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November 2, 2016

Hillary Is No Friend of Small Business

She claims to want to invest, but she means to add burdens.

“People who create things nowadays can expect to be prosecuted by highly moralistic people who are incapable of creating anything. There is no way to measure the chilling effect on innovation that results from the threats of taxation, regulation and prosecution against anything that succeeds. We’ll never know how many ideas our government has aborted in the name protecting us.” —Joseph Sobran

In an effort to distract from her core anti-free market ideology, Hillary Clinton threw a proverbial bone to American small business owners during the debates. Speaking in the first debate, the Queen of Pay-to-Play said, “I want us to invest in you. I want us to invest in your future. That means jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business. We also have to make the economy fairer. That starts with raising the national minimum wage and also guarantee, finally, equal pay for women’s work.”

Clinton, who has spent her entire adult life in government, is so bereft of understanding regarding the fundamental tenets of the free market that she likely didn’t understand the contradictory clauses in her statement. Or she did, which is even worse.

First, government does not “invest.” Investing requires capital, and in a free market, capital is owned by individuals and businesses. Government does not have a single penny that it does not first confiscate from a private individual who earned it. And when Hillary talks about making the economy “fairer,” she means she wants government to pick winners and losers. Of course, there has to be some kind of system by which winners and losers are determined — like maybe, who donates to the Clinton Foundation?

In a true free market, the winners are those that are best able to allocate scarce resources in the most efficient way in order to meet the demands of the market. Those that innovate, who create goods and services that people want, are the ones who succeed. Those who are inefficient, wasteful, or who don’t recognize what the market wants, are the ones who fail.

Unless they have friends in government.

For decades, we have lived not so much in a free market as a quasi-capitalist/corporate socialism hybrid where small businesses and major corporations operate under different rules. Small businesses innovate, risk capital, and work tirelessly to bring new goods and services to the market, all while being forced to navigate through literally tens of thousands of pages of federal regulations, a byzantine tax code, and the heaviest tax burden in the industrialized world.

Big Business, on the other hand, can afford an army of lawyers and lobbyists to manipulate the system for their benefit. They can buy off politicians who in turn write special exemptions into the tax and regulatory code for them, and then the same politicians hypocritically rail against the exemptions they wrote, demanding an end to these “loopholes.” Small businesses, which create nearly two-thirds of all new jobs in America, and which account for nearly half of all private GDP growth, do not have that luxury, and find themselves crushed under the weight of government bureaucracy.

In the second debate, Hillary had the audacity to say, “We’ve got to provide some additional help to small businesses so that they can afford to provide health insurance.” Clinton has been a champion (godmother, even) of ObamaCare, which is a massive regulatory takeover of the U.S. health care system. Rather than “bend the cost curve down” as Barack Obama promised, it has caused premiums and deductibles to skyrocket, and millions of Americans lost their health insurance. Furthermore, it has forced small business owners across the country to freeze or reduce hiring, cut hours, and shift workers to part-time in order to avoid the more onerous, back-breaking provisions of the health care law.

In the third debate, Hillary claimed that she wants “to do more to help small business” but then, literally in the next sentence, said she wants to raise the minimum wage, which is nothing more than an additional tax on businesses, the levying of which raises their labor costs and reduces profitability, and even drives some businesses out of business altogether.

According to the 2016 Small Business and Priorities Survey, “unreasonable government regulations” is the second biggest worry of small business owners in America. The first? Rising health care costs.

Both of these are a direct result of the very kind of government interference in (or a takeover of) the free market that Clinton advocates. ObamaCare has crippled the health care market, driving up costs and increasing complexity. Likewise, the Obama administration has implemented, since Obama took the oath of office, a staggering 229 new “major” rules (rules expected to cost businesses and individuals at least $100 million in direct compliance costs), for a total of $107.7 billion in new regulatory costs.

That doesn’t even include the massive amount of new indirect costs, in the form of millions of man-hours to fill out federal compliance reports and forms, or the hiring of lawyers and accountants to make sure they don’t end up in jail for accidentally violating some arcane rule. There is also the hidden cost of the distortion this does to business planning, forcing companies to make decisions not based on what is best for the shareholders or employees, or what will sell best, but rather, what will keep them out of the crosshairs of government bureaucrats who often act arbitrarily and vindictively.

Frederick Douglass, the famous freed slave, abolitionist and orator, once declared, “Everybody has asked the question… ‘What shall be done with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!”

The same, we dare say, should be applied to the free market. End burdensome taxation and slash regulations to only those absolutely necessary to protect the public from harm, a course which has shown immediate benefits. And then keep government out of it, and let businesses thrive or crumble according to their entrepreneurialism and market demands. Government meddling has caused almost nothing but mischief.

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