Obama Helping Business?

"I'm from the government..."

Barack Obama's people joined my social network and asked, "How can government help small businesses?"

The answer is obvious - government should do nothing to help any business, large or small.  Businesses prosper by generating value for society.  If a business can't generate value without help, it should shut down.

Microsoft made Mr. Gates $50 billion and made so many other people rich that we speak of "Microsoft millionaires."  They did this by selling software people wanted to buy.  They didn't need government help.  They even survived a government attempt to shut them down.

There is one thing President Obama should do to help all businesses.  He should tell government to get out of the way.  Most businesses spend huge amounts of time supplying information to the government or following regulations even though our Constitution forbids involuntary servitude.

It will be nearly impossible for President Obama to get government out of the way, however, because of human nature.  All bureaucrats want a bigger budget.  The more rules they write, the more rules they can enforce.  The more rules they enforce, the more people they need.  They write rules so they need more people so that they can ask for more money.  It's always for our own good, of course.

Government rules don't have to make sense.  Take the people who check your ID before you get on a plane.  The 9-11 bad guys all got good IDs by bribing clerks at motor vehicle bureaus.

Bad guys had good IDs.  Checking IDs does nothing for security, but it makes jobs for bureaucrats.  They charge airlines to search us, and the airlines pass the fees on.  They get their budget without having to ask Congress every year.  That's bureaucratic heaven!

What if a bad guy gets through?  They'll say that they asked for more money -- which is true -- and they'll promise to fix it if we double their budget.  We know that's what they'll say because that's what schools say when we ask why kids can't read.  When a kid gets beaten to death in foster care, social bureaucrats say they could fix that, too, if we'd double their budget.

"I can do that if you'll double my budget": the bureaucratic mantra.  Writing rules trashes businesses but gives them more money.  How will President Obama fight that?

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

"Microsoft made Mr. Gates $50 billion and made so many other people rich that we speak of "Microsoft millionaires."  They did this by selling software people wanted to buy.  They didn't need government help.  They even survived a government attempt to shut them down."

Well, a monopoly is a perfect way of destructing the total amount of wealth. Bill and his buddies got rich, but all in all we paid for an overpriced piece of software, which was overpriced because there is no choice. Network externalities etc. have long helped to create one dominant player in the market. So if government just stands back and does nothing, you will only have one big company charging monopoly prices, and keeps competitors out of the market. Remember Rockefeller?

September 19, 2007 9:17 AM

Whether mSoft is a monopoly or not is a side issue.  The point is that people *wanted* on some level to buy their product.  No one enjoys buying from a monopoloy, but no one is required to buy Windows software.  The government does not regulated that citizens MUST own Windows software.  And there are plenty of people who choose Apple or Linux or other offerings.

What "total amount of wealth" was destructed?  There are great arguments to the contrary - particularly with mSoft.  mSoft is owned primarily by middle class investors through their retirement portfolios.  Like Walmart, mSoft has created enormous wealth shared by millions.

AND a tremendous amount of competition was created (not to mention multiple side industries) from what mSoft has created over the past several decades.

Keep the government away from the markets, and the country *might* have a chance of keeping small businesses alive and thriving.

September 19, 2007 9:29 AM

During my many Econ courses we learned that the only true monopolies are "government franchise" monopolies.  That means that the typical monopoly is like your cable TV provider with a local franchise agreement.  The only provider available is the one in your area.

The true monopoly is very rare.

Microsoft never was a true monopoly.  It never had 100% market share, and that is becoming more and more true every day.  What Microsoft most likely was involved in is correctly called "anti-competitive practices".  And that is an area of great debate, particularly in the world of computing.

Computing has set the old paradigms on their way out.  Patents are sometimes being used by companies like Adobe to squelch competition.  Many believe that no "patents" should exist for software development, since that, itself becomes vastly too anti-competitive.

Remember for a monopoly to exist there must be only one provider of the good or service. . .that is ONLY ONE!

September 22, 2007 2:04 PM

That said, and I agree that Microsoft is more of an oligopoly than a monopoly, what do you think about the idea that the best way for government to help the economy grow is by getting out of the way?

Do you agree that bureaucracies seek to grow?  Does that match your experience?

September 22, 2007 2:55 PM

There are legitimate monopolies that are operated by more than one company.  A "cartel monopoly" is where several players within an industry fix prices.  Microsoft was certainly not that - everyone else in the industry hates them.  But it does not take "only one" company to run a monopoly.

September 22, 2007 5:26 PM
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