Please remove your blinders

Mr. President, Members of Congress, please remove your blinders. 

That is a tall order. If they would do so, however, they would help the entrepreneurs of this country create a lot of jobs and expand the economy.

The President has spoken several times about how he would like to see more and more young people spurn business to go into public service. That is an example of seeing this country through blinders.

With no disrespect to him or to the public service, this is terrible advice. The country needs more people to go into business. It needs more entrepreneurs.

Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard reminded us recently that in the depths of the last horrible recession Apple sold stock to the public for the first time. That sale created over 300 millionaires among Apple employees.

Imagine the taxes they paid. Imagine how much tax they paid over the years since. Imagine how much tax Apple has paid. Imagine how much tax all the shareholders of Apple have paid.



In those same horrible years FedEx, Southwest Airlines, Microsoft, Genentech and Oracle all got off the ground. Imagine all the taxes these ventures generated over the years.

Imagine what would have happened to these ventures – and thousands more – if government had tried to pick winners and losers among startups. Imagine if politicians had tried to decide which companies to steer government largesse to.

You know they would have got it wrong. Well, picking winners and losers is exactly what our politicians try to do today. Wearing blinders, the President decides that green industries are the way to go. And pours billions into their coffers through subsidies and tax concessions.

Government now owns GM and Citibank. Blinders in place, politicians try to decide which cars GM should create and promote. They tell Citibank how small their bonuses should be.

This is elitism writ large. 

If only our leaders would remove blinders and learn from Hong Kong. It had no resources. Yet its economy grew into an efficient powerhouse. That economy enriched huge percentages of its citizens.

The prime reason Hong Kong’s economy surged ahead of others was that Britain got out of the way. It refused to burden the citizens with licenses and restrictions and taxes. It was about as laissez faire as a government could be.

If only our leaders would remove blinders and learn from Apple. The company could have tried to create and control applications for its iPhone. Just as our government is trying to create jobs and control where capital flows.

Apple chose a course our government should choose. It got the hell out of the way. It set some guidelines for entrepreneurs to create applications. It gave them a chance to make money with their ideas. It opened the playing field for them to compete with each other.

Result: Entrepreneurs have created over 140,000 applications for the phone.

The best way our leaders could light a fire under this economy would be to take their blinders off and get out of the way. They should lower taxes and regulations on entrepreneurs. They should get out of the business of trying to create jobs.

Imagine if our leaders tried to create iPhone and then its applications. They would be as successful as they have been at creating jobs. In other words, iPhone would be out of business.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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