Many descriptors could be used when describing President Obama’s time in office. The Era of Big Government and Big Labor, certainly. The Over-Spending Years or Over-Regulating Years are strong contenders, as well. But how about this one: The Era of Uncertainty.
Now to the many government employees, union workers, and just generally those on the left, uncertainty may not be something one would bother to think anything about. In pursuit of their so-called “greater good” for others, pushing regulation after regulation seems like the right thing to do and can only help.
But look at it through the eyes of a small business owner. Why launch a certain product if it may be regulated, why hire a new employee if he or she will bring more taxes, why expand operations if it may run afoul of some new code (or, worse, conflicting rules between agencies), why purchase an employee health plan if it may soon be outdated?
Those examples are just at a micro level. How about which industry is the government going to bail out/takeover and eliminate competition, which pet big labor rule is going to get passed and eliminate qualified applicants, what else is Congress going to mandate that we purchase?
If you answered “I don’t know” to any of those questions, that is the point!
Small business owners are the job creators that drive our economy. Hiring new people is great: it means that demand or potential demand for more business is worth the investment, the ultimate win-win for the employer and would-be worker. In a free environment, most owners would even be willing to be aggressive in hiring in pursuit of sound expansion. But when the government can change the rules of the game at any moment, the downsides began to stack up.
Even the lefties I mentioned earlier aren’t immune to this. For example just this week it was announced that one of the co-founders of Facebook has renounced his US citizenship ahead of a likely IPO by the company. The reason? He’s about to potentially come into a big payout, and there are other countries to live in that are far more friendlier to business out there. Countries that have realized that they can attract and spur economic growth by stepping back and out of the way, and let job creators and entrepreneurs do what they do best.
The last 4 years have been pretty sad and unfortunate. When the government overreaches and creates too much uncertainty, the best business minds will move on. And the money (and jobs) will follow.