an open letter to a divided government

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Dear President Obama and incoming Congressional leaders,

I hear you have your differences. You’re frustrated with the state of the American economy and you’re divided over how to fix it. So are we.

Stimulus, tax breaks, tax increases, regulations, deregulation…

Trying to fix the economy is a no-win situation. Someone is going to get angry. Someone is going to get hurt.

But what you still seem to be ignoring is that the fundamentals of our economy – our entire global system – are changing. There is a great shift towards a new mode of commerce, employment, and self-actualization.

Enter the microbusiness owner.

While the unemployment rate floats around a sobering 9.6% and underemployment forces families to the edge of a precipice, a new force is emerging in the battle for our economic peace of mind.

Microbusiness owners are different than traditionally self-employed individuals. They have different needs than small business owners. And they don’t even see big business as competition.

Microbusiness owners are a class in and of themselves and deserve to be treated as such.

Every skilled, motivated, or otherwise passionate unemployed person is a potential microbusiness owner.

These are people who can create jobs – their own & others. They are fueled by passion and driven by the need to succeed. They are savvy consumers, buying better not more, funneling money into their local communities, spreading wealth to other entrepreneurs. They are artists & craftspeople returning to the roots of American manufacturing. They are service providers helping others achieve a higher standard of living while fulfilling their own dreams. They are the moms & pops but also the new college graduates, the frustrated MBA students, and the brothers & sisters working out of their childhood bedrooms.

Microbusiness owners have the power to help reconstruct a more sustainable economic landscape for the 21st century. They will provide unparalleled economic diversification. They will enjoy their own financial sovereignty.

They’re already doing it. Now, they need your help.

If the left wants to help individuals and the right wants to help business, I see no greater point for agreement than the aid of microbusiness owners who are both.

To prosper in the new economy, microbusiness owners need access to lending. Create policies that allow financial institutions to take them seriously and understand that they will work hard to repay loans. Create a system where microlending can thrive.

They need a tax code that understands their unique situation instead of lumping them with Fortune 500 corporations or individual income taxes. Create incentives that both support families and encourage growth.

Microbusiness owners need training. Of all sorts. Computer classes, small business classes, art courses, industry conferences, public relations training. Training gives confidence, confidence leads to success. Sure up the training that is already available and build a virtual infrastructure that allows online training to become even more viable.

Finally, microbusiness owners need incentives for creative coworking. This will be a generation of workers that is solitary, wears pajamas until noon, and works from home offices or is location independent. Creative coworking – in cities, suburbs, and rural communities – means that business owners can thrive with like-minded people, learn from each other, and reap the benefits of the collective movement. Turn abandoned buildings, downsized government offices, and new construction projects into opportunities for microbusiness growth.

In short, turn America into the great microbusiness incubator. Give us the opportunity to turn this mess around.

Don’t underestimate the power of the microbusiness owner. We don’t underestimate ourselves.

Sincerely,

Tara Gentile

27 thoughts on “an open letter to a divided government

  1. Fab post, Tara, I totally agree. I often meet people who are stuck in that older mindset and just don’t believe that what we do is possible even though we’re already doing it.

  2. Brilliant Tara! I hope you are actually sending this out. Government seems to be selectively blind to the fact that big changes are occurring with or without their approval. Sadly I think many Americans are also not aware of this, and prefer being disgruntled to taking action. We need to wake this country up! I see you as a leader in that task. GO TARA!!!

  3. Great post Tara. One thing that amazes me is that our local government wants this and that to happen but they provide NO incentives. They want artists to work and live around the Goggleworks, but what are the advantages?

    It would be nice for local government to put their best foot forward and provide what their people need. The Reading Eagle just posted that the City of Reading will be offering microloans to small business. And that’s great, but take a look at the town of Braddock, PA, have you heard their story? The town was falling apart (literally and figuratively), and now it has a mayor that truly cares and is being used as a model for other post-industrial towns. View the story on GOOD.

    And this isn’t happening only on a local level, the state of Oklahoma has rebranded itself as a State of Creativity.

    So what about it local and state governments? Help yourself and your people out for a change. Start there, and I’m sure others will follow.

    1. Hey Diane! Totally embarrassed that I didn’t know OK was now the State of Creativity. So cool! Can’t wait to find out more about that.

      And I totally agree that the real people have the ability to make immediate change our local governments. I do hope that national government wakes up so the changing landscape of the economy. But local government has no excuse not to be making changes yesterday!

      Thanks for sharing the links!!!

  4. This is great. I love when I read something that makes so much sense but it never crossed my mind before. Very well put. I really like the idea of creative coworking.

  5. Hey Tara, you’re welcome. There’s loads of people out there doing great things. Unfortunately they’re not so close to home.

    By creative co-working do you mean a collective of creative professionals? I see this popping up between creatives that I know online. For instance Hive 1511 houses three creative businesses in one location. I think this would be great for our city because of the amount of abandoned buildings, but again we need assistance to get such a thing done.

      1. No, I had no idea that existed. Fabulous idea. Okay City of Reading, I’m looking at you now.

        Maybe you and I should put something together like this?! Obviously the government won’t do it, maybe some creative individuals need to get it done.

  6. DIY Society … love it! I discussed this a bit in a presentation I gave this weekend at Geekend. Great article! Now we need to push this issue all the way from educating children to business.

  7. This line sums it up perfectly:

    “If the left wants to help individuals and the right wants to help business, I see no greater point for agreement than the aid of microbusiness owners who are both.”

    So well said. The division in this country is nauseating and only holding us back.

    Both sides have common ground that can be used to the advantage of the country. It is time the focus shifts to that common ground and microbusiness is a perfect starting point.

  8. Awesome letter. Now how we make it land in the hands of all those people who really need to read it?! :)

    We gave a presentation at an awesome co-working spot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn called No-Space. It was my introduction to the idea of co-working, and I think it’s so brilliant… and a great way to start revitizing empty downtown buildings!

  9. Wow Tara! I don’t live in the US but I am so inspired by this post. It’s so well written, intelligent, thoughtful and full of great ideas.

    This is my favourite sentence:

    “Don’t underestimate the power of the microbusiness owner. We don’t underestimate ourselves.”

    Hear! Hear!

  10. Great post making really strong points!

    Although there is much for government to do, there is also the need for large scale change at financial institutions and in our attitudes towards personal finance. Life as a freelancer/artist/maker/creative is spiky. As is your income. As is your need for capital or investment. Until the delusion that steady growth is infinitely sustainable is addressed there is only so much that government can do.

  11. I am on the verge of (slowly) stepping back from my full time job to be a microbusiness owner. I have been doing it quite successfully in the spare moments between this thing called life, but now I will have at least one day a week that is devoted to getting serious. I will check out the links you posted. I am quite interested. I do hope you will send this off to Washington. Perhaps it needs to be a petition that we all sign. They need to hear us and hear us loud because I think that nothing that this new congress or the President will attempt will actually work.

    Enjoy the day!
    Erin
    (New follower 😉

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