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Editorial: TRUST Board - For jobs' sake, stimulus deal must succeed

Editorial: TRUST Board - For jobs' sake, stimulus deal must succeed

This editorial first appeared in the Tulsa World.

by: LARRY MOCHA, president of Tulsa-based Air Power Systems Co. Inc. and member of the Board of Directors to TRUST
Friday, April 03, 2009
4/3/2009 3:41:07 AM

The posturing and discussion about the financial stimulus package signed into law by President Barack Obama are rampant. There are good people all across this nation that are being laid off from their jobs. Most of them probably felt good about their jobs a few months ago and suddenly find themselves unemployed.

As an employer, I've found it necessary to reduce salaries, trim expenses and even let good people go. For us, it started a couple of years ago. For others, it may have just begun.

I am appealing to Tulsans to work to regain confidence in our economy, in our city, in our products and businesses. I didn't support Obama or this package initially. But, as a small businessman and a believer that small business is the backbone of our economy, I really need his plan to work. We've witnessed enough disharmony in Washington; it's time to change the dialogue and get behind our president to help make his package work.

Though we may not fully understand all the factors that have put our economy in its current condition, we certainly have learned through the media where much of the blame should go. A lot of people bought homes who couldn't afford them and those homes were financed by people who should have known better. I don't know what to do about the home buyers, but personally I'd like to see the people responsible for this on the business side pay the price. That would include the bankers, hedge fund managers and Wall Street brokers who received huge bonuses for their parts in this sham. It would be a relief to see the proper authorities deal with this group of people and get them out of the system.

What is the saving grace in our economy? Small business. Small businesses account for more than 95 percent of all Oklahoma businesses. Small businesses can lead us out of this recession. They have done it in the past and will most certainly do it again!

These small businesses are doing the right things on a daily basis: paying taxes, staying competitive and meeting government requirements. On an average day, in an average year, it is very difficult to be a small businessman. In the present circumstances, many are finding it impossible.

I, for one, still believe in the American worker, the American entrepreneur and the American way of doing business.

One year ago, my company began negotiations to bring the manufacturing of a product from England to our own plant. We purchased the manufacturing rights and tooling so we could begin manufacturing products in Tulsa. With only half of the equipment and with only two employees, our production cell was able to produce exactly what the British had been doing with twice the equipment and twice the manpower. This is not a unique story; it is very typical of the American worker.

There is no doubt that the American worker can produce products that create value to us and for other people in the world. That creation of value is the foundation of our economy.

The men and women I see at my plant every day are real representatives of the American worker. They work hard and use their skills to make products that cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world.

If all of us had confidence in the American worker, the recession would be over. This stimulus package will work if it helps restore our confidence. This is not a call to spend, it is a call to relax. If you spend that dollar on an American product, it will go much further towards helping our economy.

We need this stimulus package to work. We need our president to be successful. All of us must have confidence that America will rise again led by the small business community and the entrepreneurial spirit that makes it strong.

Larry Mocha is president of Tulsa-based Air Power Systems Co. Inc., a small business with about 30 employees.

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