessing the slow death of the small business in America, and that is incredibly bad news for all of us.

Unfortunately, the problems that small businesses are experiencing right now have been building up for decades.  The economic environment for small businesses in America has become incredibly toxic.  Sadly, we can see this in the numbers.  According to Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

Obviously, we are headed very much in the wrong direction.  Kane speculates about why this may be happening in his paper

There is anecdotal evidence that the U.S. policy environment has become inadvertently hostile to entrepreneurial employment. At the federal level, high taxes and higher uncertainty about taxes are undoubtedly inhibiting entrepreneurship, but to what degree is unknown. The dominant factor may be new regulations on labor.  The passage of the Affordable Care Act is creating a sweeping alteration of the regulatory environment that directly changes how employers engage their workforces, and it will be some time until those changes are understood by employers or scholars. Separately, there has been a federal crackdown since 2009 by the Internal Revenue Service on U.S. employers that hire U.S. workers as independent contractors rather than employees, raising the question of mandatory benefits. New firms tend to use part-time and contract staffing rather than full-time employees during the startup stage. According to Labor Department data, the typical American today only takes home 70 percent of compensation as pay, while the rest is absorbed by the spiraling cost of benefits (e.g., health insurance). The dilemma for U.S. policy is that an American entrepreneur has zero tax or regulatory burden when hiring a consultant/contractor who resides abroad. But that same employer is subject to paperwork, taxation, and possible IRS harassment if employing U.S.-based contractors. Finally, there has been a steady barrier erected to entrepreneurs at the local policy level. Brink Lindsey points out in his book Human Capitalism that the rise of occupational licensing is destroying startup opportunities for poor and middle class Americans.

Kane raises some very good points in his analysis.  Without a doubt, small businesses in the United States are being taxed into oblivion.  If you doubt this, just read this article.

And the regulatory environment for small businesses is more suffocating than it has ever been before.  Unfortunately, our politicians never seem to learn that lesson.  During his first term, Obama piled on mountains of new regulations, and now that he has won a second term he is preparing to unleash another massive wave of new regulations.

But many times the worst offenders are politicians on the state and local level.  There are some areas of the country (such as California) that have created absolutely nightmarish conditions for small businesses.  California had the worst “small business failure rate” in the country in 2010.  It was 69 percent higher than the national average.  And in 2011, the state of California ranked 50th out of all 50 states in new business creation.

Yet the politicians in California just continue to pile on even more regulations and even more taxes.

Sadly, this kind of thing is happening from coast to coast and it is killing off hordes of small businesses.  Just consider the following statistics…

-According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. economy lost more than 220,000 small businesses during the last recession.

-As a share of the population, the percentage of Americans that are self-employed fell by more than 20 percent between 1991 and 2010.

-As a share of the population, the percentage of “new entrepreneurs and business owners” dropped by a staggering 53 percent between 1977 and 2010.

-The average pay for self-employed Americans declined by $3,721 between 2006 and 2010.

So what needs to be done?

Well, first of all, the tax burden and the regulatory burden on small businesses both need to be greatly reduced.

Secondly, the balance of power in our nation needs to be dramatically shifted.  Conservatives run around talking about the need to reduce the power of government and liberals run around talking about the need to reduce the power of corporations, and actually both of them are right.

Our founding fathers intended to establish a Republic where power would never be concentrated in the hands of just a few.  That is why they tried to strictly limit the power of the federal government in the U.S. Constitution, and that is why they greatly restricted the size and scope of corporations in early America.  For much more on this, please see this article: “Corporatism Is Not Capitalism: 7 Things About The Monolithic Predator Corporations That Dominate Our Economy That Every American Should Know“.

Our founding fathers wanted to empower individual citizens and small businesses.  They never intended for us to have a system where big government and big corporations dominate everything and crush the “little guy” at every opportunity.

Even as we witness the death of the small business in America, corporations are absolutely thriving.  The following chart shows how corporate profits after tax have exploded to new record highs in recent years…

So has this been good for workers?  No, it has not translated into more jobs and higher wages.  In fact, wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP are now at an all-time low…

That is why it is imperative that we change “the rules of the game” so that the balance of power is shifted back in the direction of individual citizens and small businesses.  We desperately need to turn back to the principles that this nation was founded upon.

If nothing is done, these trends are going to get even worse.  Barack Obama certainly has no plans to reduce the size and the power of the government.  Since he was elected, an average of 101 new federal employees have been added to the government payroll every single day…

In the 1,420 days since he took the oath of office, the federal government has daily hired on average 101 new employees. Every day. Seven days a week. All 202 weeks. That makes 143,000 more federal workers than when Obama talked forever on that cold day in January of 2009.

And if nothing is done, the monolithic predator corporations that dominate our economy will just get even larger and even more powerful.  Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands more small businesses will close up shop all over the country.

Unfortunately, most Americans seem totally apathetic about these issues.  They seem content to wear “meggings“, watch “Honey Boo Boo” on television and let our government and corporate overlords run everything.  Most of them have even been brainwashed into believing that this is the American way of doing things.

So where do we go from here?

Well, this nation will probably continue to keep doing the same things that it has been doing, and it will continue to get the same results.

The death of small business in America is happening right in front of our eyes, and everybody can see it happening, but very few people are doing anything to stop it.

The Man Without A Plan

Barack Obama is a man without a plan.  When you are young, they often tell you to “fake it until you make it”, but Barack Obama is taking this to ridiculous extremes.  Barack Obama has absolutely no idea what he is doing when it comes to the economy, and yet he continues to give speeches in which he declares that he is the man for the job.  The State of the Union speech the other night was just abysmal.  The federal government is spending way too much money, and yet Barack Obama is proposing even more government spending.  Entrepreneurs and small businesses are being taxed into oblivion and yet Barack Obama is proposing even higher taxes.  Our economy is being strangled to death by crippling regulations, and yet Barack Obama is proposing a vast array of new regulations.  Barack Obama always gives a nice speech, but it has become appallingly evident that he is totally out of ideas.  So our country will continue to drift aimlessly along without a direction and without a plan until the next financial tsunami comes along and makes things even worse.

And the American people are starting to clue in to the fact that Obama does not have a plan and does not have anything new to say.  Just check out how the audiences for his State of the Union addresses have declined each year….

2009: 52.3 million

2010: 48 million

2011: 42.8 million

2012: 37.8 million

His ratings are falling almost as fast as the ratings for American Idol are.

It is amazing how Barack Obama can use so many words to say so very little.

He always tickles our ears but then he never delivers the goods.  Toward the beginning of his speech the other night, he made the following statement….

“Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last—an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values”

Well, that sounds pretty good.  Except for the fact that everything he has done for the past 3 years has been the exact opposite of that.

It is almost as if he woke up that morning and decided that he would try the whole “do the opposite” thing once made famous by George Costanza on Seinfeld.

Obama says that our employment situation is getting better, but that is not really true.  The only way that the federal government can claim that there is an 8.5 percent unemployment rate is because they have decided that millions of Americans that have been unemployed for a long time should not be considered “part of the workforce” any longer.

If the number of Americans that were considered to be part of the workforce was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to approximately 11 percent.

Sadly, the number of Americans that are dependent on the government continues to soar even higher.

Since Barack Obama took office, the number of Americans on food stamps has actually increased by 14 million.

Things have not gotten better for average Americans.

They have gotten worse.

In fact, 10 million more Americans have fallen below the poverty line since 2006.  And in 2010, more Americans fell into poverty than ever before.

A lot of people out there are really hurting, and the American people deserve some real answers.

But instead, Obama was saying stuff like this the other night….

“I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place”

Oh really?

What is Obama actually doing about the things that caused the last financial crisis?

The “financial reform” bill was a complete and total joke.  Obama has been shamefully soft on the big Wall Street banks that caused the last crisis.

Today, the “too big to fail” banks are larger than ever.  The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

So now they are more of a danger to the financial system than ever.

And not a single Wall Street executive has gone to jail for what they did during the last financial crisis.

Thanks Obama.

But of course Obama was never going to seriously go after Wall Street.

After all, they are the ones that fund his campaigns.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but 3 of the top 7 donors to Obama’s campaign in 2008 were “too big to fail” banks.

And the Obama administration has been absolutely packed with ex-Wall Street bankers.  Last year, Michael Brenner wrote the following about the composition of the Obama administration….

Wall Street’s takeover of the Obama administration is now complete. The mega-banks and their corporate allies control every economic policy position of consequence. Mr. Obama has moved rapidly since the November debacle to install business people where it counts most. Mr.William Daley from JP Morgan Chase as White House Chief of Staff. Mr. Gene Sperling from the Goldman Sachs payroll to be director of the National Economic Council. Eileen Rominger from Goldman Sachs named director of the SEC’s Investment Management division. Even the National Security Advisor, Thomas Donilon, was executive vice president for law and policy at the disgraced Fannie Mae after serving as a corporate lobbyist with O’Melveny & Roberts. The keystone of the business friendly team was put in place on Friday. General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt will serve as chair of the president’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

During his State of the Union address, Obama also promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to America….

“Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs”

That sounds great, except for the fact that Obama has been doing everything he can to get more American jobs shipped out of the country.

The Obama administration has been aggressively pushing new “free trade” agreements with Panama, South Korea and Colombia.  The Obama administration has also made the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“the NAFTA of the Pacific“) an extremely high priority.

And of course we have all seen how wonderfully the first NAFTA worked out.

Our “free trade” policies have been an absolute nightmare for the American worker.

During 2010, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.  Overall, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have shut down since 2001.

We are bleeding jobs at a pace that is hard to believe.

Amazingly, the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Yet Obama promises more of the same and that is  supposed to help?

During his speech, Obama correctly noted that many foreign manufacturers are heavily subsidized….

“It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours, only because they’re heavily subsidized”

So are we going to deeply penalize those that have been cheating?

Are we going to warn them that we will stop trading with them unless they stop?

Of course not.

Obama is going to do next to nothing to stop what China and other predatory nations are doing to us.

Today, the United States spends approximately 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States, and the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

But the Obama administration doesn’t seem to care much about these things.

In fact, just check out what U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told Tim Robertson of the Huffington Post about the Obama administration’s attitude toward keeping manufacturing jobs in America….

Let’s increase our competitiveness… the reality is about half of our imports, our trade deficit is because of how much oil [we import], so you take that out of the equation, you look at what percentage of it are things that frankly, we don’t want to make in America, you know, cheaper products, low-skill jobs that frankly college kids that are graduating from, you know, UC Cal and Hastings [don’t want], but what we do want is to capture those next generation jobs and build on our investments in our young people, our education infrastructure.

Oh, but Obama now says that he is going to toughen up on trade….

“I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China. There will be more inspections”

Oh boy – “inspections” – yeah, that is really going to have the Chinese shaking in their boots.

Meanwhile, the Chinese just keep hitting us with new tariffs.  According to the New York Times, a Jeep Grand Cherokee that costs $27,490 in the United States will now cost about $85,000 in China thanks to these new tariffs.

So is Obama going to hit China with tough new tariffs in return?

Of course not.

Meanwhile, our economy continues to bleed businesses and jobs.  According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if current trends continue.

But if you listen to Obama, he makes it seem like many of our industries are in better shape than ever….

“We bet on American ingenuity, and tonight the American auto industry is back.”

Yes, the American auto industry is no longer on the brink of bankruptcy, but it is not “back”.  Just consider the following stats….

*In 1970, General Motors had about a 60 percent share of the U.S. automobile market.  Today, that figure is down to about 20 percent.

*Back in 2000, about 17 million new automobiles were sold in the United States.  During 2011, less than 13 million new automobiles were sold in the United States.

*Japan builds more cars than anyone else on the globe.  Japan now manufactures about 5 million more automobiles than the United States does.

*Since Alan Mulally became CEO of Ford, the company has reduced its North American workforce by nearly half.

*In the year 2000, the U.S. auto industry employed more than 1.3 million Americans.  Today, the U.S. auto industry employs about 698,000 people.

Obama bailed out the auto industry, and they responded by sending even more of our jobs overseas.

During his speech, Obama declared that there will be no more bailouts….

“No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.”

That is kind of funny because Obama is basically the all-time champion of handing out bailouts.

If Barack Obama and John McCain had not aggressively pushed for the Wall Street bailouts back in 2008, they never would have happened.

And once Obama became president, there was a seemingly endless parade of bailouts and “stimulus packages”.

So what do you honestly think he will do when the next financial crisis happens?  Do you think he would actually be able to resist the temptation for more bailouts?

Obama also says that he wants to spend more money on training for American workers….

“Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.”

But the American people already have enough training.  There are tons of college-educated Americans that are among the ranks of the unemployed right now.

What the American people need are jobs.

Unfortunately, jobs are leaving this country at an unprecedented pace.

Back in the year 2000, more than 20 percent of all jobs in America were manufacturing jobs.  Today, about 5 percent of all jobs in America are manufacturing jobs.

Not only that, but our incomes are also going down.  Because U.S. workers now have to compete for jobs with workers that make slave labor wages on the other side of the globe, pay in this country continues to decline.

A recent White House reported entitled “Investing in America: Building an Economy That Lasts” actually bragged that our trade policies have driven wages in America down.  The following chart is from that report….

The Obama administration has been very good for the largest corporations.

For the rest of us, not so much.

But Obama now says that he wants America to be a place that encourages entrepreneurs and small businesses to thrive….

“It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work; and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.”

Unfortunately, the reality is that the federal government is strangling entrepreneurs and small businesses to death with taxes and crippling regulations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

That is not a good trend.

And right now small businesses are extremely hesitant to bring on new workers.

One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers in the coming year.

So obviously what the Obama administration is doing is not working.

During his speech, Obama also spoke of developing our own energy resources….

“A future where we are in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world.”

Hopefully most of those watching laughed when they heard this, because this had to have been a joke.

America is absolutely swimming in oil and natural gas, and yet the Obama administration has blocked the development of those resources at every turn.

Instead, Obama has been very busy trying to push green energy companies on us, but they have had a nasty habit of going bankrupt.

During his speech, Obama also spoke of the need for “comprehensive immigration reform”.

But apparently Obama’s idea of “immigration reform” is to grant “backdoor amnesty” to the vast majority of the illegal immigrants in the United States and to continue to leave our borders completely wide open.

The consequences of such a policy are very serious.  As I wrote about the other day, there are now 1.4 million gang members living inside the United States, and that number has risen by an astounding 40 percent since 2009.

The last thing we need is more “immigration reform” from Barack Obama.

Of course the “class warfare” part was the centerpiece of Obama’s speech the other night.

Referring to it as the “defining issue of our time”, Obama said that now is the time to hit the wealthy with higher taxes….

“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”

This is going to be what Barack Obama is going to base his entire 2012 campaign on.  He is going to try to tap into the economic frustrations of the poor and the middle class and he is going to try to get them to blame the rich and the “party of the rich” (the Republicans).

But taxing the rich is not going to solve our problems.  If Bill Gates donated his entire fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

The truth is that the ultra-wealthy are always several steps ahead of the U.S. government.  The global elite are hiding 18 trillion dollars in offshore banks, and they are absolute experts at avoiding taxes.

No, the people that always get hit when taxes are raised are small business owners that try to do things “by the book” and middle class families that are barely scraping by.

What we need to do is to get rid of the income tax system entirely.  It is deeply corrupt and it is full of thousands of loopholes.

Trust me, I know.  I used to study this stuff.

But Obama seems to think that taxing the rich is the solution to all of our problems….

“We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference – like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know it’s not right. They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to their country’s future, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit.”

Oh really?

If we just accept Obama’s plan the deficit will be fixed?

That worked out so well during his first term.  During the first three years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

The truth is that Obama does not plan to fix anything.  Barack Obama’s proposed 2012 budget projects that the national debt will rise to 26 trillion dollars a decade from now.  And his budget numbers are ridiculously optimistic.

Not that our tax system does not need reform.

If we are going to have an income tax system (which we should not), then it should at least be fair.

There is no way in the world that General Electric and Mitt Romney should pay a lower tax rate than you and I do.

In a previous article, I noted some of the big corporations that have made enormous profits and yet have paid less than zero in taxes in recent years….

What U.S. corporations are able to get away with is absolutely amazing.

The following figures come directly out of a report by Citizens for Tax Justice.  These are combined figures for the tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010.

During those three years, all of the corporations below made a lot of money.  Yet all of them paid net taxes that were below zero for those three years combined.

How is that possible?  Well, it turns out that instead of paying in taxes to the federal government, they were actually getting money back.

So for these corporations, their rate of taxation was actually below zero.

If you have not seen these before, you are going to have a hard time believing some of these statistics…..

*Honeywell*

Profits: $4.9 billion

Taxes: -$34 million

*Fed Ex*

Profits: $3 billion

Taxes: -$23 million

*Wells Fargo*

Profits: $49.37 billion

Taxes: -$681 million

*Boeing*

Profits: $9.7 billion

Taxes: -$178 million

*Verizon*

Profits: $32.5 billion

Taxes: -$951 million

*Dupont*

Profits: $2.1 billion

Taxes -$72 million

*American Electric Power*

Profits: $5.89 billion

Taxes -$545 million

*General Electric*

Profits: $7.7 billion

Taxes: -$4.7 billion

Are you starting to get the picture?

Hopefully we can all agree that there is something seriously wrong with those numbers.

But fixing holes in the tax system is one thing – blaming America’s economic ills on the wealthy is another.

During his speech, Obama made the following statement….

“You can call this class warfare all you want”

And yes, we will hear the term “class warfare” over and over again for the rest of 2012.

Obama actually believes that “blaming the 1%” can get him sent back to the White House again.

But that isn’t going to solve any of our problems.

Instead, we should be focusing on the root causes of our economic problems.

I would love to see a president get up during a State of the Union address and declare that we need to shut down the Federal Reserve.

Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power.

Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.

Thanks to the debt-based Federal Reserve system, we are going into debt at a pace that is unlike anything the world has ever seen.

Right now, the federal government is stealing 150 million dollars an hour from our children and our grandchildren.

But Barack Obama loves the Federal Reserve.

In fact, he actually nominated Ben Bernanke for a second term as Federal Reserve Chairman even though Bernanke has a track record of incompetence that is legendary.

So no, nobody should be applauding Barack Obama for his absolutely abysmal speech the other night.

He is a man without a plan and he has been an absolute disaster for America.

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