Puzder. Please.Now

Apparently some weak knees exist in the Senate regarding the nomination of Andy Puzder to be Labor Secretary.

Collins and Murkowski seem to be anti several of Republican cabinet members, because they’re getting paid to be anti. Maybe their union buddies have put the bug in their ear and dollars in their bank accounts to oppose Andy Puzder.

Those weak knees must not know what a wreckage the Obama gang made of work rules, wage and hour laws and the like.

All these regs have hampered small business and need to go. In fact, we think most of the Department of Labor could go.

If you’ve read any of Puzder’s writing about free enterprise and the franchise system, over the last few years in the Wall Street Journal, you know that franchising is a great way to create jobs and wealth, you know that he’s a real free enterprizer.

So, rattle the cages of Sens. Murkowski, Collins, Scott and Issacson.

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Show Us the Money!

There seems to be some confusion in the Trump camp about whether they should put lower taxes or affordable health care at the top of their agenda.

For us, as representatives of the small business community (and we’re on the small end of the smalls, with average client size at 15 employees), it’s about corporate and personal tax cuts. And of those two, it’s about corporate tax cuts, because we can use the money better than the government. Besides, most of us derive most of our income from our businesses. It’s nice to have 100% expensing on equipment, but you’ve got to have the means to buy the equipment in the first place.

So, we’ll take the tax cut. The math is pretty simple: if the tax on $100,000 of adjusted gross income drops 15 points, that’s another $15,000 in an owner’s discretionary pocket.

He or she might take it all, but if they’re like our clients, they might use it on a down payment on a marketing and sales person, or more inventory, or the down payment on a new piece of equipment, all of which would have returns down the line.

Many of our clients don’t yet offer health care plans through their businesses; Obamacare has made them too expensive. And, when offered the choice between healthcare coverage and more take home pay, take home pay wins. Those who need it have insured spouses.

So, there you have it, Washington Wizards.

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So Just Get On With It

C’mon guys and gals in the Federal Government, and especially in the Senate.

Give Donald the people he wants, say what is useful to say, take the votes and move on.

The Dimmocrats (Lou Dobbs term) are just looking foolish in some of their oppo tactics. If they had a leader with any courage, he’d just say, ‘we fought the good fight, we lost, so let’s get on with governing.’ I don’t see such a leader on the horizon, so I guess we’re stuck with Sen. Schumer. Schumer, for his part, over this weekend, should do some soul searching and come to his senses.

The Republicans, for their part, are being their usual convivial selves; Orrin Hatch is the only one who’s shown some willingness to jam the nominees through, but it seems another Senator took the plunge yesterday. Give Trump the people he wants, including his Supreme Court nominal, by whatever means possible. Gorsuch looks like an absolute blue-chip recruit.

BTW, we’d raise the tax cut in importance, but as long as the bill is retroactive to the first of January and has the expensing provisions in it, we in the small business community are fine.


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Bye Bye Obama Rules

We thought it would be useful to let you know about the labor rules that are likely to be scrapped under Trump’s administration. Courtesy of Kiplinger’s Letter, here they are:

  1. No more employee rights under NLRB…..in fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if the NLRB itself is a casualty. Your employee rights should be spelled out in your employee handbook. The NLRB has really outlived its usefulness…we think most employers treat their employees well, especially in a tight labor market.
  2. There will be a note that you don’t have to join a union, even if the employer is unionized. There won’t be a rule forcing contractors to the feds to report labor law violations.
  3. There will be curbs to Obamacare, mainly things Trump can do without Senate approval, such as removal of mandatory requirements for health insurance and some of the financial penalties. Again, most employers offer health insurance to their employees, unless they’re small, in which case employees are generally covered on a spouse’s plan.
  4. The wildcard is the Congressional Review Act (CRA) which says that any laws passed by Congress with a financial impact or cost have to have a Congressional report written about them. Congress hasn’t used it much, but it’s out there.
  5. Here’s the best: Trump has promised to reduce by 75% the rules that impact business. We’re not sure what else there might be, but the Federal code is a monster.
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Hail and Farewell

This is an old Navy term that connotes the changing of command, and it’s about the nicest thing I could say regarding the departure of Barry and the Gangsters.

Farewell to Little Barry.  Thank God that we only have to deal with the pardon of Chelsea Manning in his last hours. It’s been eight years of annoyance. We in the small business community didn’t feel much wrath from him (I’m not sure he knows we’re out here), but it’s the absence of the psychological downer that the presents.

Hail to the Donald, the CEO of the government. So far, his cabinet picks look stellar, and the Senate Dems can’t block them….not enough votes. It’s also encouraging that he wants to cut non-defense spending 20%. Frankly, we’re of the opinion that even Defense spending can be cut, especially with the redoubtable Mattis in charge. We think the budget might actually sort of be in balance.

The media largely has missed the fact that Donald wants to level the trade playing field, and some of the tariffs are just the opening gambits in the world chess match.

Even with the tax cuts, growth should kick revenues upward enough to balance. We continue to be concerned with the change in government culture (accountability might be a foreign term), but it will take time.

We like the fact that Trump is making the rounds of the most important agencies….CIA, State and Defense, to give them all a pep talk. That’s leadership.

It’s also comforting that some of the appointees want to get rid of their cabinet posts….EPA, Education, Commerce. We wish them well.

So, here we go.

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So, What Are Your New Year’s Resolutions?

No, we don’t mean lose 10 pounds.

We mean, for you business owners and CEOs/Presidents out there, what are you going to resolve to do this year, and it doesn’t all have to do with more sales. Here are some ideas that we’ve put out to our clients:

  1. Improve your work/life/family balance. We do this one every year, and some year we might get it right. But we, as entrepreneurs, don’t really know what ‘right’ is; for us, it means saying ‘no’ to some opportunities that present themselves. Hug your wife/spouse/significant other and your kids more. Play with your dog or cat.
  2. Get better at personnel selection: we had a bunch of people taking our personnel selection course in the American School of Entrepreneurship in December; maybe they were getting ready to the new year (this year we’re putting in a tracker feature so we can tell more about what courses they took.)
  3. Develop a new product or service, add a new location or acquire one of your competitors. In our Solutions Forum practice, a lot of that went on in 2016. Develop your employees that look promising. Prune out the ones that are stagnant, or at least counsel them about their stagnation.
  4. Be a friend to someone struggling to get our of a senior position with a major corporation. Encourage them to start a business, coach them on what they really want to do when they grow up.
  5. Don’t get irritated at clients/customers who might otherwise be irritating. Just because they don’t see the way and the light, doesn’t make them bad people.
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What’re You Going to Do in 2017?

OK, forget the disasters of the Obama years, other than the fact that we suspect he’s going to be an annoying presence on the US and global stage for some years to come. Worse than Jimmy Carter.

But on to 2017; we have a new President, looks like a step in the right business direction. But, Trump isn’t afraid to whack corporate folks over the head when they need it.

  1. Pay attention to what Trump did to Carrier and Rexnord; he severely chastised corporate managements for being shortsighted and not thinking of alternatives. With the new money you’re going to get in the tax cut, think about putting some of it in labor-saving productivity improvements, so you can hire more US workers and pay fair wages.
  2. Entry level workers remain a problem, because they don’t know anything. Our clients all hire seasoned folks who aren’t on an entry level program. Talk to your local schools, at all levels, though, because they may have engineering or other students who are looking for job experience. For example, my college, Antioch, is looking to restart its business coop program, for three month internships. Right now, we need a slot for a media arts major. Ad agencies come to mind.
  3. We don’t entirely know what’s going to happen on health care for workers, although it’s a good idea to have a plan, to attract workers. If you are below 50 employees, having a health for your workers plan is optional, but if you’re over 50, you have to have one, until the Affordable Care Act is changed. We have suggested some mods to  ACA as a stopgap to a more comprehensive fix, but who knows? Probably sometime in 2017.
  4. Labor laws will get eased. The big problem is our universe has been the law that requires you to pay overtime up to $55k. This will probably get changed by the Department of Labor under Andy Puzder, but it might take awhile.
  5. If you got bushwhacked by the executive orders of Obama (#4 above is an example), help is on the way. Wake up your congressman/person. EPA and OHSA are notorious for ambushes here in Arizona, but we think the whole culture of these programs will change, but not overnight.
  6. Watch your work/llife/family balance. Entrepreneurs are notioriously bad at this. Delegate more, if you can afford it.

So, valued readers, that’s our opine about what’s going to happen early on in 2017, but I’m sure we’ll have more to say as the year goes along.

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