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Are We Crazy? Starting a Business NOW?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Some associates and I have recently invested capital in forming a new bank. I’m not allowed to give out its name or location here, in this column, as commercial promotion is forbidden thanks to the non-profit status of the publisher – an annoying little oddity, given that I’m writing in defense of capitalism.

But, to the point. A Business Week article from Dec. 22 was headlined “This May Be the Ideal Time to Start A Bank.” We agree, or they agree with us. Specific to banking, a start-up with no toxic assets and sufficient capital can borrow cheaply, and can be well-positioned to be acquired at a nifty gain when the recession dissipates and recovery takes over. That’s our strategy and we’re stickin’ to it.

But there’s an even bigger point here…

Right now – this day, in this economy – there are countless entrepreneurs starting ventures and countless investors risking money to fund and finance them. New jobs – even new types of jobs – are being created solely by their bold optimism. But you would never imagine it if all you did was watch, listen to and read mainstream news. 

Sure, if you read Business Week, you saw the aforementioned article and maybe went “Hmmm.” If you read Forbes, you saw Rich Karlgard’s story on the guys with a U.S. manufacturing company building a new kind of private jet who just raised over $50-million in new capital from their own customers. If you read business media, you can sight lots and lots of these new blades of grass pushing through snow, of rays of sunlight behind clouds, of courageous optimism, innovation and investment.

These stories are not about Obama and his minions, nor the running up of trillions of fresh federal debt, nor bail-outs and hand-outs and all the unchecked thievery accompanying it. They are about the only people who can really rescue the economy: entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs best left the hell alone, without government nitwits meddling in their industries, telling them what kind of light bulbs they must use in their factories and giving bail-outs to failed and failing competitors in their way.

The millions of people – including those who perpetually buy politicians’ nonsense that they can give us prosperity or health care or whatever – who never read business media never see or hear about these stories. They are left with the mainstream media-promoted picture of the U.S. as a moribund place in total economic collapse. They receive nothing but bad news, and with more gloom and doom on its horizon, they’re told the only conceivable salvation is to jettison of capitalism in favor of socialism.

So they’re prepared for the invasion of government equity snatchers and the massive new regulation of every business from corner store to giant manufacturer. They’re not shocked when the government doles out trillions in bail-outs, for bridge building, for computerizing medical records, or – as recently requested by its mayor – for driving prostitutes out of downtown Dayton, Ohio. The millions who never read business media and rely on Katie or Brian or Wolf or – worse – Jon Stewart for their news are being lied to by grand omission, driven to paralysis and despair, convinced that only a benevolent, socialist bureaucracy can save them. Gee, and we bemoan the lack of consumer confidence.

Fortunately, even while The Big Media is telling The Big Lie, every day guys are designing and building new airplanes, investors are starting new banks, “mom ‘n pops” are opening new restaurants and stores and entrepreneurs are bringing new products to market in droves and droves. Fortunately for everybody, these folks read the business media and pretty much ignore Katie, Brian, Wolf, Jon et al. 

By the way, I and some associate also launched a new company franchising upscale men’s barber shops late last year, with instant success. (I can’t give it a commercial here either. But if you Google my name…)

Are we crazy, starting new businesses?  No, the mainstream media is mentally ill in refusing to tell this story of the resurgent, resilient new, next American economy fueled by the American can-do, will-do, self-reliant sprit. We are the sane ones.

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