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The Entrepreneur Is on the Ballot

October 13, 2010

The French Cowboy remembers the results of an international survey, conducted not too long ago, that showed that US Americans (still) respect entrepreneurs, and do more so than the other nationalities that were in the survey. To some ears it sounds like a cliché and some probably even resent the notion, but the USA has always been a nation of people who believe in hard work and honest gains, in free capitalist markets and the pursuit of one’s own happiness. The Great Depression didn’t change that, Enron didn’t change that, Lehman Brothers didn’t change that, and Obama’s election didn’t change that either.

In fact, it seems that Obama’s anti-business policies have stirred the pro-business instincts in a wide range of Americans who usually are busy with things other than painting tea bags on pieces of cardboard and meeting with kindred spirits in public areas. For the surge of GOP candidates and pro-conservative sentiment pretty much across the entire nation, Obama has only himself to blame. It’s foolish to impose (and imposition it was) far-left policies on a centre-right electorate. Americans know that decisions made today have the power to make or break the future of the nation. Did Obama think that he can pave the “road to serfdom” and the country will just let him do it?

It’s interesting to look at the current election races from the pro- and anti-business perspective. Most prominently we have Senator Barbara “Ma’am” Boxer challenged by Carly Fiorina in California. Boxer is a super-lefty politician who is so unable to work with the other side of the aisle that she had to be replaced as the leader to prepare the way for a cap-and-trade bill. If you didn’t look too close, you’d think she’s Nancy Pelosi. But then you realise that the only difference between the two women is that one is in the Senate, the other is in the House.

Madame Fiorina on the other hand is a serious conservative candidate who’s worked her way up from secretary to CEO of Hewlett Packard. Her policies are pro-business and conservative even on social issues. Considering that she’s running in California, you would hardly believe she has a chance. But there are three factors that make this race very competitive: 1) Fiorina oozes with competence. She’s a very effective candidate, you’d buy a used car from her. No, you’d buy two. 2) Boxer is getting on everybody’s nerves, with the only exception maybe full-time political activists who agree with her hard-line liberal policies. And 3) Even Californians aren’t happy with the policies of the last two years.

During a debate between Fiorina and Boxer, the latter’s favourite line of attack was to say that Fiorina had been outsourcing jobs from the US when she was the head of HP. So Boxer basically criticised her opponent for having been an effective CEO. How dare she, after all, maximise the profits of the company that hired her to maximise profits. The laudable thing to do would be to sabotage the company from within and work against all economic principles by paying more than necessary for goods and services. What Boxer effectively did was decrying all private business activities for being what they are. To reach the moral standard of Barbara “Ma’am” Boxer you have to spend more than you have, take money from one person and give it to another, be notoriously ineffective and corrupt, and be in a position to make rules that apply to everyone except yourself. In other words, you have to be part of the government.

The Fiorina-Boxer race is a race between pro- and anti-business policies.

The same is true about the race between Republican Linda McMahon and Democrat Richard Blumenthal who are contending over the Senate seat currently held by Christopher “Mortgage Crisis” Dodd (D-Ireland). During a recent debate, Madame McMahon asked her opponent: “Tell me something, how do you create a job?” Monsieur Blumenthal answered thus:

Like Ma’am Boxer, Blumenthal has a tendency to attack his opponent on ground of her business smarts. In attempt to counter McMahon’s pointing out that he had overseas investments in tax havens, Blumenthal answered, “Any investments I have pale in comparison to the example you have set.” The irony is that for a successful business woman as McMahon this retort is actually a compliment. Blumenthal, on the other hand, is a hypocrite for being in favour of high, progressive tax rates while stashing his own capital on the Cayman Islands.

Attacking candidates who have proven their mettle in the private business sector on grounds of their success is not a winning strategy this election cycle, nor do I think is it ever in a pro-entrepreneur nation like the USA.

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