Government vs. Small Business

I try to give solid advice to budding entrepreneurs looking to start an online business. But every so often I am going to drag out the soap box, stand on it and shout, like a bearded radical inciting the citizens in the town square.

First of all, the U.S. Government, especially now, is NOT a friend of small business. It is turning into the most anti-capitalist, anti-profit, anti-business government I’ve ever seen.

I’m not even going to how we got into the current economic crises, but the links below will give you an idea…

2000 – The Trillion-Dollar Bank Shakedown That Bodes Ill for Cities

The Clinton administration has turned the Community Reinvestment Act, a once-obscure and lightly enforced banking regulation law, into one of the most powerful mandates shaping American cities—and, as Senate Banking Committee chairman Phil Gramm memorably put it, a vast extortion scheme against the nation’s banks.

2004 – Ex-SEC Official Blames Agency for Blow-Up

[An SEC] rule change in 2004 led to the failure of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, and Merrill Lynch.

The SEC allowed five firms — the three that have collapsed plus Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — to more than double the leverage they were allowed to keep on their balance sheets and remove discounts that had been applied to the assets they had been required to keep to protect them from defaults.

2008 – Barney’s Rubble

Mr. [Congressman Barney] Frank was publicly arguing for an increase in the size of their [Fannie Mae & Freddy Mac’s] combined $1.4 trillion portfolios right up to the day they were bailed out. Even now, after he’s been proven wrong about a taxpayer guarantee, he opposes Treasury’s planned reduction in the size of the portfolios starting in 2010…

The resulting economic crises has put the government in control of investment banks, insurance companies, auto companies and over half of the home mortgages in America.

The government strong-armed Bank of America into paying 18 billion dollars too much for Merrill Lynch, told major banks they WOULD participate in TARP whether they wanted to or not, and short-changed Chrysler bondholders in favor of the UAW, then complained the bondholders were being greedy.

Next step – health care. A lot has happened since I wrote about the health care plan last month. An estimated 1.5 trillion dollars over 10 years, perhaps now whittled down to only a trillion, to “fix” something that over 70% of Americans are satisfied with.

And if you are opposed to that, or even have a question for your Senator or Representative about it?

REP. Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker: ” We call it “Astroturf,” it’s not really a grass roots movement.”

REP. Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker and REP. Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader:  “These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.”

Brian Mark Weber at put it best:

The progressive-socialists cannot accept the fact that any intelligent, civilized human being in the twenty-first century would hold onto what they believe to be the archaic and outdated ideas of individualism, liberty, and capitalism.  In order to realize their agenda, the Democrats need conformity and submission to their ideas and power.  While liberals claim to be the guardians of free speech and expression, their characterization of health care opponents as an angry mob is not merely a catchphrase. They actually believe that anyone who does not embrace their ideas is part of a lower class of people who do not have the intellectual capability to partake in a public expression of political ideas.  Rather than recognizing the value and necessity of differing opinions in a free society, Democrats seek to demonize anyone who stands in their way. Instead of listening to their constituents and perhaps respecting the valid concerns of the people they represent, people such as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid seek to silence the voice of opposition.

I couldn’t agree more. Since the Democrats can’t get the country to go along, their next strategy is to make the health insurance companies the bad guys – the same health care insurance companies that had originally signed on to health care reform.

Now, House Chairman Henry Waxman has sent out 52 letters to major health insurers to investigate “executive compensation and other business practices” – another subtle threat from the government to businesses to ‘play ball’.

The request included records relating to compensation of highly paid employees, documents relating to companies’ premium income and claims payments, and information on expenses stemming from any event held outside company facilities in the past 2 1/2 years.

But the really telling statements were by President Obama. On two different occasions he talked about his view of the current health care system.

The first was about doctors removing tonsils from children for profit and in the second instance he explained how a doctor could refuse to treat a diabetic to make a profit by amputating the patient’s feet!

IS THIS REALLY HIS VIEW OF AMERICA? That doctors are a bunch of money-grubbing sadists only out to make a profit?

He’s already chastised most of American businessmen as greedy. He’s stated that TARP recipients shouldn’t have conventions in Las Vegas causing a huge drop in business there.

He maligned legitimate bondholders, whom he calls “the money people” and “speculators” at Chrysler, an opinion not shared by the Indiana State Teachers’ Retirement Fund, Indiana State Police Department Pension Trust and Indiana Major Moves Construction Fund.

His Treasury Department wants to start regulating Venture Capital firms the same way they regulate hedge funds, even though VC firms are not leveraged. This would put a huge damper on small business start-ups.

What happened to the post-partisan, “Yes We Can” attitude he campaigned on?

I’m worried about the future of small business in this country. I’m certainly not laying it all at the feet of the Democrats – all of Congress for years has limited small business.

A telling book I just read is called Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal about a small farmer in Virginia’s trials and tribulations with the U.S. government. It’s shocking and often hilarious at the same time.

My advice to small business owners is to stay involved, stay in contact with your Representative and Senators, go to town hall meetings, stay abreast of what the government is up to concerning your business.