To All My Valued Employees

Fred Garvin's picture

To All My Valued Employees

Great letter going around the internet:

"To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is aBack Story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You’ve seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I’m sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don’t see is the BACK STORY:

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn’t have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70’s. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don’t. There is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden — the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations… you never realize the Back Story and the sacrifices I’ve made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero.. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? That’s nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don’t understand … to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don’t defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this?

It’s quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future. Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about….

Signed, THE BOSS"

A government big enough to supply everything you need, is big enough to take everything you have. — Thomas Jefferson

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mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 4:40pm.

Dear Boss:

Who raised your taxes? Why, the voters of Fayette County increased your sales tax from 5% to 6% on April 1, 2005, and they did it again, from 6% to 7%, starting in April 2009. They are all good Republicans, just like you, or say they are, but these voters are your own customers, the people who have made you the success you think you are.

As for your earlier years, when you struggled so much, let me tell you that your story is far from unique. All the professionals you see, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other well educated people, they sacrificed time and money, and put forth a lot of effort, to get where they are, while some of their peers left school to earn money early, buy cars, and go on dates. It is hard to go out on a date when you have no car, live in a college residence, and have no money.

The $288,000 you claim to have to pay in taxes most likely includes taxes you had to withhold from your own employees’ salaries so they can have Social Security retirement and Medicare benefits when they retire. In fact, it is their taxes now, not yours. You probably incorporated your business, so your own personal taxes are included in there, and these are the taxes that will enable you to retire with guaranteed Social Security benefits even if your business ultimately fails from your inability to understand the big picture and to empathize with people.

I don’t understand your threat to go out of the country to retire. What country do you think will want you?

Pardon me for saying this, but the only reason you have a “tax man” is so you can find a way to keep your taxes as low as you can and take advantage of every credit and loophole you can find in the law. Since Warren Buffett, the richest man in the country, lives in a house smaller than yours, it is easy to see how you squandered your personal money on unnecessary luxury, and the Christmas employee party at your house was largely to gratify your ego (and take a tax deduction).

You would no more have a business without your employees than you would without your customers. The taxes we pay are the law of the land, imposed upon us through our duly elected legislatures, federal, state and local. They reflect our people’s willingness to contribute to the structure that permits people like you to be materially successful. Just be glad you’ve been healthy and able to avoid having your money taken away through medical bills or the fraudulent and incompetent financial schemes that people with your attitude have allowed to go unregulated.

If people like you had had a more intelligent understanding of the world around them, our economy would not be in the fix it is in now, and we would not need to have this conversation.

Not valued enough.

Submitted by Davids mom on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 1:01pm.

So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about….

IMO - the political hurricane that swept through this country the past 8 years steamrolled our constitution - and has ALMOST changed its landscape forever. Millions have already lost their jobs. Something has to change to put people back to work!

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 1:43pm.

Let's Exaggerate a little why don't you.. First millions have not lost their jobs.. ok.. at least not yet.. but wait for it,,, YES the CHANGE they be a coming..
Putting 600k on the taxpayers payroll is not the answer. Oh by the way please read the Constitution (yes I have) and the Bill of Rights.. and pray tell me what has been "Steamrolled".. I would really like to know.. and please come back with answers and not just rhetoric.

Submitted by Davids mom on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 2:04pm.

. .read your daily newspaper. Deregulation (Enron, etc.) You may have read the Constitution - but you've gone along with a gross misinterpretation of the words. I'll ease up on the rhetoric when you ease up on the tired, obsolete talking points. The new administration is talking about 'tax relief' for the middle class - not tax cuts for just the wealthy (which didn't work).

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 2:17pm.

Because if you do.. YOU GOT A TAX CUT TOO.. or are you wealthy?
and by the way there are no interpretations.. they are written clearly ..thank you... and everyone that cares to read it knows what it means..

By the way the TOP 5% of income earners pay 60% of the taxes paid..
The bottom 60% pays NOTHING..
So who is getting a tax cut? The 60%? It is called welfare..
Please get over your class envy...

Submitted by bowser on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 8:37pm.

"The bottom 60% pays NOTHING.."

You're just as incorrect this time as you were the first time you trotted this out.

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 10:00pm.

Lets see who pays Income taxes
The info is for tax year 2006..
Top 1% Income earners $388,806 Avg Paid 39.89%
Top 5% $153,542 60.14%
Top 10% $108,904 70.79%
Top 25% $64,702 86.27%
Top 50% $31,987 97.01%
BOTTOM 50% below $31,987 2.99%
Don't argue with me argue with the IRS.. THESE ARE THEIR NUMBERS..
When you adjust for the "EARNED"?? Income tax credit the Bottom 60% pays 0-2% of the taxes paid in the US...
I also say the top 5% pays 60% of all the taxes..proves that also..
Subject Title says it all...

Submitted by bowser on Tue, 01/20/2009 - 7:12am.

If you work you pay payroll tax; if you buy stuff you pay sales tax; if you own property or a car you pay property or ad valorem tax; if you smoke or drink or do certain other things you pay excise taxes. Everyone pays these taxes at the same rate. They aren't income taxes, but your statement that 60 percent pay NOTHING is incorrect.

As far as the tilting of income tax receipts toward the top, that simply mirrors the fact that income growth has tilted toward the top. Top marginal income tax rates and capital gains rates are at or near historic lows. (Top marginal rate is now 35%; it was 90% in the good ole' 1950s. Cap gains is now 15%, which as Warren Buffet likes to point out means he now pays a lower rate on investment gains than his secretary does on her income. Our new president is branded as a 'socialist' for suggesting it might be raised to 20% -- which is still less than it was under Reagan.)

I don't like the current trend either, but its cause is not that the rich are being soaked.

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Tue, 01/20/2009 - 1:13pm.

Never said they absolutly paid nothing on taxes.. of course they pay taxes when purchases are made.. That was not the topic.. We were discussing Federal taxes and how the "Rich" get away with not "paying their fair share.. Thats is an old liberal line that promotes class envy.. I have stated and will continue to do so.. 5% of the top income producers in this country pays 60% of all the taxes.. The bottom 60% pays nothing.. You had an issue with that.. I simply brought you the facts from the IRS..

Submitted by bowser on Wed, 01/21/2009 - 7:58am.

I'll stipulate you were posting in context of the income tax, even though your statement did not specify.

I'll also stipulate some liberals engage in class warfare by villifying the wealthy. But some dittohead conservatives like you do just the same by throwing around slogans such as "half the people pay NOTHING."

My point is that the total tax picture is more complex than just income taxes (and not nearly as progressive).

And btw, you repeat your lazy semantics by saying you were talking about "federal tax." Payroll, excise and some other levies are all federal. If you mean income tax, just type it. It's not that hard.

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Wed, 01/21/2009 - 9:01am.

LD you must not be able to comprehend even the simplest of instructions.. I advised you to read the other post.. We were clearly writing about Income taxes and specifically Federal...
and when do insults prove your point.. can't you libs have a conversation/debate without slinging an personnal insult or two?
Once more I will refer you to the IRS income tax tables for year 2006.. In it.. it CLEARLY shows that 50% pay 0-2% of the taxes.. and once the EIC is factored in.. the stats clearly show that the bottom 60% pay statistically ZERO in taxes...
You can argue all you want.. Your wealth envy is clearly showing..
I would ask you.. DO you work.. and if so is the owner of the business POOR? I think not..

Submitted by Davids mom on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 2:54pm.

I'm retired. Do you work? You must be the boss to spend so much time at the computer and away from your professional tasks.

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 2:59pm.

I am the Boss of me and me only.. Work from home and make a great living doing so..
and yeas.. I got a tax cut.. but I will be giving it back soon..

Submitted by Davids mom on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 2:42pm.

Why do you want to know? I'll complete my 70th year this year. I worked and saved diligently - and I'm comfortable. I'm retired - and pay taxes. . state and federal. I'm at a place in my life where I'm just glad to be here - no room for envy. I wish this period of life for everyone. . .it's wonderful!!

Submitted by USArmybrat on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 12:48pm.

I read this letter online earlier this a.m. and was amazed at how similar this person's life is to my husband's and mine. Most people have no idea how hard it is to build a business from nothing. They don't see the struggles and the hardships that are behind the success. So much of America is wrapped up in small businesses, like ours. These businesses are the backbone of our economy and the more they are taxed, the more people are going to be hurt.

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 3:13pm.

What business do you own? I ask because I generally try to support small business owners when I getting plants from Andy's nursery or Turnipseed nursery, and although I love Barnes and Noble - I do visit the used bookstore 'The Book Worm' often, etc.... Now, if you own a Lexus dealership - I can't give you any business Smiling!

I'm also interested in trading services. I once traded a painting for some plumbing repair. Aside from my work at the restaurant, I am a muralist. I've been looking for a roofer that would be willing to trade a roof for a really nice mural or faux painting. I also need a new pool liner and would trade work there as well.

Best to you in your business. We all need to support one another.Smiling

"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet."
- Emily Dickinson

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