Suddenly, after years of neglect, the press and politicians
are all talking about small business.
when “Joe the Plumber” raised an obvious question: why should we expand our
businesses, to create the jobs for which the politicians are now desperate, if
we are going to be taxed more if we do?
The cash crisis has forced politicians to confront an unpleasant
truth: they need us more than we need them.
Of course, they always did, but now their need is urgent: small
business is the motor that can drag them out of the mud with which they
have covered themselves.
However, having neglected us for so long, they have no idea
what we really need now that they want to be our new best friends.
Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK, suggested a giant
European fund for small business. Bureaucrats giving taxpayers’ money to their
friends, and to those who fill in the right forms, is exactly what we do not
The opposition Conservatives are just as clueless: delaying
payment of the taxes we owe misses the point, which is that we must still find the
money to pay taxes which are too high.
Lord Mandelson, Britain’s new Secretary of State, shows
greater understanding by trying to stop the banks – in which the government now
has a substantial stake – imposing unfair terms on small business. If he can do
that, it will be something – but we are not holding our breath...
If government really wants to help free enterprise – which
means helping free enterprise to help government – it must remove the burdens
government itself has imposed on us, the excessive taxes, the unnecessary
restrictions, the constant hassle of dealing with bureaucracy, and the huge
costs of compliance with regulations.
Politicians with the courage to do that will unleash a
productive force beyond their imagination.