Most of us work …
and most of us in this country are either working for someone or for ourselves. If we work for ourselves, then we know what it is to handle employees, taxes, governmental regulations, insurance companies, lawyers, accountants, bankers and a host of other minor characters who fade in and out of our economic sphere from time to time as required.
If we work for someone else, a lot of these functions are outside of our purview of responsibility, but are still handled nevertheless. They don’t cease to exist even if we don’t know about them; they just don’t fall within my job description.
Those of us in business for ourselves are all too familiar with the concept of overextending ourselves. I’ve been in businesses before with great growth and long term potential but with little cash flow on an on going basis which makes it tough to pay the bills and keep the wolves from your doorstep. I remember some years back when I had a company that was going through a financial audit when the auditors came to me with grave looks on their faces and made the profound announcement that I was broke. I wasn’t upset, since I had been dealing with this problem before and as far as I was concerned it was only a temporary issue. The accountants of this prestigious big eight firm advised me in no uncertain terms that I must consider bankruptcy immediately or face dire consequences.
When I told them that I needed the audit so I could sell the company to a buyer for cash for more money than I ever thought about making, they were totally shocked and demanded to know who it was. I declined to disclose the buyer and proceeded with the sale and did in fact receive my money as promised.
So why did I sell in the first place’Well, it was simply because of the cash flow problem. My growth could not be sustained without additional capital, which I didn’t have or could have gained access to. Had I not sold the company when I did, it may very well have gotten into a position where it would have gone broke. The truth of the matter is that the owners, presidents, CEO’s whatever of any business should have their hands on the wheel at all times and know without question the viability of their financial situation.
Now, I contrast my situation with that of United Airlines and their current dilemma of not having enough cash to support their pension plan so they are calling on the good old US of A (that’s you and me) to cough up 6.6 billion bucks to cover their collective tails and save them.
I didn’t see anyone coming to my aid, when I needed saving and I’d bet most of you have missed that knock of opportunity at your door as well. Now, not only United but other airlines as well want to come to us and say’.’oh, by the way, we’re sorry but we just overlooked the amount needed to fund these retirees, can you bail us out”
How can a company that has its stock traded publicly manage to hide a small thing such as a 6.6 billion dollar shortfall’How can a publicly traded company with thousands of employees expect to stay in business and have the government bail them out at taxpayer expense due to their inability to run their business in a solvent manner’
I can tell you that if you and I had failed, there wasn’t any blue ribbon panel waiting in the wings to see if they could help me stay afloat. No, I sold my company and was happy to do so as the handwriting was on the wall and it needed to be done.
Our governmental leaders should adopt the same philosophy and allow the chips to fall where they may in regards to companies who can’t manage to stay competitive and fund their promised liabilities. Let these companies be sold to someone with the expertise and ability to run them without asking for the everyday, common taxpayer to become another silent partner.