By Ryan Beckley, Mavericks Coffee
This column is part of our ongoing series of op-eds this election season from small business owners working with The Marketplace by TheBlaze. We often hear politicians talk about what small business owners want, and if elected, what public officials could do to help these entrepreneurs. But we haven’t heard enough from small business owners themselves. This series will feature small business owners discussing their business, ‘how they built that,’ and what it has been like trying to sustain and grow their business over the last 4 years.
Hearing President Barrack Obama’s now infamous statement “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” I was reminded of Job 38 in the Bible. “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?”
The president’s words are not only without knowledge, but they obscure to the rest of the world the genius of America’s founding by veiling its beacon of freedom, and shrouding the shinning city on the hill that America has been since its inception. But more perilous than denying America’s exceptionalism to the rest of the world–which gives hope and opportunity to many yearning for freedom–the president’s remarks conceal and deceive those within the United States of the unprecedented opportunity that is within their grasp.
The road blocks to small business in America right now are great and profound. When small business owners all across America embarked on our journey as entrepreneurs, we committed our working life and that of our family’s as a sacrifice to reach our goals. We rise early and stay late. We scrimp, save, and when we run short, we do without. Yet we all remain focused to succeed.
Most businesses don’t start big, they start small. New small businesses enter into the marketplace daily and breathe new life into the United States economy. From new innovation and beneficial competition, to an increase in overall economic activity, our work leads to improved products, new efficiencies, and lower prices that benefit society. The general economy is stronger, and people are wealthier because the necessities of life are more abundant and require less of their wealth to purchase. At the same time, the circumstances of the business and the people it now employs are improved.
The roads, bridges, and other infrastructure that the president hypnotically charms the people with are only a means or a conduit for economic activity. Production is wealth. It is through the efforts of production in a society free of burdensome regulation and meddling politicians, that the power of the market is released. Historically, the United States has protected the entrepreneurs and fostered production, but sadly the assault on production has been consistent and certain. This president has hastened the advance of declining American production.
Since starting my business, I have learned governmental permission is required at every step. From placing a sign on my business to erecting a Christmas tree during the holidays. Both require a permit and, of course, a fee even if the permit is not granted. Even the traditional round door knob is illegal.
In California, where additional burdens are placed on business, the local municipality requires paying local business taxes on estimated revenue before it is generated. Also paying traffic impacts fees for customers that may never patronize your business.
Governments purview extends from regulating and taxing chairs and decorations in your business, to pleasant in person meetings with health inspectors, fire inspectors, building inspectors, assessors and various other regulators. In fact, during a recommended voluntary training session that became mandatory when I said “no thank you,” California’s Franchise Tax Board (they are California’s version of the IRS just not as polite), I learned I can charge any sales tax rate I want above the minimum sales tax rate as long I send them money. For most entrepreneurs, too much time is spent complying, documenting compliance, and wondering if someday compliance will even be possible at the expense of running their business.
I got into business to serve my customers, not the government. The government is our servant not our keeper. Sadly, the assault on business and its production is a threat to everyone that consumes or produces in the United States.
Statutes, regulations, codes, and ordinances now suffocate business at every turn. Innovation is now only seen by government as it develops new ways to disrupt, displace, and confiscate wealth and its creation. The invisible-hand that once guided the voluntary interactions between individuals in the marketplace has now been replaced with the chocking hands of government, strangling production and draining the very life breathed by the entrepreneurs into their business.
In the Bible Job was posed a series of questions that he could not answer. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?”
President Obama, were you there when I started my business? Where were you when my business was capitalized? Is that your name on the mortgage? Or your signature under penalty of perjury and incarceration?
Clearly, the president does not know and he does not understand, nor does he wish to know or understand, the foundations of freedom in the United States. This willful ignorance from President Obama and others in positions of authority at all levels of government imperils the people and hinders meaningful progress for every man, women, and child in the United States.
I would remind President Obama: “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” Job understood when he said “I put my hand over my mouth,” and he would not speak. The president would be prudent to do so as well.