I find it both amusing and chilling every-time I read the next idea or quote from what can only be described as today’s “megastar of socialism” Ms. Cortez aka AOC. Her now ubiquitous three letter moniker is probably making J-Lo envious.
I don’t like to stick-my-toe as the saying goes into the land of the political. As a matter-of-fact I do my upmost to stay clear of the subject whenever possible.
However, once the politics of the day (as in a law or tax change etc.) collides with business. As much as I abhor it. Then the proverbial “jump” must be made. For as business people, owners, et al. we must deal with the what is. Choice after the fact is pre-decided. i.e., follow the law or, go out of business, either voluntarily or involuntary. That’s the choice.
Yet, there is another factor for business that leaders (e.g., Business owners, leaders, again et al.) must also be very aware of such as, what we may see coming over, or building on the horizon.
And to that point, what that dark foreboding cloud that is rightfully causing many a business leader to lay awake at night is something no one in the U.S. ever thought possible – Socialism/Communism.
But make no mistake – it is here and growing.
However, with that said, I’ll also contend it’s not out of strength, but rather, it’s filling the vacuum left by the decimation of small business across the landscape.
Yet, I’ll further contend, much of this growth can also be laid directly at the feet of many of the same business leaders it’s keeping awake at night. The reasoning is simple:
Far too many have shucked their once symbiotic relationship to their communities. i.e., they let not just someone, but anyone else handle the local politics. (think, zoning boards, school boards, planning commissions, etc., etc., etc.) After-all, as the usual response came back, they were “too busy trying to run their businesses.”
As always – decisions have consequences.
The issue now is the socialist/communist cadre are getting closer to the point of taking any and all fear or worries out of being in business. Their solution? They’ll just dictate how you’ll run it, how much you can make and how much you’ll keep.
Don’t take my word for it, just go look and read any of the proclamations from AOC and her growing list of supporters. No, not in the regular populace, but in the political such as also elected figures, where some have already announced running for president in 2020. Yes, that list.
The ideas being proposed (such as “The New Green Deal”) are complete fantasy. However, their belief of coming into the power as to mandate them, is anything but. They’re serious – and they think they can win running on such.
Don’t let the above go by without any further contemplation. Think about that in-and-of itself. It should tell you just how close that once unimaginable event horizon truly is. Again, ponder the above and you’ll better understand the why.
Today, in communities across the landscape, many of the “seats” once filled with business leaders with both business sense and a commitment to their representative communities have been left vacant and are now populated with many (and sometimes only) “resume enhancement” seekers. i.e., no true business experience or true community stakeholder.
These “seats” were once the place that the elders of the community or, business leaders would populate. This was where the original intent behind the phase “giving back to the community” used to reside.
This was once viewed as an incumbent responsibility by this set. Today it’s morphed into something akin to “I donated and sent a check, what more do you want from me? I’m trying to run a business here!” Sad, but true.
Since the rise of the financialization of big business for the sole purpose of big businesses sake via the capital markets, many a community’s small business sector has been decimated.
The smaller, locally owned businesses of the community were closed via the inability to compete with the rise of the “box store concept.” Many a once business owner suddenly found themselves needing to join them (as in close and go work for them as an employee) rather than fight them.
This process alone hollowed out many a downtown and subsequently its once acumen filled “seats.” People that were once inclined to fill these positions no longer felt any responsibility or purpose to do so.
Yet, that didn’t mean those positions were to be left empty. For by law they need to be filled in may instances. Hence came the rise of what I call the “resume enhancing” set. Qualifications? Rhymes with “fog a mirror.”
Personally I have had upfront and personal dealings with this crowd years ago when I owned a local downtown business. It was in a small town that was becoming an affluent bedroom community to the larger metro area.
I was aghast when I had to make my first presentation to the then newly formed “economic committee” to see if I would be granted the “opportunity” to open my business. I could tell it was overly populated by the “resume enhancement” cadre just by the questions I was being asked. Again, I was stunned.
In time (very short to be exact) my first impressions were proved correct. Here’s just two examples:
We were notified because the “committee” voted to hold a downtown parade that we (as in all of the downtown businesses) had to close our businesses for two days. (e.g., Friday and Saturday our weekly sales makers) And, they also wanted (more like demanded) a very sizable donation from each of us to pay for it. Hint: they didn’t get it, and we remained open without a glitch except for the one in their ego.
Another was this same “committee” decided they were endorsing a political candidate (U.S. Senator) and were going to allow for them to hold a rally directly in front of our shops downtown. Again, on a weekend where most of , if not all of our prime business was done. This “rally” would all but signal to any and all customers to avoid the area, because traffic and parking would be a nightmare.
To add insult to injury this same “committee” decided that their office would not be large enough to seat the incoming staff of the candidate and with that decided to commandeer an unused office underneath one the largest businesses of the downtown. (with the building owners aproval of course.)
What was further mind-boggling was that with a straight face, and after with incredulous resulting demeanor, they simply stated that it was their wish for the owner of that business to close for the day. Their reasoning? Since they were going to be occupying the basement office that day the foot traffic caused by his business above might be distracting.
And no he didn’t close. But by the looks on their faces, if they had the power to make him? Think about it.
These are not isolated events. They happen everyday and are far too common. (I could list more that I’ve witnesses myself, but that’s for another article) Business people, leaders, community elders and so forth have the acumen and would not propose 1/10th of what is proposed in many communities today. Yet, if no one is going to take the responsibility to do the work that needs to be done, then those that have no clue, nor care – will.
I know the above is painted with a very big brush and is a generalization of the maximum variety. Yet, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t paint a picture for explaining what’s been happening in far more locales than most want to identify.
There’s nothing wrong with businesses being made obsolete via creative and destructive models. i.e., there’s nothing inherently evil with big business and/or the big box store model. As long as the rules (and laws) for all to compete are applied evenly. i.e., all small businesses want the opportunity and resources to become big – and all big businesses want the opportunity and resources to crush any that want to try.
That’s called business. And it’s that dynamism that has allowed us to prosper like no other nation before us.
But it’s in that dynamism that resides one of the most fervent aspects of the U.S. which was born and remains the underpinning for the saying “Streets paved in gold!” And it is this…
The heart, soul and citizen government that propelled it is born and beats stead-fast in the small business community.
Small business, the idea that no matter where you came from, what your background was, what may be your shortcomings – if you wanted to stand and create on your own two feet and be self sufficient: you could start and run your own business.
The issue now is many have forgotten this because of the nascent rise of this latest financialization of both business practices and models (pick any remaining Wall Street cash-burn darling for clues) fueled via the perverse interjection of central bank quantitative initiatives (aka money printing ex nihilo) around the globe.
Many are enamored with trying to be the next “Celebrity CEO” or VC’s next darling for the deal-of-the-day. But those ships have not only sailed but I believe are running aground in plain site. (e.g., Mark Zuckerberg et al.)
The next “big thing” I believe that many are not fully cognizant of is that small is about to be the new big.
But in order for small business to take back its rightful place in the current political climate it has to stop complaining and start getting back to business, which includes: being involved in your local community. Whether it’s on the “boards” as they say or, in other fashion.
It is a part of being in business. Period.
If you don’t think it is? Don’t worry, Ms. Ortez and her growing ideologues will be glad to prove you correct.
Think about it. While you still have time that is.
© 2019 Mark St.Cyr