Whenever I talk to groups of entrepreneurs these days I have noticed that their anger and frustration is growing.
They are angry that their taxes will going up even higher to pay for growing social programs when they are barely able to make ends meet. Many are actually favor government help when needed, but see the direction we are headed as being beyond creating a social safety net to one that is now creating socialism on a broad scale. They do not see how it will make sense to own a business when income tax rates go up 10-15% to pay for healthcare and new taxes such as the VAT tax and energy tax created by Cap and Trade are layered on top.
They are angry that regulation is back in style and its broad brush is beginning to hit them hard. Many fear there thin profit margins will vanish under the weight of regulatory costs.
They are frustrated that corporate welfare has a new name -- bailouts for those too big to fail.
They are frustrated that nobody seems to listen to what they need to get their businesses back on track. They see corporations march their armies of lobbyists to D.C. to curry favor with politicians to ensure their economic stability, while they have to make it alone in the free market.
It is amazing how apolitical many of these audiences really are. Many in the room voted for Obama, but almost none of them are happy where things are headed.
The Tea Party movement seems to be capturing the attention of small business owners who want a voice. Again, these include those we would traditionally call liberal and those who have traditionally been labeled conservative.
A new poll by from SmartBrief seems to affirm the fit between the Tea Party agenda and the needs of small business. Of those surveyed, 57% see the Tea Party platform as being good for small business, while only 23% see it as bad for small business.
A post at the blog Prost Productions interprets the results this way:
Why are so many entrepreneurs drinking from this particular cup of tea? I think it's largely a loss of faith in the current leadership of both parties, who are falling all over themselves to "help" their core constituencies with lavish, expensive government programs....
Government is about strings; entrepreneurs are about bootstraps. If they really want to help us, they need cut the strings and get out of the way so we can do our thing.
In its rhetoric, at least, the Tea Party movement seems to get it. Tea Party candidates promise to restore fiscal discipline, and entrepreneurs listen. Washington promises to help us, and entrepreneurs shrug.
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