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08/3/2016

Small Business the Life of This Party

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This past Saturday, our CEO was published in the print and online versions of the Herald. Below you will find the article in its entirety.

Could I Be Elected President?

As I was lying awake last night I started thinking about the number of people, myself included, who voted election after election and this year find themselves unsure of what to do. Since this has been called an election unlike any other, I thought, Could I Be Elected President? I picked-up my iPhone, did some web searches, and here is my plan.

Clearly the economy and stagnant wage growth are key issues for the country. I appreciate the views expressed on the White House website, "President Obama is committed to creating an environment where America’s small businesses — our engines of job creation — can grow and prosper by supporting small business...", but honestly, it feels like the output of Washington has been more rules and regulations than support for growth. Maybe we need to take it from here. Thus I propose running as the Small Business Party (SBP) Candidate.

Why the Small Business Party? Regardless of my view on the truth of the rhetoric, I am concerned that issues of CEO Pay, Corporate Inversions, and Outsourcing brought forward by the Progressive Movement have somewhat damaged the brand of "Big Business". Conversely, who has a negative view of the neighborhood deli or bookstore? Since politics is a game of perception, we're going with Small Business.

Forbes estimates there are 28 million small businesses in the US. I used 25M to make the math easy. Assume the owners of these businesses vote for the SBP. That's 25M votes. Now whether through empathy or self-interest I suspect the spouses or significant others of most small business owners would also vote for the SBP, so now I'm at 50M. President Obama won the 2012 election with 62M votes. Assume each business owner could get one other person, adult child, relative, friend or employee to vote for the SPB, that puts me at 75M votes. I don't know how this maps to the Electoral College, but I believe if I receive 13M more votes than President Obama did, I will win.

Now I have the votes, but I'll need money. Since this is the Small Business Party, I'm going to have to go Bernie Sanders on this one, no self-funded elections for us. Senator Sanders said his average donation was $27. Again to keep the math easy, let's say each business sends in $25, that gets me to $625M. Not quite the $1B the major parties raise, but a good start.

OK, I've got the votes and the money, let's look at some social issues, starting with diversity. I find it sad that the parties divide the country into demographic slices to be pandered to. I submit that collectively, Small Business Owners would be the most diverse coalition yet, with all ages, genders, races, religions, and sexual orientations represented.

What about peoples' personal lives? Whether because of laws, or that personal lives are just that, personal and not our business, unless they were harming others, our party would not get involved in how people live their lives. We would have some simple guidelines, like treat others with respect. Truth is, we all know what that means, somehow we just don't seem to be living it as a country.

Next, favorability. I would have thought this was a key issue for voters. However, given that Donald Trump is at 36% favorable and Hillary Clinton is at 38% favorable (Real Clear Politics), this may not be the case. I've had the good fortune to know a lot of wonderful people in my life. I'd like to believe at least half of them view me favorably, so worst case I'm at 50% favorable.

Problem Solving. The 113th Congress, widely viewed as one of the least productive, passed 296 laws. Congress is in session an average of 140 days, so with all the gridlock and fighting between the parties, they managed to pass over two laws per day, yet we hear about the same problems year after year. If our State of the Union Speech was that we solved two or three of the most significant problems facing the US, yet didn't pass any new laws, would we be called unproductive? I doubt it.

A large percentage of the people in Washington are bright, hard-working lawyers from very prestigious universities, Harvard, Yale, Princeton. Since the electorate is looking at outsiders, maybe the country is ready to try an Engineer from MIT. Let's pick a problem, again, the stagnant growth of the economy. Is there any evidence Engineers can grow an economy? It is estimated if you took all the companies started by MIT graduates it would be the 10th largest economy in the world, so it just might work.

From my back-of-the-envelope analysis, it looks like I've got most of the bases covered, but it's getting late and I have to get up at 5AM to beat the morning rush and open the company. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you agree, tweet #richpotash2020 and if it trends, I'll consider running.

Sincerely,

Rich Potash, CEO
Computer Sports Medicine, Inc.
@richpotash



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