Understanding angry rich
Reader comment on: The Angry Rich Speak
Submitted by GB (United States), Mar 16, 2011 05:04
I know what you are going through. I too WAS the rich wife of a small business owner. I have written almost the exact words that you have. I have pages and pages in my documents that tell my view of what happened to our business. Politicians call it the "trickle down effect"-big businesses trying to survive, or not, but I have always called it the trickle up effect. I have watched small businesses struggle for many years, do to the bureaucracy and politics, taxes and requirements that have been impossible to meet, until they just couldn't hack it anymore. Then, when it began to hit the big businesses hard, it snowballed into the destruction of thousands of small businesses in our country. . We owned our business for 38 years. My husband's biggest dream was to help other people. He was on ministry boards, and did benevolent funds, including help for single moms. We had 4 children around the world in Christian Children's Fund. We helped wherever we could, pastors, schools, churches, missions, etc. We always put the lives of the young families that worked for us, above any thought of our future. No one sees when the owner goes without a paycheck so they can have theirs, sometimes month after month. We downsized our home, time and time again, we gave up our CD's, 401K's, didn't go on vacation for the last 8 years we had our business, etc. so we could put it all back into the business. Our furniture is over 30 years old. We retired every family member on my husband's side, in their 40's and 50's, and it wasn't enough. We gave and gave. There were paychecks to pay, with union contracts that went up and up for the few machinists we had left, because we were so small, that the union grouped our guys with one of the biggest machinists unions in the country. We really couldn't afford it, but, they threatened to quit all at the same time, if we didn't go above and beyond what the union contract said. Our main manager was a bully......toward his boss, and he turned others against my husband, as well. There was L&I to pay, FICA, taxes for every mile each guy drove to and from work. Insurance on the building, any cars driven for business, insurance on each employee, each product they made, and umbrellas on all of the above, and etc.,etc. plus all of the other taxes that local and federal take from businesses. My husband became very ill in 2004, and nearly died. It involved his memory as well, and it was months before he was up to par again- he still isn't really the same. I practically begged the 2 managers who had been with us for over 30 years, to take up some slack, because he just couldn't work all day and into the early hours of the morning, every night, because others were not pulling their weight. They didn't even try. They were now just waiting to retire. We were not in a position to replace and retrain new guys, because it was an older technology used in this type of manufacturing. One had stolen from the business many years ago, and my husband had forgiven him. The other was,...well, let me say, doing some very unethical things toward the end. Everything leaned toward his good, and not the good of the business. We coudn't figure out why inventory was purchased and yet no orders were getting done. When we finally figured it all out, it was too late. We ended up with a predatory lender, who, in the end, required 25% interest a month, because we were now in default, and 3 points every 3 months. It was ruthless from every side. My heart is broken. One and a half years before we lost the business, the manager was fired after calling our daughter very nasty female names, and yelling at my husband. He then took all the notes with requests of changes, etc., written by my husband the last few years,and threw them into a box, and then told my husband that he had never looked at them. He said that his doctor had told him, a few years before, that he couldn't do any bookwork anymore, because it was too stressful for him. He didn't have a clue what stress was. He made his own stress. He could have said something so we could have gotten some help for him years before, instead he did his own thing, and let the business that paid his wages go down. He defamed my husband so badly, that he has not been able to find work in the only industry he has ever known, and at one time was the biggest and best at. When that manager left, he came back into our building when he knew anyone who cared wouldn't know he was there, and took more than half of the very large engines that were already ordered by customers, the CAD program, customer and vendor lists and all trade secrets, and went immediately to our biggest competitor, where he is still working. We do not have money to fight. Within 1 1/2 years, everything fell apart. The predatory loan had now taken its tole. A relative who was working for us, got his very rich father in law involved, and literally stole our business and took it literally next door. The employees didn't go to work for him right away, because "it wouldn't look good," he said. Imagine how I felt when I watched this young man and his own dad run up the sidewalk to put their arms around our customers and lead them down the street, saying,"you want to come this way." This relative also stole orders and the purchased supplies to complete them, that were already in the house at our business; called vendors and told them we would no longer be there, while he was still in our employ; and tried to hack into our emails. He requested that a good family friend of ours,who had helped to put our website together, give him the password, so he could take the website without compensating for it. When our friend wouldn't go along with it, he and his wife tried to hack in on their own and actually steal it. There was so much stealing on every side, and there was so much unethical, cruel lying and cheating going on. When we were cleaning out the 2+ million dollar building that we lost (our retirement), one of the exemployees came into the building when no one was looking, and actually stole a fan out of the outside wall leaving a 3 foot open hole! It was unbelievable. We are 60. We have been going through this for 3 years now. No money. So little money, attorneys working with us to finish a bankruptcy treat us like dirt, yelling at us, even though we have paid them, and they put us off...it is the longest bankruptcy in history...still not done. My husband's memory is bad enough that he goes over and over the papers, and I don't understand it all, so I can't really help. We lost our home. I lost my 8 yr. old car, we rented a house, and the guy decided to sell it, so we had to move again. 39 yrs worth of stuff moved from one house, into another, out, and into another. We don't know how long we can stay here. My husband is now on disability. I am working, but can't get enough hours, and no one wants someone my age. We both need major back surgery, and I have been told if I don't, I won't want to walk at 70 because of the pain in my legs. He needs a hip replacement redone. He has alot of pain, too. We can't afford to do either. My life is turned completely upside down. I was a mom, a housewife, and grandma. I'm sure those who have "regular jobs" wives, just want those things, too. They have their retirements, they have their pensions. We have nothing. I don't have time to be the mom and grandma I want to be. My husband isn't well. I have one daughter who is in a wheelchair parttime, because of her back, and a second daughter who is headed in the same direction. I cannot spend enough time with them to be of any help. My husband is not well. I don't have much time for anyone anymore. I am exhausted. Neither of us can kick the depression. We have two dogs, we love them so much, but how long can we keep them. We have nothing and we keep losing and losing. I cry many times every day. Was it worth it? We thought we were being good to everyone around us. We weren't perfect, we made mistakes, but, did we really deserve this? I have always believed that God has a plan, but I cannot see past this. I cannot see any hope for any change. We were business owners, so there is no unemployment for business owners in our state. There is no pension. We were promised food cards. We got 2, for about $150 each, about 2 years ago. He is on Medicare, which is the very least of help, and I still have my health insurance because I must keep it, and it is top priority on our list. Still, I am afraid to go to the doctor, because, let alone the $30 co-pay, I cannot afford anything extra I may get charged for. We don't eat right, and we are becoming those elderly people that you hear about who have to choose between their meds and food. It may end up being medical or a place to live. It has been glorious being business owners. Talk about angry rich....how bout broken "rich"? It isn't all roses to have a business you can't control and have no say over, anyway.
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