How to get small business moving, Mr. Immelt?

When did Dayton become the first stop on the bullshit express?

We had John McCain go rogue and introduce Sarah Palin as his secret weapon at the Nutter Center- and now, we get a junta of overpaid CEOs from big business trying to figure out how to create jobs via small business:

The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness will hold the first in what the White House said would be a series of “listening and action sessions” Tuesday at labels manufacturer Hooven-Dayton Corp.’s Vandalia plant, 7468 Webster St….

The council’s sessions will take place around the country and are geared toward bringing “new voices to the table” in helping the council arrive at recommendations for the president, the White House said. What’s said at these meetings will help inform the “future policy work” of the council, the Obama administration said Friday.

In Vandalia, administration officials and council members will tour the Hooven-Dayton facility before holding discussions and question-and-answer sessions with local business owners.

“Small businesses need to be the engine of the U.S. jobs recovery,” said Jeff Immelt, General Electric Co. chief executive and head of the new council. “Creating new opportunities and lowering barriers to small business growth is at the core of our mission on the president’s council.”….

The administration said the council’s core mission is to encourage hiring, education and training of workers to compete in the global economy.

Participants in Tuesday’s event will include Immelt; Darlene Miller, president and CEO of Permac; Dick Parsons, Citigroup chairman; Karen Mills, of the Small Business Administration; John Fernandez, of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, and others.

via Obama’s Jobs-Competitiveness Council to hold first session in Dayton.

I’d like to go and introduce a few strategic ideas- but, doubt I’ll get a chance to talk to people like Immelt who think they are worth $10.5 K per hour- no, that’s not $10.50 but, $10,500 per hour- or $175 per minute:

Compensation for 2010
Salary $3,300,000.00
Bonus $4,000,000.00
Restricted stock awards $0.00
All other compensation $389,809.00
Option awards $7,400,000.00
Non-equity incentive plan compensation $0.00
Change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings $6,338,956.00
Total Compensation $21,428,765.00
via Jeffrey R. Immelt Profile – Forbes.com.

So, Mr. Immelt, are my ideas, worth five minutes of your esteemed time ($875)?

  1. Since the Federal Government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the U.S.- how about a simplified GSA-EZ schedule for small business– those under $6 million in annual revenue (571 hours of Jeff time). The current GSA schedule requires about 80 hours (or $840,000 in Jeff time) to fill out. By creating a GSA EZ schedule the federal government could widen their vendor base and help many small businesses get a chance to operate in this market.
  2. End “corporate welfare” in the name of “economic development” creating a competition between cities and states for “jobs” where decisions are no longer based on solid business models, but purely on short-term extortion by big businesses- including yours (GE’s new  “Episcenter” on UD property). A level playing field is absolutely essential for small business having an opportunity to compete. The taxpayers subsidized about half your annual salary to this facility. Why?
  3. Instead of protecting the people from online poker, let’s protect the integrity of our financial system by restoring sanity to the Wall Street Casino. The average share of stock is now held for less than 12 seconds- ($35 in Jeff time). The reality is that no business would ask for investment for 12 seconds- we need to return sanity to what the word “investment” means- and force stock holdings to last for more than a New York minute.
  4. Small business needs healthy workers, yet including the health insurance companies in the delivery of health care is like guaranteeing a vig to the mob to stay in business. As a small business I used to provide 100% of my employees’ health insurance. Now, I can barely afford my own. When the CEOs of Anthem and United Health Care both made around $140,000,000 each in annual compensation (making Jeff time look like minor league money) it was clear that the insurance industry wasn’t interested in taking care of anyone but themselves. A single-payer system would cut a ton of overhead out of the health insurance industry, giving us money for actual health care delivery. We’d have to build an effective retraining program to teach former paper pushers how to become pill pushers instead.
  5. There are two major addictions in this country that we need to deal with- cheap oil and high fructose corn syrup. Presidents as far back as Nixon have set goals of “energy independence” yet nothing has happened. We could make major changes by electrifying rail, offering a walk to work tax credit, and by investing in high-speed rail. The addiction of our processed food manufacturers to high fructose corn syrup has created a nation of unhealthy fatties. If we work at getting America to eat better- and to lose weight, our costs of health care will drop as well. This may be too esoteric for the scotch and caviar set- but when you can get more crap calories off the $1 menu than you need in a day, we’re in trouble. When small businesses get hit with price increases in both energy costs and health insurance costs- they don’t have the flexibility that large companies do to pass the costs along, making factors beyond their control a major stumbling block.

This list is getting longer than Mr. Immelt would ever afford me to speak- but, the last two items are absolutely critical to seeing real change in our country and creating opportunity- political reform.

  1. We need to simplify our tax code and payment and collection systems. For small businesses to have to go to a multitude of different government websites- from local to federal, to file paperwork and make payments on a schedule that only tax professionals can keep track of is criminal. We need a single site login with our federal employer ID- where we report our simplified payroll and tax info– so that we don’t spend more time trying to decipher what we owe, to whom and when. The amount of fines levied on small business because of complexity is criminal- the amount that GE doesn’t pay because they can afford tax-avoidance departments is also criminal- it’s time to simplify.
  2. Last but not least, we need to take the auction atmosphere out of politics and reform campaign finance once and for all by making it something the taxpayers pay for- not selling our political offices out to the highest bidder. The cost of campaigns and the bad policy we’ve made to satisfy campaign debts is killing us. In a country that prides itself on having tons of choice in everything from education to hot sauce, the fact that our system asks us to choose between two political parties is a bad joke. It’s time to get down to real politics and honest government.

If Jeff Immelt really wanted to give small business a chance- it would have to start with a new definition of what the American dream is these days. While he may be living it- there is a cost associated with it, that he’s been tasked to offer solutions. The reality is, he’s being incredibly well paid to manage a company he didn’t create, didn’t take any risk to run, or has any personal risk if it fails- the total opposite of what we as small business people have to deal with. When our big businesses have to operate with the same challenges that small business have to operate with- we may see the change we are supposedly talking about with this Jobs Competitive Council.

This took me about 93 minutes to write. If I was paid like Jeff Immelt, I’d be $16,275 richer. Considering $15,810 is what the minimum wage pays in a year, you should quickly see the problem with creating minimum wage jobs the way we are shifting our work force in America. If Immelt was paid based on a formula for how many people he pays- and how much the total payroll is – instead of some whim of the unregulated market, we’d probably see more focus on the kind of jobs we create in this country. But, that’s asking way too much of a man with nothing to lose.

Dayton was the first place we figured out the secrets of powered flight, it’s where we solved the Bosnian war, now, let’s end the bullshit and get serious about rebuilding the American Dream.

 

 

 

 

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