Politicians vs. entrepreneurs

Victor Joecks

A great, great post from Burt Folsom on the differences between government officials and private businessman and the noble work entrepreneurs do for society.

Second, entrepreneurs have improved the quality of life for almost everyone in the world. Life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years in 1900, and is about 30 years more than that today. If you are over 47, thank an entrepreneur. Because of inventions and good marketing, fresh food from all parts of the world is in supermarkets at affordable prices. Profits from making insulin gave researchers the means to improve treatments that have extended the lives of diabetics. Polio, smallpox, and tuberculosis have been almost completely eradicated in many countries in the last century. Willis Carrier took the risks to develop air-conditioning; Chester Carlson persevered to make copy machines. Steve Jobs is the gift that keeps on giving. These men make it easier for us to fulfill the dreams our fathers had for us. Community organizers, by contrast, live by taking tax dollars from others to redistribute to themselves and those in their community. Such activity shifts jobs from the creators of wealth to those want other people’s cash.

Third, careers in business almost always require integrity to succeed. If people can’t trust entrepreneurs, they won’t buy what businessmen are selling. In politics, by contrast, politicians can promise goodies to many, and then try to tax the few in order to deliver those goodies. The politician can win votes by gifts to voters that suck capital from the entrepreneurs and household money from the middle class. The politician wins, but society often loses.

Want another difference between politicians and entrepreneurs? How many politicians have gone a year without pay? Let me take an educated guess: zero. How many small business owners have? Twenty-three percent.

[A] new survey by Citigroup shows that 23% of small business owners have gone more than a year without pay. The study also says that 54% of them have gone without at least one paycheck; 38% of them said their employees had worked overtime without being compensated; and 18% of them had been unable to make a paycheck for their employees at least once.

During recent years, 78% of the owners have taken less profit, 70% have been working more hours, and 69% have used their own funds in order to keep their businesses afloat.

Entrepreneurs do noble work that greatly benefits society as a whole, and many of them do it without any immediate payoff. They should be applauded and appreciated, not taxed into oblivion.