Facing government takeovers, onerous over regulation, as well as tax, borrow and spend policies; free enterprise is under assault by the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats. So this past weekend, I interviewed a number of different business people about government policy, the economy, investments, new business opportunities, and achieving success even in today's difficult business environment.Click here to listen.
On The Economy
Both Sara Mohsin (Mohsin Mortgage Corporation) and Bob Fragasso (Fragasso Financial Advisors) joined me on the program with their thoughts on the current state of our economy. Over the past two weeks, numerous economists have suggested that a double dip recession is now a real possibility, and Bob is particularly concerned with the inherent economic dangers of tax increases and increased government regulation. Bob and I agree that taking money away from people and businesses in the form of increased taxes and borrowing which must later be repaid does not grow the economy, it shrinks it. People spend and invest their own hard earned money much better than government. Just think of bridges and tunnels to nowhere -- like Pittsburgh's new tunnel and bridge to the casino that is so expensive it will end up costing $40 per one mile ride - or the $10 million of taxpayer money appropriated to pay for the new Senator Arlen Specter Library or the $10 million of our money ripped away from us to pay for the Representative John Murtha Center for Public Policy. Can you believe the shear audacity of these liberal government abuses!!!? Why should we pay to feed the egos and desire for Earthly immortality of the politically powerful?
John Maynard Keynes was just dead wrong when he theorized that it does not matter whether people spend their own hard earned money or government taxes it away and spends it for them. Private people and businesses across our economy make literally billions of individual decisions to spend and save THEIR OWN money based on their own separate economic interests. Money saved and spent in this way is what drives the economy with very high "multiplier effects." On the other hand, the people who control government spend other people's money based on the political considerations of how to maintain their power and position. As evidenced by Pittsburgh's tunnel and bridge to a government sanctioned casino, this often leads to money being dumped into holes in the ground.
... Or perhaps dumped on rooftops! Here is one recent story that is so funny, it is sad. There is a 40 year old Government office building in downtown Pittsburgh that has a flat roof and that has frequently had water problems. In other words, the roof leaks. Well, along came President Obama's $1 Trillion stimulus plan and some liberal government bureaucrat had the great, "crunchy" idea that it would be just wonderful to use stimulus money to install a "green roof" complete with an urban flower garden on top of this government building to help beautify and "green" the city. So the government spent close to $1 million of borrowed money to install the green roof and garden. The only problem is that no one in the government really thought about the problems with the leaky roof. So now Pittsburgh has one small roof top garden. We taxpayers will have to sacrifice and tighten our belts to pay back the $1 million that was used to install the garden plus interest, and on top of that, we taxpayers will have to sacrifice and tighten our belts to pay to fix the leaky roof, including paying for the increased damage caused by all the watering for the garden. And if tax rates are raised "to pay for" this and the rest of Obama, Pelosi and the Democrat Party's $1 Trillion stimulus, then all of our incentives to work, save and invest will also be reduced. This kind of "stimulus" destroys wealth and sucks money out of the economy. It is an investment in STUPIDITY that no one would ever make with their own money. And you wonder why people are angry and worried!
But both Sara Mohsin and Bob Fragasso are true entrepreneurs pursuing their American Dreams. They agree with me on the problems we face, but also reminded listeners that there are always opportunities to pursue. Specifically, Sara stressed that mortgage interest rates are at historic lows. Sara believes that right now while interest rates are so low, everyone should evaluate whether it makes sense for them to refinance. I myself am shocked that it is possible right now to obtain a 30 year fixed rate mortgage at an interest rate of far less than 5%. This is certainly an opportunity that savvy people should evaluate closely. Bob Fragasso believes that it is time to look beyond short term volatility and adopt long term investment strategies based on sensible asset allocations. Given that equity markets are down over the past ten years now, it is clear that once we turn government policy around, we will see a new period of sustained economic and equity market growth.
Some Entrepreneurial Insights
Jim Gaffney, a Principal at Peak Performance Management returned to the program this weekend with some tips on how to become more successful in business - especially focused on improving selling skills. No matter what the current economic environment, entrepreneurs must be able to sell their products and services. But selling does not come naturally to everyone, and even the best natural sales people can improve. Jim offers some strategies on how to identify and overcome major sales weaknesses. One of the most important things to remember if you want to be successful is to have a positive outlook. You cannot allow the current economic trends or the political agenda to get you down. Instead, you can put your energy into both electing conservative leaders and also building your own career.
RESPECT PROPERTY RIGHTS
Unfortunately, bad government policy often punishes successful people and businesses with counterproductive tax hikes and restrictive government regulations. Matt Pitzarella, an executive with Range Resources, joined me on the program with a status report on Governor Ed Rendell's gas extraction tax plan. The good news is that Pennsylvania Senate Republicans refused to pass the tax as part of the 2010-11 budget. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans under intense pressure from Democrat Governor Ed Rendell and other Democrats, agreed to implement some sort of gas extraction tax after re-examining the issue this summer. The sad truth is that any gas extraction tax will slow the development of Marcellus Shale gas, result in fewer jobs, increase the costs of natural gas, and leave Pennsylvanians with less wealth. If government regulators would work with companies like Range Resources, the Marcelus Shale could be the basis for a whole new economic boom in Western Pennsylvania.
Governor Rendell and other members of the Democrat Party really believe that government can trample upon private property rights. In America, when private land owners who own the mineral rights for their land sign contracts with private developers to produce gas or other minerals, private property rights should be respected and government should have a very limited role. Yes, the developer should comply with general environmental regulations, and yes the land owner and developer should pay all property, sales, business profit, personal income, employment and other taxes that any other land owners and business owners pay (it is a long list of existing taxes). However, neither the government, nor the general population of the state owns the land or the mineral rights. It is purely SOCIALIST to think that the government or the public can intrude upon private property rights and legislate a special "gas extraction tax" on top of all the other taxes being paid. There is no justification for such a tax other than a socialist or nationalist idea that somehow private property rights do not really apply and that "the people own the gas." This Democrat Party thinking is more Fascist or Socialist than American and is the kind of argument used in Latin American countries with very weak traditions of the rule of law. For the good of our economy and our constitutional republic, we must stand up and stop this potential violation of property rights!
These days, I take great comfort in the fact that the "progressive" agenda is becoming increasingly unpopular with the American people. Like you, I look forward to the November 2010 elections and the real changes that they promise to bring. As we speak the truth and educate our friends and family, people all across our country are increasingly aware of the destructive agenda that President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Governor Ed Rendell and their Democrat Party are trying to implement. And the good news is, even after November, I don't believe that Americans are going to forget. We must vote the liberals out of office in 2010, 2012, and 2014. We must replace them with fiscally responsible conservatives who will balance budgets, eliminate onerous government regulations, and lower taxes. And when we do, we will again be "the shining city upon a hill." Thank you for all of your support and hard work. Please keep standing up for America.
Glen Meakem is a successful technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and conservative talk radio show host, who offers information and insights on how individuals and our nation can be more successful. Glen's unique perspective has been shaped by his experiences as founder, chairman and CEO of the B2B internet success Freemarkets Inc - which he founded in 1995, took public in 1999, and sold to Ariba in 2004. In 2005, Glen co-founded Meakem Becker Venture Capital, a firm that invests in early stage start up companies. Concerned about the liberal political agenda that has gripped the United States and his home state of Pennsylvania, Glen launched the Glen Meakem Program in 2008. Glen served as an officer in the United States Army Reserve and is a veteran of the First Gulf War. He also earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his MBA from Harvard Business School. For more information about Glen and the Glen Meakem Radio Program, or to read his blog, please visit http://glenmeakem.com.
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