The Era of the Entrepreneur Could Be Ending

March 4, 2004 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Now that the Democrats have chosen their gladiator in the battle to be world leader, we can make some relevant predictions and warnings about the possible outcome. And if you think this is going to be just another political rant, guess again. Keep reading.

Whether you like it or not, whether you are a DRP shop or a so-called ?Pro Consumer? shop, your business, collision repair, is tied to the insurance industry. That will never change. Unless you plan on making your fortune restoring rust buckets, which isn?t even collision repair, you are going to have some form of insurance influence on your business. The best you can do is to keep that influence limited to a survivable presence.

As we all have experienced, the insurance industry operates, without impunity, in ways that other smaller industries could only dream of. ?For the good of the people,? the insurance industry is exempt from some of the anti-trust constraints that frequently send desperate business owners to the pokey. Even illegal activities are ignored by the government agencies instituted to protect the consumer. Those government agencies, more often than not, become the watchdogs for the politically influential insurance companies. Imagine having the government exercising that same kind of influence on your business. Forget the taxes, the regulations, the licenses and all the other government nosiness we already have to deal with. Think what it would be like dealing with the government in the same capacity as we do the insurance industry.

Sound ridiculous?

For decades politicians have been trying buy votes by promising free health insurance to the small group of people in this country who have made a series of poor decisions in their lives, decisions that have left them unable to afford health insurance. These promises, the mere possibility of free health insurance someday being reality, have added to this herd of the ?unfortunate.? Every year more and more people fail to give the effort needed in a free society to excel. And every year more and more politicians see this problem as the magic potion needed to cause people to vote them into office. The obsession with power is the catalyst that is taking more and more people off of the tax roles. This obsession is driving the push to universal, free health care to all Americans. What they fail to tell us is that the remaining hard working Americans will be handing over more and more of their money to the government to pay for this disaster.

It?s inevitable. There will be government health care someday. Because the desire for total power is so great, it will probably be illegal for a person to avoid the nightmare this system will cause and pay a doctor directly for private, quality care (previously proposed universal health care schemes have included similar language). Those who can afford top level health care will not be able to circumvent the government system. They will have to suffer substandard care with the rest of the country.

What comes next? Heath insurance will be a constitutional right guaranteed by the government and paid for by hard working entrepreneurs. Why should people have to pay for automobile insurance? The government mandates coverage for all drivers, why shouldn?t government also pay for it? You may laugh now but all you have to do is follow history backwards, follow the path of dependence from the recent government prescription drug program (a program that unnecessary because it targets the richest segment of our population. The vast majority of old farts don?t need the hand out.) all the way back to social security and beyond.

The twentieth century will be known as the century that took this country from a republic where freedom allowed every citizen the opportunity to a secure and prosperous life, to a social democracy where every citizen is guaranteed everything they want and need. Socializing auto insurance is simply the next logical step.

Look at it this way, everyone has heard the term ?unfunded mandate.? This refers to laws passed by a higher government requiring a lower government to do something without the higher government providing the money to the lower government to get it done. Certain cases of this are considered unconstitutional.

Health insurance is not mandated by the government (yet) but many feel it should be paid for by the government. Auto insurance is required by the government. How long before the parasites begin screaming for the government to pay for it? Once the government starts paying for everyone?s auto insurance how long before some government agent pays you a visit? You think you have problems now? Do you think outside influences are affecting your bottom line now? Just wait.

The insurance companies will still be providing the insurance. But the government will be getting the bill. The power, corruption and inefficiency of the government will lead to higher costs for insurance. The pressure to keep those costs down will squeeze the collision repair industry dry. That need for power will also ensure that people who can afford to pay for their own collision damage repair, and want top quality work, will not be able to do so. It will be illegal. Multiply the problems we have now by, well you pick the number.

This November the Presidency, much of the U.S. Senate and all of the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for grabs. You?ve got some serious choices to make. Most Jackasses and some pandering Pachyderms are running on a platform of appeasement to the whiners who want government to care for all of their daily needs. They want to raise the taxes of hard working entrepreneurs who already pay the vast majority of this nation?s tax bill. As it is nearly 50% of Americans pay no income taxes. Some politicians want to increase your income taxes so that the ?unfortunate? can enjoy their cell phones, iPods, wide screen TV?s, Game Boys and new cars. They want you to pay their health insurance, and soon enough, their car insurance. They want to steal your money so some children can go to college and get degrees in such needed skills as puppeteering, 15th century African nomad history and Eskimo language studies. They want you to pay for the bad choices made by a growing group of Americans.

The collision repair industry needs to take back the control it has lost over the past four decades. The last thing we need is more insurance influence or any type of government influence, unless the government wants to do something to curb the illegal and unfair business practices of the insurance industry. Yeah, that?ll happen. While the short sighted may think auto insurance will never be a government entitlement, those of us who have followed our country?s political history see the writing on the wall. And this writing is foul, obscene graffiti.

Pay attention this election season. Much of the rhetoric will be hard to stomach, but you can?t afford to ignore it. Hidden in that cacophony of rhetoric is the harmony of truth. When you cast your vote this November, remember, those false promises of jobs, health care, reduced deficits, etc. will come at a great cost. Higher income taxes, loss of personal choice and freedom, and very possibly, the loss of your business could be that cost. And if we fail in the war on terror none of this will matter anyway.

Benjamin Franklin put it bluntly. ?They that can give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.? He was a genius.

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6 Comments on The Era of the Entrepreneur Could Be Ending

  1. Brad Larsen on Thu, 4th Mar 2004 1:56 pm
  2. John, Great observation. One of the reasons that I got into collision repair was that I could blow into Anytown USA that had a population of over a hundred thousand and have a job within a day or two. That is no longer the case. That like the era of entrepenuers, which Ron Reagan help to create, has all but collapsed. Over the passed decade I have watched as some of the most talented collision shop owners & technicians have thrown in the towel and walk away, simply because there was no money left. This should have left a void which caused those remaining to be more in demand, thus driving the price for their services up. Instead they have remained almost flat line while inflation left them in the dust. It will indeed be interesting to see what choices individuals make this upcoming election. If a wise choice is made, it should open the doors for more choices. If a bad choice is made then it closes doors on your choices. Freeom is not free. It is a double edged sword that is rights on one edge and responsibility on the other. The choice should be to sharpen both edges, not just the one. A while back I had an aquaintance of mine tell me that we have a right to welfare, medical benefits, unemployment, public education, and a job. Those are not rights. Those are the rations of slavery. Hay & a barn for human cattle. Any thoughts? Brad Larsen

  3. S. Helms on Fri, 5th Mar 2004 4:34 am
  4. I’ve been on both sides of the desk during my working years. Long time insurance adjuster and 3 year veteran now in a body shop so I feel a I can offer unbiased comments. The insurance industry dictates way too much to the independent business what that business can or can’t do. If you don’t want to play by their rules, they can virtually shut you down with DRP’s and adjusters that "steer" business to specific shops. Whether you like the word "steer" or not, it is exactly what happens. The saddest part of the whole thing to me is the consumer that won’t stand up and say "this is where I want my car fixed, regardless of whether it means you have to send one of your adjusters out or not". The consumer allows themselves to be led by the insurance company and the insurance company will gladly lead them to a DRP that is giving that company a labor or parts break and mostly is concerned with pleasing the insurer rather than the customer. There are alot of things wrong with the body shop industry today and most of it is stereotyped from years past but that black eye still exists and thus consumers don’t trust us so they allow their insurer to give them guidance. If we had cleaned up our own back yard before DRP’s got a strong hold on the industry we wouldn’t be in this situation today. Unfortunately nowdays the insurance companies don’t seem concerned with whether you write a fair and accurate estimate, just how many alternative parts you used, whether it was the right way to fix the car or not. My shop DRP’s for 5 insurers and State Farm is far and away the best. Fix the car and fix it right, no concessions requested. If the others would follow that motto they wouldn’t need DRP’s.

  5. P. Allen on Wed, 17th Mar 2004 1:41 pm
  6. Agreement is found in most of your comments regarding working with the insurance industry. You can write an estimate for $50.00 and they’ll say you should do it for $30.00.

    However, I take great offense and wholly disagree with your comments regarding universal healthcare (of which the U.S. is sadly and woefully behind many nations (i.e. Canada & some European nations, etc.) and also likewise, regarding prescription drug prices/aid for the seniors or anyone (again a healthcare nightmare in this nation.)

    You are way off-base saying "poor decisions" (choices) led to no health insurance for some. Occasionally, yes, but not always. Being self-employed, we have been paying for our own healthcare for almost 22 years. Five years ago, it got way too much to bear when premiums grew to over $10,000 per annum for 3 of us: husband, wife and adult son. My husband had to drop off the coverage and go to the V.A. We were just lucky he had been in the service. Now, 5 years later the premiums are back up to almost $9,000 annually for two: our 27-year old son and myself. (Another increase looms ahead this summer.) You know how hard it is to eek out a profit in the auto body business–I can’t believe you relish paying such high healthcare premiums as we have in the U.S.

    Also, your comment "the vast majority of old farts don’t need the handout" regarding prescription drug coverage…My dad broke his back for 44 years as a union brick mason. He gets his mediocre pension for all those years of toiling, and a social security check which gets eaten up each month to the tune of almost $1,200 in "discounted" prescriptions for my mom and him. Some big reward!!! (Only it’s the drug companies being rewarded–not the citizens.)

    P. Allen, I feel your pain. I really do. However I stand by my statements. There are many organizations you can join as a business to get group discounts on health insurance. And why are you paying for insurance for a 27 year old son? If he is crippled or retarded, then I fully understand. But if he isn’t, kick him in the ass and tell him to pay for his own insurance. And yes, your past decisions have put you exactly where you are today. Go back in your mind and map out your life and how you got to where you are today. But instead of blaming others for your situation, look at the alternative choices you could have made.

    As for dear old dad, well, your argument doesn’t touch my statement that most old people don’t need the handout. Yes, there are some who do. But then, didn’t your father take care of you financially for at least the first 18 years of your life? The first place people should look for help is their families, not the government. People and families who are not self reliant are stealing money from me, right out of the wallet in my back pocket. Thanks!

  7. P. Allen on Thu, 25th Mar 2004 9:13 pm
  8. I must have touched a nerve to elicit a reply….

    #1. Husband has a chronic, incurable illness for 18 yrs. When approached by healthcare insurers or checking into them ourselves, we are told they would not cover him, or at least not for anything related to his illness. To join the C.O.S.E. group (Council of Smaller Enterprise) would cost $500 membership fees each year, and the premiums are comparable to what we now pay. THIS ILLNESS WAS NOT HIS CHOICE OR MINE, AND WAS NOT CAUSED BY ANY ACTION OR INACTION ON HIS PART (i.e. smoking, drinking, etc.) IT JUST HAPPENED, AND MEDICAL RESEARCHERS DON’T KNOW WHY. One day, you or your relative may be in our shoes–then your tune will change.
    #2. Son works for us. He does not earn big bucks, gets no paid vacation or holidays, handles the shop, estimates, parts & materials orders,etc. when we are not available. So his health insurance is an "Employee benefit". Family helping family. Okay?
    #3. My close family has always helped each other. Parents receive help & support from me and my husband, daughter and son. Dad recently spent 2 1/2 wks. in the hospital having tests. Guess the total bill? $66,800+ !!!
    Please don’t tell me healthcare costs aren’t out of control.

    No, maam, you didn’t strike a nerve. Because I am a Republican, I have no nerves, feelings, heart or empathy. But I can understand your situation and acknowledge that it must be tough. At least you all are working at it. Universal health care is not the answer. The problem is the rest of the country runs to the doctor for every little problem and expects the insurance companies to pay for it. Kinda like asking your auto insurance company to pay for oil changes and new tires. Insurance should be only for situations like yours, when people get really sick or hurt. Then rates would be affordable. Maybe someday we’ll figure that out.

  9. g.miller on Thu, 22nd Apr 2004 11:15 am
  10. do you smoke crack?

  11. Charles on Wed, 1st Jul 2009 6:47 pm
  12. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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