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Letter from the Boss

Claim:   An employer issued a missive to his employees stating that any additional taxes on his business would result in his shutting the company down.

LEGEND

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2008]

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

Of course, as your employer, I am forbidden to tell you whom to vote for - it is against the law to discriminate based on political affiliation, race, creed, religion, etc. Please vote who you think will serve your interests the best.

However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interest.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my big home at last year’s Christmas party. I'm sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don't see is the back story.

I started this company 12 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living space was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, ****, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden — the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... you never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I've paid is steep and without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the mud of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this?

It's quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem anymore.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

While tax cuts to 95% of America sounds great on paper, don't forget the back story: If there is no job, there is no income to tax. A tax cut on zero dollars is zero.

So, when you make decision to vote, ask yourself, who understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job?

Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of saving your job. While the media wants to tell you "It's the economy stupid" I'm telling you it isn't.

If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me in South Caribbean sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Signed,
Your boss
 

Origins:   In the ramp-up towards the 2008 Presidential election and in its wake, a number of anonymous "Here's how you, the ones who voted for him, will directly suffer from a Barack Obama presidency" missives landed in inboxes everywhere. One such was putatively from a hard-working and generous grandfather telling his beloved liberal granddaughter that her support for Obama meant Grandpa was no longer going to be in a position to help her financially. Another was supposedly penned by CEO to his 140 employees informing them that thanks to the new taxes now surely headed his way, he'd have to lay off a few of them, so he was starting with those whose cars sported Obama bumper stickers."

The "To All My Valued Employees" letter quoted above is another of such ilk. In it, a boss threatens to shut down his company (thus wiping out the livelihoods of the 14 people who work there) if any more taxes are levied upon him, an outcome he views a virtual
certainty under an Obama presidency. The piece is perhaps best viewed as an attempt to put into real-world terms the possible consequences to average folks if business is interfered with to the point of no longer being able to operate rather than as an actual letter sent by a real boss to his employees.

Although our earliest sighting of this item dates to 3 November 2008, textual clues within the missive (such as "Please vote who you think will serve your interests the best" and "So, when you make decision to vote") indicate it was likely penned sooner than just the day before the 2008 presidential election.

The original author of this piece is unknown to us. While some versions are merely signed "Your Boss," others are attributed to Michael A. Crowley of Wake Forest, North Carolina, via inclusion of his signature block at the end of the piece. Crowley himself denies authorship, saying:
In reference to the "To all my valued employees" letter currently circulating the internet:

This letter was forwarded to me by a colleague. While the letter may indeed be authentic, I was not the author and I do not know the identity of the original author. I forwarded it to the "John McCain Joe the Plumbers" email group prior to the election. Someone moved my contact information into the body of the message making it appear that I was the author of the letter. I would appreciate your removing my contact information prior to forwarding this message.

Michael A. Crowley, PE
While sometimes people looking to distance themselves from soapbox pieces they've penned subsequently claim they found such contentious items elsewhere on the Internet and merely forwarded them to others, that is not the case here. More than just Crowley's own words of denial support his claim of non-authorship, with the key to that proof lying in the very signature block that has worked to convince so many of his being the real "boss" behind the letter.

That signature block identifies his firm as Crowley, Crisp & Associates, Inc., a now defunct business entity that (according to North Carolina's Secretary of State) was formed in May 2007. The missive so widely laid at Crowley's feet states "I started this company 12 years ago." Twelve years prior to 2008 was 1996. (His current firm, Crowley & Associates, Inc., was formed in October 2000.) Were Crowley the actual author, that line about when he began his company would have read "last year" or "8 years ago."

The response to the missive falsely attributed to him prompted Michael Crowley to pen his own letter on the plight of the small business owner, which can be read here.

In October 2012, David Siegel, the founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, sent a modified version of this letter to all of his employees. He based his missive on that much-circulated 2008 piece, saying of his offering: "I did use the letter that had circulated before as a guideline, but I changed it [to fit my circumstances]. It speaks the truth and it gives [employees] something to think about when they go to the polls."

Last updated:   9 October 2012

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