May 27, 2010
Some businesspeople want government to leave them alone; others want a bailout and shelter from the storm. They can’t have both.
It’s (still) SME Week and I’ve met a lot of entrepreneurs in the last couple of days. They are interesting people: dreamers, risk-takers and chancers in varying measure.
But I note a philosophical divide between those who plead for the EU and governments to just get out of their way – to be ‘invisible’ as one entrepreneur put it, and those who a screaming for free money, soft loans, cheaper rents, tax breaks, free phone bills and so on.
Can they have both?
In a way, the answer seems to be yes. The Small Business Act includes elements designed to cut red tape on the one hand, while introducing pro-business legislation on the other (e.g. the Late Payments Directive).
But fundamentally, there is a contradiction between libertarian free-market thinkers who want to be unencumbered by pesky regulation and taxes – while at the same time tapping public funds at every opportunity.
They don’t want to be taxpayers; they just want taxpayers’ money.
It reminds me of the extreme end of right-wing thinkers dominating the Tea Party movement in the US, one of whom recently told Fox News of how he was a self-made man who never asked the government for help. “I was on food stamps; I never asked anyone for a hand out.”
This was on Fox so nobody bothered to point out that the government uses taxpayers’ money to provide food stamps for those who cannot afford food.
Consistency is a virtue.Author : Gary Finnegan