It's interesting listening to Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner reminisce glowingly about working in his father's blue collar bar as a child. He tells the stories of sweeping and mopping the floors, hauling kegs of beer, waiting tables and pretty much doing anything and everything to keep the family business moving along. Boehner is one of twelve children and the bar was co-owned by his uncle. What a great story, but something here no longer adds up in today's America.
I have one question for Boehner – in today's America of 350 million people, can you please show me one person, just one person who can support a wife and 12 children, not to mention an uncle, by owning and running one blue collar bar? Just one out of 350 million is all I ask.
If not, why not? Why was it possible back then, but not now? What changed? Well for one thing, John Boehner's father, my father and your father were not forced to pay for a hundred million parasites in everything they bought.
For instance, when they purchased a bottle of soda back then, they were, for the most part, paying for the bottle and the soda. Not so in today's America. When a person buys a bottle of soda today or any goods or services for that matter, we pay not only for the bottle and the soda, but we also pay for 100 million parasites in the form of 15 thousand government regulations, frivolous lawsuits, shyster lawyers, expensive low sulphur diesel for transport, sky high insurance rates, outrageous property taxes, sales taxes, employment taxes, artificially bloated energy bills, countless redundant government agencies, millions of do-nothing bureaucrats, the entitlement crowd and the corruption, incompetence, inefficiency, fraud and abuse at every level.
Whether we realize it or not, it's built into the cost of everything we purchase, period. It must be. It's a stealth form of socialism and redistribution that has malignantly attached itself to capitalism. And that, my friends, is why there's no money left at the end of the month for many former middle class people in this country. Your dad, my dad and John Boehners dad actually got what they paid for back then. They got their money's worth. It was known as the value of a dollar.
There is something very different between that bottle of soda from yesteryear and the same bottle of soda today. There is something very different today about the "value of a dollar." Boehner’s father supported 14 people owning a blue collar bar. Again I ask, please show me one person in the entire nation today, who can support 14 people while owning a blue collar bar. There has to be at least one.
Was his father forced to pay a $1900 fee to simply put his sign on the building? No. Did the senior Boehner pay for 100 million people now collecting government money instead of contributing? No. Did he pay rain runoff fees? No. Did he pay thousands of dollars in impact fees, planning and zoning fees and two thousand dollars to pay somebody to run the plans through the never ending maze of government agencies just to get approval to open? No, no and no.
My friend opened a small establishment recently. When he told me he would never do it again, I asked why. He told me about the 4-25 rule. I asked what he meant by that and he said that 25 years ago, a 25-year-old kid could've opened this place for $25,000 and done it in less than 25 days. Now it takes an experienced 50-year-old $300,000 and eight months of running through a never ending expensive bureaucratic maze. The founder of Subway sandwiches recently stated that in today's business climate, he could not have and would not have been able to repeat his amazing success as when he started on a shoestring budget over 40 years ago. Can our young people still start a business on a shoestring budget? And I mean a shoestring budget. Or have we made the cost of entry financially cost prohibitive for our entrepreneurs? Perhaps our small businesses should have a five year grace period from all taxes, fees and bull crap regulations. Why are we smothering them before they are on their feet?
If we don't reign in government, fraud, fees, regulations, the growing entitlement class, frivolous lawsuits and taxes upon taxes and layers of expensive bureaucracies, our young people will not be able to start even the smallest of small businesses. The skill set needed to master the tax code alone is way more than most public school graduates will ever understand.
Always remember, the nations small businesses are the largest employers by far. So please Speaker Boehner, look back at your roots and tell me in a simple yes or no fashion – would you be able to support 14 people from the income of one blue collar bar in today's America? Yes or no?
Do you remember these words Mr. Speaker?
"I poured my heart and soul into a small business. And when I saw how out of touch Washington had become with the core values of this great nation, I put my name forward and ran for office."
Those are your words Mr. Speaker. It seems like you went off to change Washington, but Washington changed you. What changed? I think the American people could answer that question. Can you, Mr. Speaker?
Nick Hudson is a contributing opinion columnist. He can be reached at