Go Gas Go

If I continue to make what I make it will take me well over a hundred  years to earn as much as Ben Affleck makes for one movie appearance.   For that many American morons label me and people who earn a similar sum rich.   These are the same morons who are going to vote for Barack Obama who’s been bragging he will raise taxes ostensibly to get rich guys like me.

Owning and running a small business is much different than working a job.   You don’t go home at four or five in the afternoon, and when you do go whether it be eight or nine in the evening or three in the morning, work never leaves your mind.   On weekends work is still on your mind; coming up with payroll, dealing with bureaucratic regulations, attending to maintenance, taxes, customer complaints, employee complaints you are never really at rest.  

To my wife’s dismay it has been seven or eight years since I took off a whole week.   There is no relaxation in vacation when you have small business concerns plaguing your consciousness and quite frankly, half a Saturday is about all I’m comfortable giving up for R & R.   Anymore time than that and I am just uptight concerned to get back to my responsibilities.  

The mindset is impossible to comprehend for anyone who hasn’t been there.   While many attempt to create and manage small businesses only a fraction actually succeed, and only those at it for some time understand the pressures involved.

If it’s so bad, then why bother? is a favorite remark to my explanation, erroneously interpreted as lament, to which I reply, I never said it was so bad.  

Working so much, in the back of your mind you maintain a belief that your efforts will pay off allowing you to elevate your class and change your lifestyle.   Exactly how much that costs is inconceivable to anyone working a nine-to-five job.

Recently I spoke with my neighbor who owns the industrial building next to mine from which he operates an electrical contracting business.   I noticed far fewer cars in the parking lot and inquired, How’s business?

You know Jim, I was doing over three million a year with sixty employees, I was working my tail off, putting out fires left and right, and all it got me was a big fat tax bill at the end of the year.   Now I do about two million with 30 employees and life is pretty easy.  

We spoke for quite a while and I explained that doubling my income made absolutely no difference in my lifestyle; it only, likewise, increased my tax bill.   Because of a tax system that thinks I ought to be in the same bracket as Ben Affleck I have had no motivation what so ever to be all that thrifty in business operations, and not unless I could envision a tenfold increase in income to really change my lifestyle will that attitude change.

After that I added, As a matter of fact I kind of like these high gas prices.   Since my house is only a couple blocks from my shop all of my fuel related expenses are a tax deduction, and since all of my machinery is paid for and my depreciation allowances are dwindling, it is one of the few good write-offs I still have.

My neighbor got a good laugh out of that.

The sad fact is while many fixed income workers are scurrying about to save on fuel and energy costs, government policy which ventures to penalize that guy with just a little extra money by confiscating it, motivates him to blow his extra dough anyway he can.  

If my choice is to give disposable income to some evil greedy oil company out to screw the folks or some evil communist government bureaucrats out to screw me, I’ll go with the oil companies every time.  

On the plus side I’ve noticed that the higher gas prices go the fewer people I see on the road and the more enjoyable my driving experience becomes.

Personally, I’d be quite happy to see gas hit ten bucks.      

I might even buy a new car.

I wonder what has worse fuel economy, a Lexus LX 470 or an Escalade ESV?


Copyright 2008 Jim Pontillo