This is issue #6 in the series (20 Issues – 40 Weeks) on what we need to look for in our candidates for office this November:

Regardless what the government does or what happens to our economy, life will go on. People will continue to find the things they need to survive: food, water, shelter. So why all the fear and panic about runaway inflation, systemic collapse of our financial systems, our economy, etc.?

I think the answer is easy. We all resist change. Nobody wants to go backwards. If our economy goes to pieces and we end up with, say, 25% unemployment like at the height of the Depression of the 30s, we will not be happy. We want to avoid that pain and suffering.

What can your elected officials do to improve the economy, increase job opportunities, and help prevent economic collapse? Why should we carefully choose those who will govern us based on what they can and will do to help increase job opportunities and improve our economy? In my opinion, we need to elect people who understand business and economics so that we don’t continue to get government policy that raises the cost (monetary, physical, and emotional) of doing business.   We need people who will resist the urge to regulate markets and limit profits.  Without profit incentive, our real economy will go away.   Since the government agencies are all but immune from economic realities (need more money for a special project, just raise taxes and fees), they will be more secure places to work.  No one will want to work for anyone but government agencies.

I guess my bottom line is that we need to ensure that private business is a much larger percentage of our economy than government. Current trends, under current government leadership, show that government will continue to grow much faster than business. That is an unsustainable trend.  At some point, 100% of the profits from private enterprise could be confiscated by government and it still would not cover the cost of all the government’s activities.

My view is that we have two choices. Either we create incentives to encourage economic activity or we remove barriers to economic activity. I actually think we need to do both, but, to me the most important is removing barriers. In almost 40 years of experience in business, I have seen more innovation and enterprise stalled by government barriers than is encouraged by (government)  incentives.

Let me give you an example of government action that causes a burden to business but which could be simply overcome by government action. If I hire someone for my business, by law I must ensure that the person has the legal right to work in this country. It is my job as a private citizen to “catch” an illegal alien. I must prove that the person I am hiring is legal through a government system called “e-verify.” I also have to fill out a form I-9 witnessing that I have seen appropriate documentation from the potential employee to prove he or she has the legal right to work here. This is not a huge barrier. It does take time to learn the system, but not much. It has penalties that make you wonder if hiring that next person will land you in jail.

On the other hand, State government agencies issue drivers licenses to illegal aliens every day and I never hear of State licensing bureaus being raided for making it easy for illegal aliens to get documentation and licenses. Wouldn’t it make sense for State and Federal Agencies to do this screening rather than private individuals? We assume that protecting our borders and administering an immigration system is a government function, yet, we require private business to do the policing.  Does this make sense?

Just for fun, go to the Small Business Administration site where they offer help in compliance with government mandates before starting a business. Or go to the official business link to the U.S. Government and see how much fun it will be to start a business. I particularly like the checklist offered to help you “Stay Compliant with Laws” which includes: “Advertising Law, Employment and Labor Law, Environmental Regulations, Exit a Business, Finance Law, Patents, Trademarks, Copyright, Online Business, Privacy Laws, the Uniform Commercial Code, Workplace Safety and Health Laws, etc.  In my opinion, the Small Business Administration spends a good deal of its time and your money just trying to help businesses overcome the burden of government overregulation. What do you think?

Long story short – I want to see us elect people who have experience in business and understand how government actions stifle economic activity. I want people who will work to remove government barriers to doing business.  Markets and competition do a good job of showing the true cost of any good or service.  The same cannot be said for Governments and price controls.  Politicians with big egos believe they are smarter than the voice of millions of people who make up markets. I think and history proves they are wrong.  We need to elect more humble servants of the people, not more egotists bent on proving (to themselves) that they are better than those who have elected them.  I think it is our responsibility to do this.