As a long-time champion for independent flooring retailers, I believe there are reasons for great optimism. Many in the industry have called for “cautious optimism”—I disagree. First of all, we will never run out of floors to cover, so our products will always be in demand. The only questions are how much, how often and how profitable. My wife has had a flooring business for over a decade, and observing what she has had to go through in fulfilling government demands for paperwork and the costs involved, I wonder whether or not I would have ever started or continued with business. America has been the No. 1 economic force in the world because our government has mostly stayed out of the way of small business no matter what party has been in power. However, for eight years we have been burdened with excessive regulation and taxes due to a philosophy that government knows what’s best for us.
To put this into context, when I decided to open a flooring business in the 60s, no license or state and local paperwork was required and only minimal demands from the IRS. I remember this as if it were yesterday. In those days an individual tax return could be filled out on a postcard. The best health insurance in the world was cheap. In 1980 when I had several stores, I provided complete family health coverage for my employees for $320 a month. This minimal payment covered my own cancer operations and therapies totaling over $50,000.