What was your favorite summer job as a kid? Mine was working at the local creamery. Oxford Creamery was a staple where I grew up. It was best known for its ice cream, lobster rolls, fried clams, cheeseburgers, French fries, and coffee frappés. On a hot Friday in July, trays of food and gallons of ice cream were served. It would be an understatement to say it was “open for business.”
Serving the hungry public was no easy task. They weren’t there to make your day. But you learned that a smile could disarm them and can get the transaction off on the right track. At the end of the summer, you knew the score by how many repeat customers you served. And we had a lot of them.
Fridays were big. Once four o’clock rolled around, you had better have your game face on. You could get a sense of how busy the night was going to be by that first rush. This was the first wave of the beach crowd. Then there were the families out for dinner, followed later by the baseball teams and the daters out for sundaes. We’d shut the door at 10:30 p.m., turn up the music, grab some food, and begin cleaning up. At the end of the shift, you realized what it was like to be open for business. And because we were busy, the shifts flew by.
I feel bad in a way when I go out for ice cream with my family and the place isn’t hopping. I think it’s important that kids get to feel what it’s like to work through a Friday rush and the satisfaction of riding your bike home at 11:00 p.m., tired but awake. When I leave a tip now, I know the kids who are really busy appreciate it the most because at the end of a summer, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars are best when they’re compounding.
It’s hard to explain what it feels like to work for a successful business if you haven’t. You get funny looks when you tell someone that working with the line out the door is fun when you’re making minimum wage. But it’s a stepping stone. It’s an experience. And you can use that forever.
Chances are if you’re reading this you’ve been successful in your life. You probably know exactly what I’m talking about. You know how frustrating it can be to read about business today. You know, as I do, that it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re in this together. Thank you for fighting the good fight.
It’s time to bring the fight to the enemy. So we’ve compiled for you an index of states based on their business friendliness. We call it the “Open for Business Index.” Use it as a tool to see how your state compares on a number of fronts. Is your state one that we have deemed to be business friendly?
The free ride for states is over. The stock market returns of 25% per year are not going to walk through your front door and save your portfolio. Interest rates are not going lower, so forget about bonds coming to your rescue. The long-term secular decline in rates is gone. Do you remember when an 8% rate on a 30-year mortgage was considered good? The landscape you’re dealing with today is a mirage. So do your homework, like reading Richardcyoung.com, and help your friends get their heads out of the sand.
Can a state be open for business while promising 8% guaranteed rates of return to public pensions? Is your state’s government-spending-to-state-GDP ratio on the rise? If it is, it’s not acceptable. How about this? More than half the states in this great country are forced-union states. Union membership should be a choice. States continue to charge you high tax rates, for what? Funding pensions, building convention centers, and doing nothing about your children’s or grandchildren’s educations? Give me a break. Taking a look at some state balance sheets today gives you the idea that you’re looking at a pension fund that happens to run a state, not the other way around.
Use our index to fire up your friends. Get them involved. This election in November is too important not to. Now you have tools that you can point out to your elected officials so you can say with confidence, “Hey, elected official who I employ, why aren’t you doing this, or this, or that? Let’s go—we need to be open for business.” And you know what? If they don’t get what you’re saying, then they’ll never get what it feels like to be open for business.