A cab driver’s smirk

guest commentary by David Potts
David Potts is a certified public accountant with more than 25 years experience. Although every effort is made to provide you accurate and timely tax information, it is general in nature and not specific to your facts and circumstances. Consult a qualified tax professional to discuss your particular case.

Feel free to e-mail topic suggestions or questions to davidpotts@potts-cpa.com

I was riding in a taxicab last Tuesday night in Manhattan after seeing the Broadway musical "Wicked." My wife, her sister, and a friend were riding in the back seat, so I sat up front with the driver.

The driver was from Bangladesh and appeared to have consumed several energy drinks close together.

As we entered Times Square, taxicabs fighting for position, our cab collided with another cab. Fortunately we were going slow and the result was a few scratches and bruises left on the taxicabs. All persons were uninjured.

Our cab driver stayed in the car and just rolled down the window. The other cab driver got out of his car and walked over to our taxicab. He appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent too. I watched these two gentlemen argue, negotiate and gesture for several minutes, but in the end they decided not to call the police. Why? Because, according to our cab driver, by the time they called the police and completed the accident report they would have lost two hours of time that they could be making money.

What do you know. Fellow entrepreneurs finding a practical way to deal with government regulation.

As we went on about our business the taxicab driver asked me where we were from. I replied, “Arkansas,” then with a smirk and a slight grin he asked, “How do you feel about Obama beating you?”

I was a bit shocked at the question. I did not expect a taxi cab driver born in Bangladesh speaking with a heavy foreign accent to even know where Arkansas was located much less know that it was a “red” state.

“Don’t let my sister-in-law see that grin on your face or she will whip your butt when you stop the taxi,” I replied.

He just grinned bigger.

How would you answer the cab driver if he asked you, “How do you feel about Obama beating you?”

I’m a 50-something white college-educated male professional, bred and born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, raised Southern Baptist (now Presbyterian). Unless I’m at church, I hear my family and friends express intense anger and resentment, sometimes accented with colorful adjectives when discussing their feelings regarding President Obama’s reelection. Why? President Obama’s promises and policies are a threat to their value system, their way of life, and their livelihood.

These feelings have validity. Many of us can all expect our income taxes to increase with this money redistributed by the government to other demographic groups, while at the same time we struggle to save for our retirement or our children’s college education.

Business owners can expect government regulations to multiply as well as the cost of compliance. Conservative Christians can expect more liberal social values to be promoted. But the truth is, if you identify yourself as a loser, there is somebody else that is viewing their self as a winner. But here is what you might be overlooking. With change comes opportunity.


I can’t tell you today what opportunities will present themselves. But neither can you if you focus on change as a personal threat. But I can promise you the opportunities will be there.

Business owners and professionals, think about what the management guru Peter Drucker said in his book “Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Practice and Principles.” In the opening paragraph of chapter two he stated, “Entrepreneurs innovate. Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. It is the act that endows resources with the new capacity to create wealth.”

A few pages later he says, “The overwhelming majority of successful innovations exploit change.”

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Entrepreneurial spirit in NYC

If you were in NY, surely you must have seen the explosion of small independent businesses all through the city--including medallion cabbies with six-figure incomes (if they own their own cab). Many of them come from Asia, Central and South America to the land of opportunity, the city that never sleeps. A city with good public transportation, excellent public universities, a broad, affluent consumer base, etc. They don't want the Arkansas way of life...and they probably wonder why you do. They wonder why "your way of life" has resulted in solid South states that always rank near the bottom in income, health, and educational statistics. All that deregulation and 'individualism' sure haven't translated into a good quality of life for most of the residents. And the "many" whose taxes will rise in the next four years amount to 1 or 2% of the population.

Look on the bright side

A chunk of NY/NJ federal tax dollars gets redistributed to states like Arkansas, otherwise the quality of life and opportunity here would be even lower.

One cab driver told me that

One cab driver told me that the medallion cost $800,000. A bit prohibitive for most cab drivers to acquire.


David, the election is over. I wish people would quit whining and let it go. The President is only one person. You have Congress to blame also. Why does every Republican blame Obama for the mess we are in? Look at the Republicans also they share some the blame. Democrats take from the rich and give to the poor and the Republicans take from the poor and give to the rich!!

No kidding. What was the

No kidding. What was the point of the taxi cab story other than to gripe (again) that Obama won. I can beat a dead horse, too. Bush and Republican policies are what got us in this mess to begin with..........

No, complaining about Obama

No, complaining about Obama winning the electiion was not the point of the story. Read the story again and if you have difficult understanding the point, email me and I'll try to walk you through it.

Wow, it's so cool...

that my little comment got the ball rolling and inspired some of the other 37% of Arkansans who voted Democratic to speak out. Write on, sisters and brothers :)