If you run a small business, one of your most important concerns is how to provide your clients with quality services and products and, at the same time, maximize your businesses’ profits. By profits, I mean what you wind up taking home for yourself and your family – after the government gets its mandatory cut.
To many, the term profit is a dirty word. They portray the typical businessman as a middle aged, jowly white man wearing a napkin tucked under his chin as he prepares to feast on the livers of the workers whom he employs. Their mindset is that the way your typical businessman improves his profits is by taking unfair advantage of his employees. Obviously, he is not one of the touchy-feely “good guys” which is how they perceive themselves
Perhaps there are people who operate their businesses that way – but not for long. A free market gives everyone choices – and that includes those who work for businesses, small and large. In a healthy financial environment, the intelligent employee will seek out the best employment opportunity and eagerly exit that sort of environment.
The problem with the ghoulish picture of the profit-driven business owner which is in vogue is that those who have captured this image have little or no experience with the way a successful business actually works. While ignorance of the law is no excuse if we infract one, apparently that same principle does not apply when it comes to describing business.
Let’s return to the underlying premise of the left that making a profit is something that is inherently bad. Their theory is that it is government that should be the distributor of all that is good and holy and wisely metes out to its citizens that amount of goods and services which is in their best interest. But where does government get the funds to accomplish this noble mission? In large measure, it comes from the profits of businesses which it taxes. No profits, no taxes.
Then consider the company that consistently loses money. Let’s pretend it happens to be the bank where you have your accounts. Ultimately, one day you show up at the ATM and find that your funds are frozen while the FDIC figures out which profitable bank it can cajole into taking over from those who mis-managed this institution.
There is no business that can sustain or would tolerate a management team that loses money year after year. That is to say, there is no privately owned business that would or could do that. But there is one business that does not perceive itself as needing to follow the rules of profit and loss. That business is government.
The recent partial shutdown of some government departments sheds some interesting insight into how government “works.” While much of the media attention is focused on the closing of our National Parks and the disruption to the lives of tourists who planned trips there, less attention has been paid to the fact that this is not the first time such a shutdown has occurred and plans had previously been made to identify “essential personnel” to keep government functioning on a limited basis. One of those departments is the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA has the responsibility of protecting us from environmental damage – most of which, it believes, is induced by mankind.
It is the EPA which has had significant input in blocking the Keystone Pipeline, which would create thousands of jobs and help to make America completely energy independent of the countries from which we import oil and which are hostile to us.
It is the EPA which has created regulations which effectively will kill the coal industry, eliminating thousands of jobs and raising the cost to consumers whose energy needs are provided by burning coal.
It is the EPA which has identified the number of its staff who are “essential.” By their own statement, of the approximately 20,000 EPA employees, only 7% of them are “essential.” But the agency has stated that in order to “effectively enforce” all the regulations that it has created, it needs to hire an additional 230,000 people to get the job done – at a cost of $21 Billion per year.
Maybe there is something positive that will come out of the partial government shutdown. Perhaps it will force us to look at the way we spend money on supernumerary people and programs. Perhaps we will pull our belts one notch tighter and constrict our wasteline just a little bit. But I have to tell you, I really doubt it.