Business, Capitalism and Election '06
1. The curbing of civil liberties infringement in the name of anti-terrorism. One of the possible positive outcomes of these elections is that the now-split government in Washington will either roll back or at least curb the last few years' intrusions into privacy and civil liberties. The Bush administration, in the name of the War on Terror, created broad powers to pry into electronic communications, banking and other areas in which U.S. citizens typically expected privacy. The American Left, for all of its flaws, at least tends to value some issues of privacy, and is leary of Big Brother. Hopefully, the new Congress can at least stop if not roll back the Bush Administration's incursions.
The unfortunate thing about Leftists, however, is that though they think Americans deserve the freedom of privacy and civil liberties, they believe that freedom stops--and good Leftist Government should begin--when the Left does what it knows is to be in everyone's best interests. Here are some of the more worrying possibilities that capitalists may face:
2. Socialist Healthcare.
Prior to coming into power, some of the bolder Democrats were already beginning to voice the same old story about socialized medicine--termed "Universal Healthcare." Like all free things promised by the Left, it's not free; just paid for by someone else. Potential targets feeling the pain of this leftist scheme could be doctors, insurance companies, and small businesses that are asked to subsidize the Left's generosity to its voters.
3. Paternalistic Intrusion into Personal Choices.
For all the Left's talk of civil rights, those rights stop when the Left can make better choices for the individual than he can make for himself. Leftist pseudoscientists, the media, and leftist politicians are slowly preparing Americans mentally for the once-ridiculous idea that the government should financially penalize us for the choices we make with which it doesn't agree--such as the foods we eat. Businesses which sell disfavored products or items--that is, items from which the Left wants to protect individuals from their own choices--should be prepared for attempts at penalty taxes and investigations of a type once reserved for the tobacco industry.
4. Free Breakfasts.
Entrepeneurs, businesses and capitalists may feel the "tyranny of the majority" with the Left attempting to provide "free breakfasts"--literally--by stealing from the most productive members of our society. Recently, I read an article by someone with an apparent activist bent who reported in the media that studies recommended that all schoolchildren--not just poor ones--should be provided free breakfasts, because they'd eat healthier than they'd eat at home.
This type of thinking is the mantra for Leftists. There are many disturbing aspects about this study. First, that it would use the word "free" instead of subsidized, because that's what it is. It would only be "free" because parents of public school children--regardless of how wealthy they might be--would have their kids' food paid for by taxpayers--regardless of their own financial status or whether they themselves had children to support. Second, it reaffirms Leftist thinking that the government should get involved with individual choices because "it can do better." Finally, it's unclear exactly where the Leftists would attempt to extract the money for this. "There's no such thing as a free lunch?" What about a free breakfast?
5. Heightened Distrust of Entrepreneurs.
Finally, business owners, capitalists and entrepeneurs need to prepare themselves for a Leftist mentality that is derisive of them and refers them as "corporate America" as if that term is itself a self-evident term of derision. Be prepared to deal with individuals who treat with suspicion all of the following:
1. Attempts to make the most efficient and profitable operation possible (the Left says you should pay everyone as much as possible and then see if you can actually make your business work).
2. Attempts to pay only the smallest amount of taxes you're legally required (the Left calls that "tax loopholes").
3. Attempts to protect your assets in foreign or offshore accounts (the Left--and even some on the Right--think nothing good can come from investing or protecting your money outside of this nation).
If you asked me what one step you could take to hedge against some of the uncertainty of the Left, I'd advise you to "have a plan B." Good business owners and entrepeneurs know that the unforeseen can sometimes happen. Sometimes you need a backup plan in place. Now, I believe, is that kind of time. The dollar is weak, freedom in our country is being restricted like never before, and the new government coming looks scary. Speak to your financial advisor, your tax advisor and your legal advisor. Look at investing offshore. Look at moving some assets offshore. Look at investing in foreign properties in nations that still respect business and freedom.
That's the way things look from where I stand.