Terry Paulson

America used to celebrate the success of entrepreneurs and business leaders who contributed to this country's mighty free enterprise track record. Now, we're more likely to demonize them as greedy for earning the rewards they worked for. Hollywood is more likely to depict them as a politically correct enemy than a hero. When successful business leaders run for office, many criticize them for making wise business decisions that cost American jobs but ensured their companies' survival.

But the fact remains that America has many proven business leaders actually running for Congress and positions of power in this November election. They've had enough of an inexperienced president who has surrounded himself with advisors who are deep in theory but lacking in actual business experience. It's time we elect these business leaders to help right our ship during these turbulent economic times. But to do so, it's clear that many Americans need a basic primer on how free-enterprise business works.

There's no clearer statement than was provided by this week's Connecticut Senate race debate between Dick Blumenthal and Linda McMahon. After listening to Dick Blumenthal's rambling response on how government must stimulate the economy to create jobs, Linda McMahon provided a simple, informed reply: "Government, government, government. Government does not create jobs. It's very simple how you create jobs. An entrepreneur takes risk. He or she believes that they create a good or service that is sold for more than it costs to create it. If an entrepreneur thinks he can do that he creates a job."

When government makes regulations and passes programs that increase the costs entrepreneurs face while keeping taxes high on the rewards that they earn, the chances of success are decreased and the risks of loss are increased. As a result, jobs are not created and more tax revenue is lost. How do entrepreneurs respond? They wait for better conditions or take their ideas and their capital to countries where their business is encouraged and their rewards are greater.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini made the same point at the August Technology Policy Institute's Aspen Forum, "I can tell you definitively that it costs $1 billion more per factory for me to build, equip, and operate a semiconductor manufacturing facility in the United States." If politicians continue to make decisions "the wrong way, people will not invest in the United States. They'll invest elsewhere."

In a free enterprise system, a company's mission is to make money for investors by serving a customer willing to pay more than what it costs to provide their product or service. In doing so, a company continues to exist and to hire and reward workers, leaders and owners. If a company fails to add value, to serve and to make a profit, it goes out of business.

That is unless it is deemed "too big to fail" by politicians who can use money taken from taxpayers so that an unsustainable business plan is allowed to continue. By micromanaging the economy, money is taken from taxpayers-money that could be used to fund new businesses better positioned to take advantage of future opportunities. Saving companies and jobs that should have gone away is not the pathway to greatness, but to stagnation and ruin. America's economic preeminence is not a given; it must be earned and reearned every year.

Years ago, Lee Kuan Yew, known as the "Father of modern Singapore," made some eye-opening observations about the global economy and America's future: "I see a very troubling and at the same time exciting new world in which international boundaries can be penetrated without difficulty. The flow of information, of capital cannot be stopped. ... Whether we like it or not, technology has made this one world market for labor. Jobs can leapfrog boundaries. But good minds in the world will command very high salaries, very high fees. In the same way, jobs at lower end of the scale can also transferred across the globe, and will be. And so, whether Americans like it or not, whether Singaporeans like it or not, our lower-end jobs are going to be taken over by our neighbors because they will be able to do these jobs for one-half, sometimes one-quarter the price.... There's no use perceiving this as a threat because it's going to happen. So it's got to be seized as an opportunity."

In November, you have the ability to elect politicians who will encourage free-enterprise incentives, innovative entrepreneurship, and the American Dream. Instead of promoting more government dependence, we need politicians who'll challenge American leaders and workers to reposition and retool for a new age. Together we can still help make these the "new good old days" for America.

The DailyNews Los Angeles, in endorsing Carly Fiorina, put it bluntly: "One of Boxer's main attacks on Fiorina has been that she cut thousands of jobs as CEO at HP, implying Fiorina only knows how to destroy jobs, rather than create them. In the long run, preserving the business preserves jobs. As any business person knows, a bankrupt company doesn't equal any jobs at all."

If you don't vote for leaders who will focus on business growth and job creation, you deserve what you'll get-an anemic recovery, continued unemployment woes, and more government debt. Don't get distracted by the personal attacks that will monopolize the media in the final weeks. Think clearly about what is best for America's future before you cast your ballot.


Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

 
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