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New York City & America: Still Capitalist?

Posted By Ronn Torossian On November 26, 2012 @ 12:06 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 7 Comments

There is still so much damage in New York City after Hurricane Sandy, and while with time media attention goes away, the effects of Hurricane Sandy live on. As a 38-year-old, born-and-bred New Yorker I have never seen New York in these conditions — countless businesses, non-profit organizations and people are far from back to normal as a result of Sandy.

In the aftermath of this calamity it has never been more apparent that government can’t help business. To great fanfare over Thanksgiving weekend, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a new grant program to aid small business. As he said: “Businesses that have been displaced for at least three weeks can apply for a grant of up to $10,000 to help with repairs, supplies and other storm-related expenses.”

With all due respect, after being out of their business for three weeks in New York City what is $10,000? In a city where the average rent is above $3000, how far does $10,000 go? How many small business owners have payrolls for three weeks less than that? Perhaps someone who owns 1 pizzeria can replace an oven with that – but does he have any employees left after being out for three weeks? It’s offensive to hold a press conference and laud this as an accomplishment. And after losing a month of income it has to be returned within 2 years. Of course, maybe indeed these business owners should expect nothing – as they are all “rich” in Obama’s America.

And as New Yorkers, we do business in the worst state in America to own a business. It is damn hard to own a business in the once-Empire State.  At 5WPR, my PR firm, we foot the bill for jury duty for our 100 employees; match Medicare tax rates (with little faith the system will exist when we will need it), and in NYC as we grow pay more commercial real estate tax. A new reward of post Hurricane-Sandy NYC is the nightmare called Obamacare which will increase costs for small businesses where we have to pay more for health insurance for employees.

Of course, that’s only for companies up to 50 employees.  A company with 46 employees – why would they want their business to grow above 50 people? And someone with 52, won’t they fire 3 people before year’s end?

As an entrepreneur, I am proud to give to charity so I can choose where my hard-earned money goes rather than into the black hole of government. As a board member of Russian American Jewish Experience (RAJE), we are dealing with the fact that our shorefront Brooklyn synagogue was destroyed by the Hurricane. Our board is trying to raise the $1 million, plus we need to rebuild – but it’s all private money and we don’t have government or FEMA money as one would think a non-profit would enjoy. It is a daunting task.

Every entrepreneur I know works harder than ever before – and New York’s governor wants to raise taxes another 4 percent and Obama is consumed with the popular tale of “taxing the rich.” People who work hard create jobs and sacrifice and no one is helping them. Government strains – and doesn’t help – the hardworking entrepreneur. It over-taxes energetic people who sacrifice every day to create opportunities for others as well as themselves.

Living in NYC, I pay nearly 50% taxes – class warfare at its finest. And when I die my kids will be taxed another 50 percent on my money.  Can the great country of America truly be considered a capitalist country in 2012?

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