Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Koch Brothers Reach Out to Me
Yesterday a guy walked into my office, introduced himself as working for the California Small Business Association and would I mind, as the owner of a small business, taking a short one page survey so the CSBA could approach the legislature with "solutions" during the next legislative session.
I didn't like the looks of the guy from the get go. It was cool yesterday, California jacket weather and he had on a neatly pressed white shirt and tie, no jacket. My first thought was, where is his jacket?
He looked cold and had a semi-hipster goatee that he was just a little long in the tooth for. Add to the mix that nobody wears ties in Southern California, but I digress.
The first question he asked was on the "over-regulation" of business in California and how it slows things down for business owners like me. I said from my experience with the regulators, the problem is that not enough people are working at the agencies I have to deal with. He was surprised at my answer. I told him that the occupational licensing branch of the DMV has only one inspector for the northern portion of LA County and all of Ventura County and the inspector is responsible for all facets of transportation, from car dealers, ambulances, transmission shops,driving schools and anything having to do with wheeled vehicles. The office the guy works out of in Van Nuys has 15 cubicles and 3 employees. My licensing was slowed not because of inefficiency but by too few employees. The same with the DMV office in Sacramento. This asshat's response, "the DMV should be privatised!"
He continued on with this gem, "California has over 1,000 regulatory boards and Texas only has 110, do you think California would be better off with a regulatory scheme more like Texas? I answered with a question of my own, "Would you rather live in Texas or California?" He didn't know what to say, so I continued, our growth is as good or better as Texas in most categories and better in businesses of the future. If Texas wasn't propped up by the oil and gas industry they'd be dead in the water, don't you agree?" Once again no answer from me or from Mr. Goatee.
The next question was about "Obamacare"? I said are you referring to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? Goatee Man was stopped in his tracks, I actually don't think he knew the name of the bill. I told him based on the experience of business owners in Massachusetts, I thought it was a good thing. He looked puzzled. I added, "it's the law of the land, pal."
He then asked about the power of Unions, my answer was, "do you mean those organizations that 12% of the workforce belong to?"
The questions went on, all phrased to to get a response that fit the the goals of the organization taking the survey, they weren't looking for opinions from small business owners, they were looking for support for their goals. The organization behind this CSBA group is ALEC or the American Legislative Exchange Council. An anti-regulation, anti-tax, anti-union, anti-environment, anti-public school, anti-government national organization funded by the Koch brothers hiding behind these so called local business and government groups. The goal is to gut any and all regulation and laws that billionaires like the Kochs don't agree wtih.
The Koch brothers point man didn't make any points with me.