Business fears coming years

November 6th, 2008 by Ken

(The following story was posted on the Washington Information Network WIN and written by Jan Teague, president of the Washington Retail Association.)

There was a flurry of e-mails on Wednesday on what it means to have the Democrats run the country.  The word “fear”  comes to mind for anyone who is in business.

What is very hard to discern is how many business owners were hourly workers in the past and have had the courage and strong work ethic to start a business and actually survive.

Is their survival questionable now?

That is the big fear.  As soon as the new policies start to impact wallets, there will be those who say they simply can’t risk all they have accomplished.  they will close their businesses before all of their hard-earned profits are gone.

I predict, that if the Democrats move too quickly at the state and federal levels, many small businesses will simply fold.  It won’t be because they weren’t successful, it will be that they didn’t want to do whatever was being proposed.

They won’t want to pay and pay and pay for all the new fees, requirements and taxes.

I read a story Wednesday by Dick Davis, who writes on taxes and economic development issues.  He advocates for policies that encourage new businesses to locate in the state.   But the point now is how to keep those businesses we already have.

Cities and counties attend annual conferences every year trying to figure out how to attract businesses to their area and those conferences always draw a strong audience.

But, I suspect, that economic development in future years will be about government projects and not private business growth.

The fear factor raised its head during a teleconference I participated in this week with members of the Food Marketing Institute.  John Motley, FMI’s senior vice president of Government and Public Affairs, predicted possible negative business impacts from tax reforms expected from the Democrat-controlled Congress.

Other challenges could result from a rising minimum wage, and proposals to increase the number of guaranteed sick days available to employees, Motley said.

The new leadership believes that government has the answer to economic problems.  As our country goes down this path with government growth funding more and more jobs, it will be increasingly difficult for the private sector to squeeze itself into the economy in any meaningful degree.

Take health care as an example.  if it were run by government it would represent over 50 percent of the gross domestic product.  Take any other industry – – home loans for example.  If government becomes the lender, how will others in the private sector compete?

So, is there fear?  Yes, and I think the fear is very deep.  It is about basic freedoms being changed for those who have a business.  It is about having fewer job opportunities – – unless you want to work for government.

It seems to me that one of the most important things that all of our small businesses can do is to educate our newly-elected leaders on how difficult it is to be in business and what it is that each of you do to support your community and employ people.

Otherwise, there could be a quick exit of small businesses from the market and a very quick growth of government jobs.

Posted in Business, Government, The Real News

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