Published November 16, 2012
When I was a little girl, my mom took me to see an old, dilapidated building in a small, rural town in Southern Missouri. We walked around the building and peeked in the windows in what was once a furniture manufacturing plant. There were machines and pieces of partially built furniture sitting around as if the employees had all just left for the day. I was intrigued by the scene, but also curious as to why mom had brought me to this place.
Mom explained the business had once been owned by her family. The bustling little company employed about 20 people who, unlike many of their neighbors, had good jobs. Then a union organizer came into town and tried to organize the workers. My Uncle met with the employees and explained that it was their right to unionize, but he told them if that was their choice the plant would close down.
The employees didn’t take my Uncle seriously and instead voted to join the union. The morning after the vote the employees arrived to find the building padlocked, and the company never reopened for business. If only the employees had listened to my Uncle, who knows how that little business may have grown. But my mother explained it was too expensive and difficult to deal with the union, and they didn’t have any choice but to shut down the operation.
Now that the election is over, I find myself asking: “Why don’t people listen?” As reports of lay-offs by businesses bracing themselves for the costs of Obamacare hit the news, some political pundits are spinning it as a political vendetta.
Come on folks. You were told this would happen. You chose not to listen.
American small businesses have suffered enough in this current economy, and now you’ve dealt them the death knell. You made your choice and now you want to call these business owners unAmerican. This isn’t political, it’s business survival.
Twenty-three million Americans are unemployed or under-employed in this country, and now more job cuts are on the horizon. Job cuts that could have been avoided. Small business have historically been the job creators in the United States, but not this time. The burdensome costs of Obamacare coupled with the certainty of tax increases is going to stifle this economy more than we’ve seen in the past several years.
Fear is how I would describe the current mood of small business owners. One contractor I spoke to said he was ready to close the doors and move to Canada. A restaurant owner told me she won’t be expanding anytime soon. I guess the one bright side is the President won’t have to worry about access to capital for small firms, because business owners won’t be needing capital for growth.
Small business owners weren’t crying wolf when they expressed their outrage toward Obamacare. But America has voted, and that’s what makes this country great. We all have a voice and the freedom of choice. However, don’t be surprised if you show up to work one day and the business owner has padlocked the door. And remember, it’s not just your job that’s lost, it’s his livelihood too.
This opinion column was written by New York Times bestselling author and small business consultant Susan Solovic.