The government should help, not hinder small businesses
The Way I See It
by DON WEST
Well, the truth is finally coming out about our esteemed leader. No, I’m not talking about the ever-elusive birth certificate that Arizona Sheriff Arpaio has now deemed to be a fake. There has been so much said about that particular issue, much of it proven to be a load of horse hockey, and it is an issue that is pretty much dead. After all, he is nearly finished with his term as president, and anything done now would be akin to closing the gate after the cow had gotten out. Retroactive punishment is futile at this point. The truth I am speaking of is the “king’s” remark that no business was ever started or became a success without government. Well sir, I will give you the fact that it is certainly important to business to have an infrastructure in place, such as roads and streets so that customers can get to a business. I will concur that water, sewage, electricity, and a few other necessities must be in place to allow businesses to start up and prosper. However, having been a mostly independent business person for most of my adult life, let me shine a little light on this subject.
When one makes plans to start up a business, that is, anything larger than a corner lemonade stand, much time has to be spent jumping through the hoops of government’s mandated red tape. Most businesses need startup financing and the red tape begins with the numerous forms that need to be executed to borrow the capital. Much of that paperwork is due to government intervention into private business. Yes, the financial institution must protect its interests. However, I told my banker on many occasions that the amount of paperwork isn’t worth the ink, and the only thing they really have is my word that I will make every effort to repay the loans. If I choose to walk away, they will have recourse, but, trust me, banks don’t want recourse, they want to be paid. I will also agree that recent history has proven that some in the financial world cannot be trusted to do business ethically, however, the government being a watchdog over private business is somewhat akin to the fox guarding the henhouse. There is at least as much corruption in government as there is in private business, and probably more.
After securing financing, the business person must then secure permit after permit and file forms with every government entity in the areas in which the company will carry on business. Sales taxes alone are a nightmare when the business goes outside of the particular political boundary where it is established. We once did business in nine parishes and four Texas counties and had to file taxes for each entity within those political subdivisions. Once business opens the doors there is the constant expense of dealing with government for payroll and insurance audits, sales tax audits, building inspectors, and we even had to tolerate an annual inspection and fee for a weight scale from the La. Dept. of Agriculture and it never served a valid purpose. Government is usually nothing more than an interruption of business, but it has become the largest customer of many businesses just because of its obesity. Again, doing business with government is a red tape nightmare and much time, energy and resources are wasted when they could be better spent producing sales which provide jobs, salaries and benefits.
There is not enough room in hundreds of my columns to discuss all that government does to hinder business, and the details would bore most readers. But suffice it to say that anyone who has no experience in private business, “the king”, should not and cannot render an opinion that business cannot function without government. Private business could and would be more successful and run more efficiently without government intervention save the infrastructure, national defense, and some minor regulation. Micro-managing private business seems to be the goal of Washington, a purely socialist agenda, and “the king’s” indication that successful people should be ashamed or embarrassed about their success is a statement that merely widens the gap between the factions. While many complain by boycotting Wall Street, they do so with a full stomach.
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