Friday, March 6, 2009

A Letter to President Obama

President Obama,

I am writing you this letter because you are the leader of our great nation - a nation that provides each of us freedom, liberty, justice, and equality. For centuries now we have been free people whom have been blessed by our Maker to live in such a land that affords each individual the opportunities only America can give. Each person, regardless of background, genetics, race, or privilege, who lives in America, can rise above circumstance and accomplish anything their determination, ability, work ethic, and effort is put towards.

America allows you to earn as much as you can make. America allows you to forget the past and move towards a new future. America lets you dream as big as your mind will allow, and only America allows each of us to determine just what kind of life we want to live during our short time on this planet.

But our nation is changing and you are the main catalyst for that change. As you promised, so you are doing.

I own a small business called Equal Health ( For nearly 10 years we have helped provide affordable healthcare options for people who are self-employed, who cannot afford or qualify for traditional insurance, or small businesses looking for benefits to offer their employees. We also market mortgage and life insurance protection for families and workers. We have about 50 employees, most of whom proudly voted for you, and many of whom are African-American such as yourself. What they don’t understand is that their jobs are likely to soon be eliminated.

Our company did about $4,000,000 last year in gross revenue. The ownership is the bank behind our growth. We have no loans, we have no capital, and we certainly haven't received a bailout from the government or anyone else. Everything we have done to grow our company has been done with the limited credit and bank accounts of me and my business partner. We started with $10,000 in hand and have been through numerous times in which we wondered if we would survive. Each time, we made it through and pressed on. Both my business partner and I have made major sacrifices to keep the company alive. We have taken huge pay cuts, run up personal credit cards, delayed personal investing, and we have lived a life that has more stress at times than one could imagine. And the entire time we have never asked our government for anything.

It makes no sense what you and the leaders of our nation are doing to us right now.

This letter is not about a request for funds, but merely to make a point. Companies that do not deserve to be bailed out are being handed billions. Companies with no real plans, terrible leadership, poor judgment, bad products and incompetent CEOs are being supported by taxpayers dollars such as my own and it infuriates me.

Unlike those that have received millions in bailout funds, my company, Equal Health, actually has a future and a plan to take advantage of that future. AIG, GM, Citigroup, and the others have no future, yet they continue to get funds that prop them up and allow them to face their own corporate realities. Meanwhile, my company could double in size and hire 50 more employees if we were given even an amount as low as $100,000!

Sadly, the recent stimulus bill passed by your Democratic-controlled Congress, not a bi-partisan one, was just the beginning of the items your administration is forcing upon us.

Now I am hearing rumbles of nationalized healthcare, reductions in charitable contributions being allowed, reductions in mortgage interest deductions, increased corporate taxes on small companies like Equal Health, increased taxes on business owners like me, increased payroll taxes and much, much more. Most would think nationalized healthcare would be my biggest concern, as your plan would destroy the lives of millions of insurance agents and agencies and would certainly threaten the jobs of the 50 people in my office who voted for you. And, yes, it is a concern, but our business model allows for product change if you decided to ruin our nation through nationalizing healthcare. What concerns me more are the other changes you’re proposing and seemingly rushing through Congress.

Charities will suffer because it is people like me who are fortunate enough to give more dollars to them than others are able. Not only do my wife and I give a large portion of my personal income to many ministries and charities, but Equal Health also gives thousands of dollars a year to more than seven different organizations. Your thoughts seem to be that most charitable people will still give, even if they cannot deduct those funds from their tax returns and in the case of me and my company, you are correct; we certainly will continue to do so. But you are very wrong to think most will. Charitable deductions have been a part of the economic fabric of America since our nation was founded. Your plan is going to set us back centuries, not decades.

I did not go into business to make $50,000 a year. I went into business to live my own version of the American dream. I want to be financially free, like you are President Obama. You have no financial worries. I want to be debt free. I want to earn as much as I can so that my children can have the best education possible. I want my wife to enjoy her days as a mother without the frets of financial worries. I work hard each and every week, dealing with the stresses of cash flow and human resource drama, week in and week out, in order for my family to do and have the things that are reasonably desired. We are not elitist billionaires eating off gold-plated utensils. We are regular people that live in a nice home, drive normal cars, have three kids and two dogs, attend church with everyone else, do our own laundry, shop at the local discount stores, and give as much as we can.

Yet your plan is not only demanding that I give 40 cents of every dollar back to you, it is now telling me I must reduce what I can deduct for my giving and my mortgage, and pay more in both corporate and payroll taxes. And somehow, you call this "fair"? The very people that voted for you are the ones that will feel the heat of your demands. I have taken all of the pay cuts I am going to take and I am certainly not going to layoff myself. I am not working for free and I refuse to put myself through all of the pressures of being a small business owner for a salary that is not comparable to the one you make.

Change is coming to America- that is certainly clear. But your change is neither "bi-partisan" as you promised, nor is it an agent of hope for anyone other than those that are looking for handouts.

My hand is not out and I do not want your money- but please, keep your hands out of mine.

Brady Speers, Co-Founder & CEO
Equal Health & Life, Inc.
817-635-5000 ext 6303

1 comment:

KatCurlee said...