The tide has not changed

Midterms changed some seats, but not the public perception that government will lead us out of the recession. It won't. Small business can, if government gets out of its way.

Eloy Alonso / Reuters / File
In this 2009 file photo, a wave crashes over a lighthouse in Viavelez, Spain. The winds and waves of change pounded on election night, but the sea remains the same: Americans continue to believe that government is the solution. Until the government can step aside and let small business lead the economy out of this recession, as it has for every other American recession, government is the problem, and rearranging the names won't help.

While some may say that the results of the election this week are the start of a fundamental change, I am not so sure.

The back and forth of power between the two major parties are like waves on a beach. While each wave gives the illusion of change as it drives the water in and out, the level of the sea changes ever so slowly with the ebb and flow of the tides.

The wave that was this year's election was certainly a large one that crashed loudly onto the beach.

But real change will only come when the American people, and those who we elect to govern, make real fundamental change.

Each wave in the political back and forth is based on the debate of what government can do to steer our economy. The core of both parties still hold on to the premise that it is government action that solves all problems.

But when it comes to re-inventing our economy, we need entrepreneurs to lead the way, not government.

Until the public debate shifts away from what government can do to what the role of government should actually be in our economy, the tide that is economic public policy will not change.

The data from studies conducted in economies around the globe is clear. Entrepreneurs flourish when they have economic liberty. The tax and regulatory burden entrepreneurs face are holding them back.

We have seen glimmers of what entrepreneurs can do if only we let them. The latest Intuit Small Business Employment Index shows that we had some very small improvement in October. But any gains in small business employment are still not enough to offset total job loss in the economy.

We need entrepreneurs not only to add incremental jobs, but also to help shape the future of our economy. There is no indication that this will happen any time soon. Small business owners are still very cautious and aspiring entrepreneurs are still reticent to pull the trigger and pursue their dreams.

Until we as a society are ready to change the premise of our public policy -- that government will figure it all out if we just finally choose the right side of the political debate at the right time -- the tide will not change.

It has been entrepreneurs who have led us out of every past recession. Until we have the resolve to make a fundamental change in our understanding of the limitations of government and get out of the way of entrepreneurs, we cannot expect to see much progress in reviving and re-inventing our economy.

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