The Government’s War on the Little Guy

Government war on the little guyby John Stossel –
Marty the Magician performed magic tricks for kids, including the traditional rabbit-out-of-a-hat. Then one day: “I was signing autographs and taking pictures with children and their parents,” he told me. “Suddenly, a badge was thrown into the mix, and an inspector said, ‘Let me see your license.'”

In “Harry Potter” books, a creepy Ministry of Magic controls young wizards. Now in the USA, government regulates stage magicians—one of the countless ways it makes life harder for the little guy.

Marty’s torment didn’t end with a demand for his license. “She said, from now on, you cannot use your rabbit until you fill out paperwork, pay the $40 license fee. We’ll have to inspect your home.”

Ten times since, regulators showed up unannounced at Marty’s house. At one point, an inspector he hadn’t seen before appeared. He hoped things had changed for the better. [Read more…]

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Cronyism Undermines the Beneficial Role of Business in Society

Cronyism Undermines Capitalism and Free Markets by Sam Patterson –
The role that business plays in society is straightforward – businesses produce goods and services that people consider beneficial. If a business can do that while wisely using resources, it makes a profit. Successful businesses benefit society by producing goods or services which improve people’s lives, and are then rewarded with profit. Those profits enable businesses to innovate or offer more goods and services, further improving people’s lives. Businesses must cater to the needs of society or they will find that they are not rewarded with profit and may well no longer exist.

At least, that’s how it works in a free market. There is another path for businesses to make profit other than providing valuable products. It’s called cronyism. Cronyism occurs when a business colludes with government officials to create unfair legislation and/or regulations which give them benefits they could not have otherwise obtained voluntarily. [Read more…]

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Superpower Role Reversal And The Flat Tax Miracle

Russia Flat Tax Capitalism Freedomby Jeff Haden –
While the U.S. punishes millionaires, Russia and China reward them. In the upside-down era of Barack Obama, the capitalists act like communists and the communists act like capitalists.

Our multimillionaire president frowns on “millionaires and billionaires” and soaks them with higher taxes. But Russia loves them and even offers refugees of high-tax countries asylum.

Last week, the Kremlin, once headquarters of the Evil Empire, granted millionaire French actor Gerard Depardieu Russian citizenship so he can avail himself of Russia’s 13% flat tax and avoid his home country’s proposed new 75% supertax on millionaires. [Read more…]

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Five Myths About Free Enterprise

Free Enterprise Free-Markets Ethical Capitalism by Arthur Brooks –
The 2012 presidential campaign is shaping up to be a battle of two economic philosophies. One favors a greater redistributive and regulatory role for the government; the other prioritizes the values of free enterprise, including private property, individual liberty and limited government. Given the economic hardships the United States has endured in recent years, it is tempting to conclude that free markets are no longer best for us — but that would misread our history, and buy into myths about the impact of free enterprise.

1. Free enterprise hurts the poor.
The Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 and plenty of politicians would have us believe that the free-market system is a contest between the ultra-rich and everyone else (the “99 percent”). But in fact, there never has been a greater force for helping the poor than free enterprise. [Read more…]

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Economy Is Tanking; Why Are Markets Up?

Markets Up Mitt Romney Responsible by Chris Banescu –
The latest economic data released Thursday confirms what all Americans, especially business owners, already knew.  Economic growth has slowed down to a measly 1.5% (from 2% the previous quarter), job growth continues to languish with nationwide unemployment at a dismal 8.2%, consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest level this year, and consumer spending is also tanking.  Household purchases, which represent approximately 70% of GDP, grew at the slowest pace in a year.  Recent surveys show that Americans have lost approximately 40% of their net worth in the last few years, and poverty rates are reaching levels not seen in this country since the 1960s.

So, why are the markets up?  [Read more…]

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Seven Reasons Why Venture Capitalists Will Hate Your Idea

Entrepreneurship Venture Capitalists by Josh Linkner –
Having witnessed thousands of entrepreneurial pitches as a venture capitalist, I’ve seen the gamut from the good, the bad and the ugly. Of the pitches any VC sees, very few will actually receive funding; there are a lot of factors in that equation, so even for those companies that might be appealing, terms, location, market share, traction and other hurdles sometimes get in the way of signing a check.

However, you’ve got no shot at funding if your potential venture capitalist flat-out hates your idea. If your “next great” idea has any of the following characteristics, there’s a solid chance a VC isn’t going to dig it. [Read more…]

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When Is It Time to Throw in the Towel?

Time to Throw in the Towel by Chris Banescu –
This is an interesting perspective from veteran entrepreneur and Inc. magazine columnist Norm Brodsky. Most entrepreneurs are independent, visionary, and courageous spirits driven to work had and achieve success regardless of personal sacrifices and risks. However, there are situations in which no matter how hard we work we may need to throw in the towel and chose to pursue a different venture or path; while still taking away critical lessons and experiences that can be invaluable.

Passion, vision, and drive are important attributes of all entrepreneurs, but so is pragmatism. Sometimes walking away from an unprofitable business or problematic venture is the best solution in the greater scheme of things. Luckily, the lessons learned and knowledge gained from such situations will be useful in future business or other entrepreneurial endeavors. [Read more…]

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How to Create a Job: Creating Value, Not Just Work

How to Create a Job: Creating Value, Not Just Work Capitalism Economic FreedomWith unemployment still above 9 percent, Americans are searching for answers that will lead to quality, lasting jobs. Past failures of jobs programs show that addressing the symptom instead of the disease has yet to lead to real job growth.

Instead of talking about jobs programs, what needs to be discussed is how to provide the right environment for growth: economic freedom. Watch this video to learn more. [Read more…]

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How China Transformed Its Economy

China Embraces Capitalism China Capitalist by James E. Miller –
In a recent National Public Radio report, the real story behind the monumental land reforms which transformed the communist dystopia of China into a productive powerhouse was revealed.

In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China’s economy in ways that are still reverberating today.

The contract was so risky – and such a big deal – because it was created at the height of communism in China. Everyone worked on the village’s collective farm; there was no personal property.

In Xiaogang there was never enough food, and the farmers often had to go to other villages to beg. Their children were going hungry. They were desperate. So, in the winter of 1978, after another terrible harvest, they came up with an idea: Rather than farm as a collective, each family would get to farm its own plot of land. If a family grew a lot of food, that family could keep some of the harvest.

[Read more…]

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Job Creation Is No Mystery

Job Creation Business Economy Not Government by Tom McClintock –
The government’s continuing failure to address our nation’s gut-wrenching unemployment stems from a fundamental disagreement over how jobs are created in the first place.

We are now in the third year of policies predicated on the assumption that government spending creates jobs.

We have squandered three years and trillions of dollars of the nation’s wealth on such policies, and they have not worked because they cannot work.

Government cannot inject a single dollar into the economy until it has first taken that same dollar out of the economy. [Read more…]

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Fatal Flaws of Keynesian Economics

Keynesian Economics Failureby Ron Ross –
It’s now clear that the federal government’s massive stimulus spending has not achieved its objectives. Why hasn’t it? It’s important that we have answers to that question.

The stimulus was premised on the economic model known as Keynesianism: the intellectual legacy of the late English economist John Maynard Keynes. Keynesianism doesn’t work, never has worked, and never will work. Without a clear understanding of why Keynesianism cannot work we will be forever doomed to pursuing the impossible.

There’s no real mystery about why Keynesianism fails. There are numerous reasons why and they’ve been known for decades. Keynesians have an unrealistic and unsupportable view of how the economy works and how people make decisions. [Read more…]

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Good News! American Workers Are Giving Up

by Jeffrey Folks –
On Friday, the president wasted no time informing the country that unemployment rates had dropped from 9.8% to 9.4%. That sounds pretty good until you dig into the underlying numbers. Then it sounds dire.

Despite expectations that the U.S. would add 170,000 new jobs, only 100,000 were added in December. And yet the unemployment rate fell by 0.4%, a feat that would normally require the addition of up to 750,000 new jobs. How could the rate fall so dramatically with job gains of only 100,000? [Read more…]

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8 Ways to Foster Innovation in Your Company

Foster Innovation

Creativity fosters innovation, but how can you ignite creative sparks within your organization? Inc.com compiled lessons on developing a vibrant research and development strategy.

To come up with their best new ideas, most companies turn to an inexpensive and efficient source of innovation: their own employees. How can you unleash the creative spirit lurking in your workforce? Here are eight of the best strategies we’ve uncovered in recent months.

1. Let Every Employee Play Designer.
Three years ago, the five-person research and development team at pet-accessory company West Paw Design had a case of collective writer’s block. A production manager named Seth Partain proposed holding a contest for the company’s three-dozen employees. Everyone from salespeople to seamstresses were encouraged to spend an afternoon designing and producing prototypes for new products. Following an end-of-day vote, a winner was crowned at an award ceremony. By making employees feel a part of the idea-creation process, West Paw Design set up a new pipeline of product development. [Read more…]

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How Washington Continues to Ignore Small Businesses

When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was enacted by Congress in February of 2009, a mere 0.899% of the funds were directed toward helping Small Businesses. Despite the fact that the Small Business sector employs over 50% of the American population, Big Business and Wall Street got most of the attention from our government during the “Great Recession” (and continues to do so).


[Read more…]

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The Social Network

The Crisis of Ethics in America
10/8/2010 – Chuck Colson –
Even before the critically acclaimed film The Social Network opened in theaters, there was one big financial winner: Newark, New Jersey’s public schools.

While critics were screening the movie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to the struggling school system. Not only that, he made the announcement on Oprah.

Apparently, Zuckerberg was looking for a little bit of good PR. He’s concerned that people who see the film may question his personal ethics. The more important concern ought to be, however, what the film says about business ethics in our culture. [Read more…]

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The Obama Recovery

Obama Recession8/23/2010 – Jeffrey Folks –

During the same week in which the president was vacationing in a $50,000-per-night home in Martha’s Vineyard, half a million Americans were standing in line, waiting their turn to apply for unemployment benefits. Those benefits are about $400 a week, not enough to put food on the table, pay the mortgage and car payments, and cover medical and other expenses. Not only that, but they run out (or used to) at 26 weeks. Even with Congress’s election-year largesse, which has tacked on an additional 73 weeks, unemployment benefits must run out at some point. More and more Americans — those who have begun calling themselves the 99ers — are now arriving at that point. [Read more…]

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Economy Needs Heart Transplant, Obama Offering Band-Aid

Economy Needs Heart Transplant Not Band-AidAmerica’s economic situation needs an emergency heart transplant, but Obama and the Democrats keep offering band-aids instead. We need a major change in government economic, tax, and fiscal policies not more government bailouts. Yet the president is doing nothing to reverse the enormous uncertainty fostered by his own administration’s aggressive anti-business and pro high-tax initiatives and rhetoric.

In the latest indication that our president has no clue why businesses are struggling and unwilling to hire, Obama is trying to force through another $30 billion government bailout program to “help banks boost lending to small businesses.” Unfortunately, it’s not the lack of available funds that are stopping businesses from expanding and generating new jobs. It’s the massive economic uncertainty and instability created by misguided government mandates (especially the oppressive regulations of ObamaCare), coupled with the massive tax increases coming in January 2011, that have spooked companies and forced them into defensive economic positions. [Read more…]

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Finding John Galt

John Galt8/16/2010 – Henry Oliner –

John Galt is the mysterious hero lurking in the background in Ayn Rand’s infamous novel, Atlas Shrugged. He is the industrialist who went into hiding and led a strike of producers fed up with the physical and moral encroachment from a government of moral supremacists who rationalized theft with childish notions of fairness but no conception of the actual production of wealth. That synopsis should also explain why Atlas Shrugged, first published in 1957, is having a very strong resurgence in popularity.

I meet with two different groups of independent business owners focused in the southeast and their perception of current business conditions is almost unanimous. They are angry. They face conflicting and unclear regulations, and a near certainty of increasing taxes . They are impatient. Many are not profitable and are unable and unwilling to tolerate customers who cannot pay, employees who do not think, banks without judgment, and a government that despises their efforts to create wealth and jobs. [Read more…]

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Ronald Reagan: Whatever Happened to Free Enterprise?

President Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan

From the archived pages of Imprimis, the monthly speech digest of Hillsdale College, President Ronald Reagan reminds us that economic freedom is an absolute necessity not only for political freedom, but for all freedom. That freedom must be fought for and protected in every generation. That the business community must join this fight and not remain passive.

“It all comes down to this basic premise: if you lose your economic freedom, you lose your political freedom and in fact all freedom. Freedom is something that cannot be passed on genetically. It is never more than one generation away from extinction. Every generation has to learn how to protect and defend it. Once freedom is gone, it’s gone for a long, long time. Already, too many of us, particularly those in business and industry, have chosen to switch rather than fight.”

President Reagan clearly understood that government action is the biggest threat to our economic freedom and personal freedom. He correctly identified the government as the problem, not the solution: [Read more…]

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The Worst of Both Worlds

7/24/2010 – Henry Oliner –

Karl Marx understood that capitalism is intrinsically productive but saw an inherent unfairness in any value other than that provided by labor. Marx also understood that individual incentives to produce would inevitably lead to overproduction and painful contractions. To avoid these contractions and their impact on labor costs, he believed the proletariat should, and inevitably would, exercise control over the means of production. Some true believers insist that he sought a utopian ideal rather than an authoritarian state, but the control of production by the state became essential to their objective. [Read more…]

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Steve Wynn: No Common Sense in Washington

Steve Wynn
Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn, the American entrepreneur and casino resort/real-estate developer, was recently interviewed by CNBC for the opening of his new Encore Beach Club in Las Vegas. During the questions and answers session with the correspondent, the billionaire business owner addressed some of the most serious problems American companies face and the incompetent manner in which politicians in Washington, DC are handling the economic situation and the unpredictable manner in which they continue to aggressively punish US businesses.

In the interview Wynn talks about the lack of common sense that has disappeared in Washington and the completely out-of-control spending that is fueling the massive national debt:

“It’s common sense that’s disappeared in Washington DC. It’s common sense that’s disappeared in the years of 7 and 8 in America. We’re inheriting the awful results, both in our government … of wild, uncontrolled spending, unbelievable, unsustainable debt.

And yet, here we are, doing it again, $20 billion a month to the FHA. On top of what happens to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’re doing it again today for $20 billion a month! We’re destroying the housing market, again; under the name of a stimulus, phony misrepresented names.”

[Read more…]

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Free to Choose

6/9/2010 – John Stossel –

America’s current struggles notwithstanding, life here is pretty good. We have a standard of living that’s the envy of most of the world.

Why did that happen? Prosperity isn’t the norm. Throughout history and throughout the world, poverty has been the norm. Most of the world still lives in dire poverty. Of the 6 billion people on earth, perhaps 1 billion have something close to our standard of living.

Why did America prosper when most of the people of the world are still poor? [Read more…]

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How to Cripple the Free Economy

Socialist Policies Undermine American Economic Prosperity

The socialist policies implemented by the Obama administration and the Democrat leadership undermine America’s economic prosperity and prolong the misery for millions of companies and workers. Despite passing multi-trillion dollar government tax and spend initiatives, numerous bailouts of failed businesses, and repeated extensions of government benefits, Americans are suffering and the economy is languishing. Nationwide the unemployment rate has risen to 9.9%, while mortgage defaults and foreclosure rates have surged to record numbers.

Even with the tens of billions of dollars Congress has spent on preventing consumer mortgage defaults and home foreclosures, things have not improved much. How could they? Such government bailout measures are temporary band-aids that fail to address the structural problems our economy faces. They only delay the inevitable and push the problem further down the road. It doesn’t matter that house payments are now lower and the government has picked up the tab for a few months. If Americans cannot find a job or raise the capital to start a business they won’t have the money to pay even reduced mortgage payments. [Read more…]

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The Failure of the Unfree Market

5/11/2010 – Randall Hoven –
What we have here is the failure of the unfree market. That means the failure of Greece. And the other PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain). And Europe. And it means the U.S., too. It even includes the Great Recession. The modern welfare state is collapsing around us.

If you had believed in the 72-Year Rule, you would have seen this coming. The 72-Year Rule says the lifetime of any social order or governing paradigm is about 72 years. For example, how long was it from the adoption of our original Constitution (1789), which sanctioned slavery, to the Civil War (1861)? Call it 72 years. And from then until the New Deal in 1933? Another 72 years. How about from the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) to the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)? That would be 72 years again. [Read more…]

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