Enter the Axe Man

Tonight I signed my absentee ballot. I was for Obama in 2008, but feel that the promise of hope and change simply wasn’t realized and the President isn’t on a path I can continue to support.

I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Frankly neither candidate is really inline with my ideals – and both candidates spew an incredible amount of double talk.

At the end of the day it all comes down to the national debt for me. It is the ultimate quantifiable index of our fiscal health as a nation. We are now $16.2 trillion in debt – up from $11.9 trillion just four years ago. The spending is out of control. There is no talk of serious cuts and even if there was the President’s actions over the past four years wouldn’t back up such rhetoric.

The reality is that our government is just too big, too slow and too bloated for the good of the citizens. Someone needs to come in and clean things up. We need a presidential “axe man” to kill the programs that Obama can’t or won’t. The government needs to cut back on all non-essential spending, just like our families and businesses have over the past few years. We are cutting back… but look at government spending. In 2008 we were spending $2,982B a year with a $458 annual deficit – we are now spending $3,795B a year with a $1,326B annual deficit.

Let’s be honest… nobody “likes” Romney.

I don’t – but I voted for him. He is a hard-ass, brass-tacks ball-buster with Frankenstein lightning bolts in his hair. I want him to come it, assess the situation, nuke the garbage and leave us with a lean, mean government so we can finally move forward. I don’t expect him to get re-elected, but I do expect him to balance the budget and invest our dollars wisely.

The axe man cometh. It is time for the U.S. Government to lose some weight.

Meet The Rich

Despite my efforts to shrug the protests off, I continue to be irked by the #occupy movement. The image below is seared into my mind and while not representative of every protester’s thoughts it underscores some of the core message of “corporate greed” and “oppression of the 99%”.

I would like to share a different point of view. I believe America’s ultra rich and successful are one of the greatest assets our country has. Contrary to popular belief only 20% of millionaires inherit their money, the remaining 80% are self-made millionaires. These are the people creating jobs. These are the people who build the things we can’t live without. I believe people like Gates, Buffet and the late Steve Jobs are more valuable than any oil field or gold reserve.

In the U.S. our rich (and aspiring rich) create wealth not only for themselves, but everyone they touch. They are a unique natural resource created by our capitalist society. I don’t want to eat the rich, I want meet them, learn from them, leverage their financial resources and become one of them.

America needs the rich.

Think about the companies that lead the world in innovation. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Intel, eBay. What do all these companies have in common? The entrepreneurs that created them were all backed by rich, successful people and the venture funds that they invest in. There is a tremendous trickle down effect that few people realize or acknowledge.

When I look at a company like eBay I am amazed by the magnitude of the trickle down effect. In 1997 eBay received $6.7million in venture capital from Benchmark Captial. At the time the company had $4.7million in revenue. No bank would have loaned them that much and raising that kind of money from family and friends would have been impossible. Without some smart, wealthy investors willing to place a very risky bet eBay would have never happened.

Who cares? Well… 17,700 employees care, not to mention the millions of users who will conduct over $10 billion in transactions this year. eBay has created a wealth of jobs both directly and indirectly and I for one am happy that the rich were there to fund it and help it grow.

The very tools that are funding the #occupy uprising are a direct result of investments made by the rich. Social platforms like Twitter and Facebook didn’t make a dime for years and would never have made it past their first couple of months without big money pouring in.

Yes, the rich get richer… but they take everyone else along for the ride.


The irony of the #occupywallstreet movement against “corporate greed” spreading across the country amazes me.

There are now thousands of people gathered together using their iPhones (APPL) to upload videos to YouTube (GOOG) on AT&T (ATT) and Verizon (VZ) networks, sipping Starbucks (SBUX) and taking bathroom breaks at McDonalds (MCD). They are dressed in clothes from GAP (GPS) and American Eagle (AEO), writing on paper signs from International Paper (IP) with markers and pens manufactured by BIC (BIC). People are demonstrating against the very companies that they depend on every day to provide them everything from food and clothing to communication and entertainment.

The idea of corporate greed is altogether wrong.

Corporations don’t have desires, people do. People are greedy. People want more. They want more service from companies for less money. They want higher paying jobs. They want cars and homes they can’t afford. They want a better lifestyle for themselves and their family. They want it not because they have earned it or because it makes fiscal sense, but because they feel they deserve it. Entitlement spans the entire gamut of society from the rich to the poor.

This is the real greed that is ruining our country.

We need to look no further than our government to see the collective greed of the people. We are $14.8 trillion dollars in debt and have an annual budget deficit of $1.3 Trillion. The government is hemorrhaging money and we continue to increase the debt ceiling to fuel the unrealistic demands of the general public. We all want more… we push our politicians to get more… and we are drowning in debt as a result.

We are in this situation because most of our politicians don’t have the strength to say, “NO”. Our system rewards the short term “YES” despite the consequences and long term fiscal health of our country. Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter. Politicians get reelected on platforms of increased allocations, not cuts…tax reductions, not revenue generation.

The exact opposite is true in the corporate world. CEOs are selected and rewarded based on their ability to grow the top line, manage the bottom line and make the hard cuts when needed. Most major public corporations are profitable. It is not because they are greedy, it is because they are fiscally responsible and have a duty to their shareholders. I am not going to say that their aren’t issues with corporate governance, but I wish our government was managed more like a corporation.

Every CEO would love to pay their employees more, offer more benefits, increase dividends, upgrade infrastructure and make huge investments in the future. The reality is that there is only so much money to go around and they can’t do it all. CEOs can’t print more money… but the government can and does because of us… because of the peoples greed.

Corporations are not our problem. We are our problem.

Redirect the Energy

The energy of this movement is exciting and intense; I just feel it is wasted and misguided. I believe unemployment is at the heart of the unrest, causing people to point fingers and look for a scapegoat. Protesting about corporate greed doesn’t create more jobs. If anything it freaks investors out, drives the markets down and devalues the very corporations that could be hiring. If the organizers of the movement really want to have an impact they should change the message to be one of job creation and entrepreneurism.


What if those thousands of people came together to create startups instead of protesting? What if we were able to harness all that negative energy, hate and resentment to turn the world into a better place? What if those gatherings created hundreds of new companies, with new lives and futures for people who are currently unemployed? What if the organizers actually welcomed corporations to sponsor the movement and provide seed capital to the new startups?

Instead of #occupywallstreet how about #startupwallstreet?

I believe that there are positive ways to approach any problem. America was built on optimism and capitalism, let’s not sit around complaining about corporations keeping us down… lets go out there and create a the next generation of corporations.

We need corporations, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change the way they are run. If you think you can do it better go out there and start your own!

History Was Made Today

I had a blast with Missy Ward and the whole Orlando gang that showed up for the inauguration party at IZEA today. Special thanks to Quaker for all the oatmeal, my stomach is still full from breakfast. I am so proud of our country and the historic election of our first African American President. Obama rocked the inauguration speech… and Aretha Franklin rocked the biggest bow ever affixed to a human head.

Please don’t bail out the automakers

Now that the election is over the media has turned their focus to our nations failing automakers. It seems these automakers are asking the government to bail them out, just as they have been bailing out financial institutions and AIG. I wasn’t in favor of the original bailout package, but I could see some of the justification behind it. Our financial institutions and the credit they provide to businesses and consumers are the backbone of our economy. People need to be able to borrow money and feel that their money is safe when they deposit it at a bank. I get it.

Our automakers are a different animal all together. Sure, the automakers provide a lot of jobs and fuel a ton of spending, but the product they provide is available through other means. There are plenty of automobiles to choose from in this country and not every automaker is struggling. This is what capitalism and free markets are all about. Companies that manage themselves well, provide a quality product and deliver for their customers earn the right to survive. Those that fail to do so do not. End of story.

The government should not keep companies artificially afloat. Companies must make money to stay in business or have investors who believe in funding the future. If private and commercial money won’t invest more in a company there is obviously something wrong. I have no desire to “own a piece” of these companies through my tax dollars. If I wanted to own a piece I would go out and buy some stock on the open market.

All that said I do believe our auto makers need help. However, that help should not come through a bailout, rather it should come through the mechanisms already in place to deal with such a scenario. The auto makers should file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 will allow them to strike deals with creditors, eliminate unnecessary labor and restructure their companies. The investors, management and employees will be accountable for the failure and reinvention of these companies, not the federal government.

If these companies survive great. If not I am not worried… let them die. There are plenty of startups out there looking to take their place. Those startups will create new jobs and new economies of their own. Have you heard of Phoenix or Tesla Motors?

The restructure needs to focus on earning the U.S. consumer’s business. People don’t buy American cars like they used to because we have been getting our tails handed to us by foreign manufactures. It’s time for the big boys to step their game. If our automakers are going to be successfull long term they need to start making quality, innovative, fuel efficient vehicles. Show me a quality electric truck and I will be the first in line to buy one… and some shares.

Congratulations to President Elect Obama!

I have been pretty vocal about my lack of faith in both candidates this election. I ultimately made the decision to side with McCain, primarily over my fear of socialization of this country. With the election now over I want to congratulate Obama and his supporters on an extremely well run campaign. I had little doubt that Obama would be our next president, but I didn’t realize how decisive the vote would be.

Election Day 2008

My hope is that Obama leads this country forward in a fair and balanced way, understanding the needs and desires of all citizens. He has a tremendous opportunity to change this country, that change can be accomplished if he remains true to his word and governs as an American, not as a democrat. We need both parties on board working together to pull out of these difficult times.

I stand proud of our country and our new president. I look forward to the end of the war and economic prosperity.