Geithner's Big Idea: Small Business Should Be Smaller

Lincoln Brown
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Posted: Jun 28, 2011 12:01 AM

My wife is a woman of vision and for years we have thought about owning a small business. She’s met with the SBA in our town and with several companies that offer franchises.

She has been supportive of my hare-brained idea to have my own talk show and I promised her I would do anything I could to help her in pursuit of her dream.

Having visited the Virgin Islands, we found a nice coffee shop at a marina that was for sale. We qualified for a loan, but as it turns out, mainland banks won’t issue loans for businesses in U.S. territories. And banks the Virgin Islands won’t issue loans to people who don’t live in the Virgin Islands. Since we could not move to the Virgin Islands unless we had the business… well swing and a miss.

At one point we had considered buying a charter fishing boat. But the owner of the business is also the captain and guide. And since people who charter fishing boats do so with the reasonable expectation that they will catch fish (and return to the dock) we decided that was not for us.

So we realized that we can’t all be Jimmy Buffet and live out our days in the tropics, and we opted to be a bit more conventional. 

We thought of opening a store of some kind, and had even thought about going the route of convenience store. But if Chicago and now Philadelphia are indicator flash mobs are now relieving store owners of their inventory. You expect some shrinkage in the retail business, but not that much that fast. So that was out.

So we decided to stay close to home and open a pizzeria. Start small, start local and give ourselves room to grow. There is no pizza place in our end of town, so we figured it was a slam dunk. We would need to hire employees, and if we ever had to fire someone we would probably face a lawsuit for being racist-sexist-Islamo-homophobes who hate endangered species.

We would need a permit from the EPA for using a non-solar-powered ovens (not to mention a sanction for having conventional light bulbs in the ovens) and a plan for disposing of excess tomato sauce in an environmentally friendly manner. And there was always the chance SEIU might show up at our door one day and break our legs if we didn’t dress our servers and drivers in purple. Granted, Utah is a right to work state, but that doesn’t seem to be slowing down the NLRB in South Carolina.

And now Turbo Tim Geithner wants to hike taxes on small businesses to help pay the way for people who don’t work at places like small businesses. If Timmy gets his way, if we show a significant enough profit such as more than 250 grand a year, the Marble Mafia will move in and demand an extra piece of the action.

Somehow the notion that success is denoted by earning up to only $249,999.99 a year is just nor that appealing.

In the end we decided not to hang out our shingle on Mains Street USA. We aren’t going to be entrepreneurs.  We just don’t need the headaches.

No, I think I am going to stay right where I am. Safe and sound in the small market radio business.  Let the owner have all the headaches. He can worry about the taxes, that’s hardly my problem. Anyway I don’t think I’ll have anything to worry about. After all, we aren’t some massive conglomerate of  stations or a corporate franchise. Just two stations with seven employees.

Hell I don’t think we gross more than 500 thousand dollars a year….aw crap!


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