This is the second part of a two-part series.  Click here to read the first part.

HE SAYS:

The Occupy movement wants to change the rules as an expedient and self-serving solution to the recession so that they can benefit from those that successfully pursued our American Dream.   There are frightened politicians all over this country preparing to raise someone’s taxes.   If not your taxes this time around, just wait until the Occupy movement gets a taste of blood and goes on a feeding frenzy for more taxes from anyone who has achieved any measure of success.

You and I know just as the Occupy group knows, this influx of tax money will not create jobs, will not reduce the deficit, and will not build equality, but, will be spent as fast as it comes in on an endless list of give-away programs.  The Occupy group has come to expect free resources as they protest, has talked about socialized healthcare, subsidized college educations, and now wants free houses by forcing banks to forgive foreclosures.  Who knows what will be next?

If they get their way, we will have created a society that requires one group, far more than 1% of us, to try ever harder to satisfy the insatiable demands of the group, much less than 99% of us, represented by the Occupy movement.   If you and your family own a business or want to start a business and you achieve any success or you build a successful career, which side of that miserable equation do you think you will be on?

It is no longer possible to be on the sidelines.  If you want to protect the fruits of your efforts, you need to reject the Occupy movement and take action.   To do nothing is to give in to the forces that want to fundamentally change this country in a way that will prevent us from ever again being the home of great opportunity where everyone has the chance to succeed or fail on their own terms.  This is not a struggle between those that “have” and those that “have not”, this is about those that “do” and those that “do not.”

If you own a small business or you are building a successful career, at some level, you still believe in the true American Dream.  It is time to speak up before it is taken away!   As we wait for the long anticipated “Demands” of the Occupy movement, we should start putting together our own list of “Demands.”

I offer no slogans or empty rhetoric, just some basic and simple truths.   I suggest that we demand of ourselves and of our fellow citizens the following:

1.  We should not live beyond our means and then expect to have other people subsidize our lifestyle by increasing their taxes.  We can all support charities and government programs that help the truly needy but no one should otherwise be forced to support anyone but themselves and their families.  

2. We all need to take responsibility for our debts instead of blaming the banks and the credit card companies.

3. Anyone who used student loans to get a college education should own up to this obligation and find a way to pay back the money.

4. We can’t expect to receive free healthcare, or a free college education or any other free benefits as they are not free nor can we expect other people to pay for it for us.   If someone is too disabled to work or to help themselves, then we can all offer help, but, otherwise we all need to provide for ourselves and our families.

5. We all should accept and embrace the realities and benefits of a free and open capitalist society where anyone can have the opportunity through their skills, efforts, and great ideas to accumulate wealth without being accused of being evil or greedy.   It is not unfair as that is how a free and competitive society is supposed to work.

6. We need to understand that if we can’t find a job and/or got downsized, laid off, or let go that the best way to create jobs is by encouraging success and a vibrant small business community.

7. We all need to take ownership of our choices and if things have not worked out as we had hoped we should have faith in ourselves and keep trying.

There is no need to leave the comfort of our homes or abandon our businesses or careers and camp out in the streets.  We can save the American Dream if we speak out, send letters to the editor, send letters and e-mails to our congressmen, post comments here and on social networks, and, generally, voice our opinions loud and clear before it is too late.

If you are concerned about the Occupy agenda, pass this and Part 1 on to other concerned citizens.

Next Monday, Joe uses his personal experiences to suggest that sports provide many benefits and life lessons in “Sports Are A Reflection Of Life”.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

HE SAYS:

I have been self-employed for most of my working life and even though I did not start the United States Federation of Small Businesses, I naturally found it stimulating and rewarding to work with and for small businesses.

Let’s make no mistake about the fact that we all recognize that these are difficult times for small businesses in this country and USFSB, as a small business, is ever mindful of the struggles of its small business members.   USFSB is also not immune to the same economic downturn that is adversely affecting the small business community.

Despite our troubles, we, as small business owners, should find the Occupy movement to be contrary to everything we believe in and strive for.  Even if this movement appears to be less vocal lately, they have not gone away and their banner has been adopted by some politicians who hope to ride their agenda into office.  Sure, we can agree in general terms with the call to clean up our financial institutions and we can support and even applaud such suggestions as to shop locally and spend our money at small businesses in our communities.  Unfortunately, at its heart, the Occupy movement is not about those lofty ideas nor is it even a plaintive cry for help.

The Occupy movement, when stripped of its social equality veneer, represents nothing more than a class war from an increasingly out of control fringe group of underachievers who are mainly fueled by resentment and a sense of entitlement to feed off of other people’s success.  Their movement seems, at times, to be more like an extended riot than a meaningful and productive protest as they try to bring down anyone with wealth and, at the same time, arrogantly demand other people’s money.

Think about the Occupy movement’s motives and tactics.   Part of their agenda is to disrupt the economy so that they can impinge the profits of the very capitalists they want to tax.   This is indicative of the irrational goals of a movement that wants to eviscerate the free enterprise system in order to improve the plight of workers; however, if they succeed just where will these liberated workers find jobs?   History has taught us that every country and ideology that killed free enterprise in the name of worker’s rights has failed.   As a small business owner and part of that free enterprise system, do you really think that you will be better off if the Occupy movement is successful?

Whether or not you are rich and even if there is no chance that your taxes will be affected, if you are a small business owner you should view the Occupy movement with its calls to redistribute to themselves the wealth that has been generated by the efforts of others as a perversion of the American Dream that you are pursuing.   This is more than just about raising someone’s taxes.   This is about whether or not we are going to continue to be a free, open and competitive society that values the inspiration, enthusiasm, and desire that drives people to strive for success.

Our country was built on the belief that the perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners with their desire to be independent and self-reliant as they pursued success and created a better life for themselves and their families from their own efforts and ingenuity was the embodiment of the American Dream.   It is this willingness to stake your future on your own efforts and abilities in a free and competitive society that made this country great and helped us lead the world in innovations and progress.  We became the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world because we valued and encouraged the risk takers in pursuit of success.

As a small business owner, you are the heart and soul of that American Dream.*   Even though every large and wealthy business started out as someone’s small business, being a small business owner is not just about the accumulation of wealth.   The real motivation to start a small business is the value you place on the opportunity to be able to go as far as your talents will take you and to be in control of your own destiny.   Even if you fall short, there is the pride and satisfaction in making the effort.

As small business owners, it is time to turn away from the Occupy movement and its efforts to remake America into its own lackluster and nihilistic image.  It is time to once again embrace the ideals that made this country great in order to prevent the American Dream from being taken hostage by those who want to destroy it while they prosper from the success of others.

The Robin Hood image of stealing from the rich and giving it to, in this case, the not so poor Occupy movement may be a romantic notion in the movies but in real life it is abhorrent. Whether at gun point or through the power of the ballot, to demand someone else’s money is still highway robbery.

* It was reported, on January 6, 2012, that small businesses took the lead in job creation in December adding approximately 155,000 new jobs.

In “Take Back The American Dream, Part 2″ to be posted on Wednesday there is a call to action and Joe’s list of suggested Demands in anticipation of the Demands to come from the Occupy movement.

If you are concerned about the Occupy agenda, pass this on to other concerned citizens.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

SHE SAYS:

Am I the only one that feels misrepresented as either a 99%er or a 1%er?  When did this country turn into 1% rich and 99% poor?  How did the typical middle class or upper middle class family that clearly falls into the 99% category as defined by Occupy Wall Street, suddenly become the wealthy enemy?  I am neither one of the 1% nor am I one of the 99%.  Why do these people think they are representing everyone?

The Occupy Wall Street gang seems like an ill-conceived gathering of confused and demoralized people who would be better served if they concentrated on being productive in their own lives.  It seems to me that people have become too good for themselves.

Instead of an attitude of ‘I can do anything’, many young people today seem to think that they are entitled to a job making $250,000.00 immediately out of college.  Gone are the days of working your way up in a company because many don’t even see themselves working for any company for more than just a few years.  If the job seems ‘beneath them’, it isn’t even considered as an option.

In my mind, this creates a domino effect on the economy when no one wants to do the lower level jobs whether they are in a large corporate office or working at a fast food counter.  Many of these young people may have been spoiled by their parents’ economic status because they don’t or can’t understand that their parents were once young and struggled to support themselves.  Success is about planning, sacrificing, saving, and more planning.  Wealth is sometimes achieved with this success.  Now this is something to be ashamed of?

These people should be ashamed of themselves.  Look around the world at some of the countries where citizen groups have toppled cruel and vindictive leaders to try to create a more independent and free society.  They are looking for democracy and freedom, something that the Occupy Wall Street protesters have and take for granted and worse yet, use their freedom to whine and cry about how unfair their world is.

Maybe they should pitch a tent in one of these countries in the Middle East and they will see real oppression and realize just how fortunate they are already.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

HE SAYS:

We have become the land of “what’s free?” and the home of the “I will brave the street to see what’s in it for me.”

I have been watching the “Occupy” protests with both bemusement and confusion.   What do they really want?   What do they really think they can accomplish?   The message I am getting is that life is unfair because they can’t get a high paying job; or because other people and the businesses they own have amassed wealth; or because the system, as they wish to define it, doesn’t help them; or because they are part of the 99% (as if that is an accurate number) of people who are downtrodden and oppressed by our capitalist society.

On one hand, I can understand that people without jobs or new graduates with few prospects of jobs would eventually use their free time to complain about their lack of options.   On the other hand, I also recognize, as do many others, that what some of the protesters are really concerned about is the fact that they cannot find the fast track to wealth so they want to both blame the rich and bring them down out of some new fairness doctrine that “if I can’t be rich than no one else should be allowed to be rich.”

Such self-serving arguments always sound better if you can present them under the guise that it is unfair.   It has now become unfair that the protesters have to struggle and work their way to success or have to pay their dues to get into the so called 1% club.  To them, it appears that all those who have achieved financial success did so by some devious trickery or by somehow exploiting the protesters.   How else could the protesters try to explain why they have not achieved the same level of success?  It could not possibly be as a result of anything they did, so it must surely be as a result of the inherent unfairness of capitalism.

Where have we heard this refrain before?  The proletariat, I mean protesters have taken a page from other failed movements that have been foisted on society for centuries by many other self proclaimed spokes-people for the masses.  Every attempt to force a redistribution of wealth without earning it has always failed.   If everyone benefitted equally regardless of their effort and contribution, those who work hard and create wealth will have no reason to do so and those who never work hard will have all the more reason to underperform.

So, I have to ask myself, is this a movement with genuine concerns or is it a national tantrum by people with too much time on their hands and too little confidence that they can make it in today’s admittedly difficult world?   Most of us learned, as children, that we could not get what we wanted by stamping our feet and making a scene.   Sometimes, it takes a little more than just complaining to get what you want.

Annemarie will post her views on this subject this Wednesday.

 WHAT DO YOU SAY?