I admit it. I am a capitalist. If any of you sixties holdouts want to add the pig noun, be my guest. Not sure why this unfortunate, all-purpose, dehumanizing slur got applied to police officers and businesspersons alike, but ironically it often came out of the mouths of radicals preaching peace, love, and understanding in their next breath.
As we mark July 4th, 2010, the US economy is stagnant and unemployment is rampant. There are predictions of a slip into another recession. The political urge to do “corrective” things in the coming months will be great. Unfortunately, we have had plenty of corrections and big programs and new edicts by central planners in DC over the past year and they have only made things worse.
Here’s a modest suggestion: get back to incentivizing American business with carrots instead of whacking it with large sticks (and possibly soon, new taxes and more regulations). In particular, get back to incentivizing small business, where most innovation and jobs growth occurs. Then, get the hell out of the way and let the free market work its magic. Supply. Demand. Profits. And sometimes losses.
Too Big to Fail is a popular phrase and justification for bailing out failing companies. It could be applied equally to government. However, a more apt expression might be Too Big to Function. Whenever bureaucracies result from corpulent corporations and ill-defined, ever-expanding government entities, you wind up with something that looks, acts, and smells like Jabba the Hutt.
Big doesn’t have to mean bad. Last time I checked, Apple was large and successful. But they are supplying products that are in demand. Value is a critical part of the equation for success in business.
The single best thing our government can do right now is to stop treating business like public enemy number one. Or like colonists to be taxed and taxed again. Freedom is a beautiful thing. When businesspeople are freed from excessive government compliance, when investment capital is freed up, and when markets are free, then a lot more companies are free to hire and put people back to work. It’s a pretty simple idea and not that revolutionary.