I have been participating in our economy as consumer, investor, and an owner of multiple businesses. I believe we live in the greatest country in the world; with opportunities available to our citizens which are without peer. Americans are an exceptional lot and we have an inherent responsibility to leave our nation better than we found it …. one person, company, public servant at a time.
Yet over the past decade a new narrative has gripped our national dialogue and permeated our local community discussions; a narrative based on the belief that public service somehow is bad for our country and our economy. A belief that somehow one group of Americans should be subservient to another. A belief that ties freedom and health to wealth and caste. A belief that only the most narrow and successful of us can somehow survive and sustain long-term without a broad base of regular Americans doing well by their own standards and living with some level of stability. A fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of an “indivisible” nation that cares deeply about the ” welfare” of it’s people as their “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. A belief that people who are struggling have only themselves to blame and are basically on on their own in a Darwinian-drama they call life.
In 2012, this belief has polarized our entire country and is beginning to pit business people against the vast majority of Americans. I do not share this belief and I would like to use this Blog to demonstrate how business leaders can and should play a new proactive role in making this the best country to live, thrive, participate in a growing economy, a pursue happiness. Heck, a strong base of Americans at all income levels above poverty is really good for commerce.
However, I will need to start by refuting lies, distortions, and bad data currently being used to get the vast majority of Americans to opt-out of our politics out of frustration. Even when they do opt-in, too many Americans are guided by select interests to vote against their own long-term best interests. The vast majority of Americans have been losing ground for the last decade -right in front of their own faces- specifically because they stopped voting and that lack of engagement has the effect of large groups of Americans “voting against themselves”. What Americans do not fully appreciate is that low voter interest is no accident and is part of a specific strategy not in their own best interest.
I constantly hear people referring to “business people”, “job creators” ,”entrepreneurs”, “employers” and the “private sector” as if this demographic always thinks the same way and does the same thing. There are many views in the world of business yet most of the public tends to only hear one view from the profit-driven private sector and that view is not always a view which promotes the self-interest of the vast majority. The truth is we should have the same interest … a strong America.
What I do believe is in the important role we all play in making sure America, your state, your city, your neighborhood and your family thrive in this country. I believe we can use a combination of the public and private sector to do great work for the country. I believe in a smart, effective, small government working for its citizens and protecting/assuring life, liberty, security, law&order, fair commerce, international trade and universal education. I believe the only reasonable roadblocks the system should erect are those that discourage people from doing the”wrong things” while we should do everything possible to promote the opportunity for everyone to do the “right things”.
Over the next year, I would like to give you my take on today’s issues from the perspective of a private-sector entrepreneur who believes in capitalism and a strong effective government; both of which should be working to support and grow the success of “we-the-people”. I have never had a political party affiliation yet I have supported members of all parties when their actions were consistent with what I believed. I am a military brat; raised and educated in the US and in multiple countries. I will never apologize for working hard or being luckier than good at times and I enjoy making as much money as I can yet I still love the availability of public roads, parks, a justice system and the public schools I send my kids to. I currently own and operate multiple businesses in California and have served on boards as Chairman, Past Chair , Director of a number of for-profit and non-profit boards with budgets as small as $3million to $4billion.
I believe the fight for our country is on the national level but most important/direct battlefield is at the local and state level. As a result, I have chaired or been part of numerous governmental task-forces by the appointments of elected Council members, Mayors and Governors and have spent the past decade working extensively on public-sector issues. I have worked with and in in some cases against Cities and States as I have worked to focus government on effective management of their liabilities and assets. I hate stupid laws or regulation that succeed in absolutely nothing and completely understand the contradiction of government benchmark and integrate private sector practices and when government must act in ways the private sector could never sustain. I love the fact that so many people choose public service because they are truly America’s heroes from education and public safety to national security and food/health safety. I also love the fact that in this country those that love risk and reward can aggressively pursue their business dreams in this country just as those that choose to work as one of many very valuable employees needed by these captains of industry can pursue their dreams as well. Both groups need each other and the country benefits when both groups are very successful.
I come to you biased only by this directive: For any of us to do really well, we need to make sure we all have the opportunity to do well; we must fight for “we-the-people.
We have to operate with the unfiltered truth and I would like to help.
I will tell you when people are full of crap or when people are using inaccurate or deceptive information to support a point that does not benefit “we-the-people”. I will especially tell you when someone tries to make a business based argument to sway your opinion that is full of hooey. I will make sure you have all sides of the story so you can make the most informed decision.
If you have an issue that you would like to see vetted by an independent non-partisan business person with broad understanding of the economy, (public and private), send it to me and I will post the issue and my read on my Blog. I will try to give you both sides unless in reality there is only one side. For example if one argues an issue that has is only 10% factually accurate while another makes the same argument with facts that are 100% accurate, I won’t waste your time treating both positions as equal although I will point put the deficit of fact. If I do not know an issue deeply, I will either research and respond or I will say: ” I don’t know”. If we’re lucky, we should be able to remove the marketing of an argument and instead get to the facts and how they impact your life and the majority of Americans.
So, there you have it. For the last 10,000 years, what tyrants have always feared is an educated populace which demands what is best for it from its Representatives/Leaders. Democracy is the one system designed to help the engaged yet hurt the disengaged because it can structurally lock-out those that have given up. Never, ever, ever cede this country to those that care only about themselves but could give a flip about you. Vote and stay educated, engaged and expressive -what I call “E to the third” (E3). If we all vote in our self-interest and if our self-interest is what is good for “we-the-people” we can’t lose!