Does Barry know business?

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Filed Under General on May 15 

President “Silent Cal” Coolidge was a man of few words. One of his better known declarations was “the chief business of the American people is business”. Unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office, when Coolidge had nothing to say, he said nothing.

With all the focus on business – especially those into which the large and ungainly hand of government has been abruptly shoved – I was reminded of the opening lecture in the very first business class I ever took. The class was unsurprisingly designated “Business 101” and the professor opened his lecture with a very simple question:

What is the main purpose of a business – any business?

There were several answers – mostly what you would expect from a bunch of kids who had just graduate from high school the previous spring and thought they knew just about everything. “Create jobs” was one answer, “pay taxes” another, and “help the community” came from some corner of the classroom. Looking back at it all these years later, I’m sure the professor wondered just how some of these people graduated from high school, let alone got into college. He smiled, and gave more or less the following answer:

The main purpose of any business venture is to make money, turn a profit, or be otherwise successful. Without a profit, there are no jobs, no taxes, and no community. Any business that doesn’t make money doesn’t stay in business very long.

The words “profit” and “capitalism” have become near profanity to the people in and close to Team Obama. If somehow you or your business manage to pay all your bills, pay all your people, pay all your taxes, and still manage to have money left over when it’s all said and done, you my fellow American are a downright dirty, rotten, stinking, filthy, capitalist pig who doesn’t see all the misery around you. How dare you make a profit? How dare you keep the money for your own good and that of your company. You are obviously selfish and unpatriotic.

Back during the campaign, Michelle Obama gave this advice to a bunch of women in Ohio:

We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do. Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that.

President Obama echoed more or less the same sentiment in his commencement address at Arizona State University:

Now, in the face of these challenges, it may be tempting to fall back on the formulas for success that have been pedaled so frequently in recent years. It goes something like this: You’re taught to chase after all the usual brass rings; you try to be on this “who’s who” list or that top 100 list; you chase after the big money and you figure out how big your corner office is; you worry about whether you have a fancy enough title or a fancy enough car. That’s the message that’s sent each and every day, or has been in our culture for far too long — that through material possessions, through a ruthless competition pursued only on your own behalf — that’s how you will measure success.

Now, you can take that road — and it may work for some. But at this critical juncture in our nation’s history, at this difficult time, let me suggest that such an approach won’t get you where you want to go; it displays a poverty of ambition — that in fact, the elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short-term gain over lasting achievement is precisely what your generation needs to help end.

With a degree from this outstanding institution, you have everything you need to get started. You’ve got no excuses. You have no excuses not to change the world. Did you study business? Go start a company. Or why not help our struggling non-profits find better, more effective ways to serve folks in need. Did you study nursing? Understaffed clinics and hospitals across this country are desperate for your help. Did you study education? Teach in a high-need school where the kids really need you; give a chance to kids who can’t– who can’t get everything they need maybe in their neighborhood, maybe not even in their home we can’t afford to give up on — prepare them to compete for any job anywhere in the world. Did you study engineering? Help us lead a green revolution — developing new sources of clean energy that will power our economy and preserve our planet.

If you have enough interest to make it past Business 101, eventually you’ll have to take several accounting and finance classes. In those classes you learn that there are two centers about which a business is principally concerned. The first – and by far the most important – is the profit center. This is what drives your business model – or at least it should. You want to maximize your profit centers as much as possible.

The other center on which a business focuses is the cost center. These are the costs which eat up the cash generated by the profit centers. A successful business is one that minimizes costs to the fullest extent possible.

Got that so far? Good.

There are also profit and cost centers in society. All the areas highlighted as acceptable career paths by both Barack and Michelle are cost centers. I’m sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but social workers, teachers, nurses, community organizers, and non-profit s don’t add anything to the economic pie. In other words, somebody working in a profit center has to pay for all the aforementioned people.

What are the profit centers in the American economy? Well, they are a vanishing breed. Profits, taxes, and other societal revenue are generated by the very same corporate America so despised by Team Obama. These are the people and companies in the cross hairs of Obama’s tax sniper. These are they who would bear the burden of Obama’s misguided attempt to socialize and thus ruin America’s health care system.

Most leftists believe, misguidedly so, that raising taxes has no effect on business or personal behavior. Obama seems to believe he can treat American businesses much like the fictional Delta House boys treated incoming pledges.

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Thank you sir, may I have another?

Any student of economics understands the time proven principle that what you tax you get less of. So, when Barry stands before his jumbo sized TelePrompTer and tells American how many billions he plans to confiscate from American business using his almighty power of the Obama Thugocracy, understand that he won’t get nearly as much as he dreams.

Business won’t expand just to pay more taxes. They won’t hire any more people just to be part of the untold millions of jobs Obama has promised to “save or create”. If Barry and company were actually running a company, any auditor would look at the enormous cost centers, compare them with the puny and dwindling profit centers and pull the funding all together.

I always found it interesting that when I was in business school, I was required to take two courses on business law and ethics. To the best of my knowledge, the adjacent law school did not have the same requirement in that no business classes were required of the law students.

I have a real fear for Chrysler, General Motors, and any other business into which Obama has thrust his fingers. Why? Because I’m pretty sure that you – having read this post – now have a better understanding of the purpose of a business than does Barack Obama. That’s just plain sad.

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