Time Better Spent

By Brown, Ali | USA TODAY, November 2011 | Go to article overview

Time Better Spent


Brown, Ali, USA TODAY


LISTEN, IT IS GOOD for people to shake things up. It gets us all to stop, think, and question what we always have accepted--and that is what the Occupy Wall Street protest surely has done. It seems the biggest issue the protesters have relates to the corporate favoritism that was so visible during the bailouts. I wholeheartedly agree with them on that count. There are archaic business models that just do not work anymore. They have erupted to the surface, and it is going to be messy to deal with. Moreover, it will take quite a while for healthy, new models to emerge onto center stage.

With unemployment projected to be over eight percent for the next several years by the Congressional Budget Office, it is a scary time for those who simply were plugging along with the status quo, believing that having a job was their security system. They feel duped.

While the OWS people's dedication to their cause is to be applauded, what is scary to me as a business owner is the rampant anticapitalism and "eat the rich" mentality that is pervading the movement. Yes, there is a lot of waste and excess out there that needs to be addressed, but these protesters are wrong to demonize all business, capitalism, and money, and then insist, "Give us jobs."

People want jobs to make money. Businesses create jobs, and the businesses that are successful--the ones that create jobs--are run by "rich people," or at least that is the definition assigned to the top one percent of earners, who, by the way, are not as "ultra-wealthy" as has been portrayed. The latest report from the National Taxpayers Union states that the top one percent of earners in the U.S. includes everyone making more than $380,354 a year.

Interestingly, this cutoff typically is what I see as the breakthrough level for most small businesses owners. When they enter this net income bracket, it also typically signifies they are starting to make real strides in growing their companies, creating more jobs to be filled, and hiring more employees. OWS has revealed--in a huge way--the gross misconceptions about how business works and even where, and how, jobs and money are generated.

The majority of millionaires in this country are people who have created their own incomes. They are not what most people imagine--the "fat cat" bankers riding around in limos collecting their bonus checks and passing the Grey Poupon. These millionaires did not have any money handed to them by their relatives, and they did not win the lottery. Many started with nothing. They took risks, launched businesses, invested in real estate, made many sacrifices, won some and lost some, and put everything on the line to create a better life for themselves and their families.

I am one of them and, in the process, we grew companies, hired workers, generated jobs, and stimulated the economy. …

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