Dear Government: Get Out Of The Way Of Business

June 19, 2002
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U.S. Rep. Vern Ehlers has exactly the right idea — and a tiger by the tail.

We wish to add a hearty endorsement to his recent call for meetings with the National Security Council, in which we’re sure fellow West Michigander Peter Hoekstra supports him, to stress that the federal bureaucracy only impedes American businesses when it attempts to “help.”

We beg President George W. Bush, legislators and control freak bureaucrats: Don’t help.

American business has never needed help nor deserved it. In our long past the federal government has served over and again to impede progress and profits in the economy generally while “helping” a favorite business or industry. Within just a week’s time there are more forays into every aspect of American business — under the guise of “help” — than we have room to print; but we’ll try:

Ehlers’ visit with the National Security Council was to get the chains off charter jets and flight schools. He reported 41,000 general aviation planes have been tied up (see story page 3). This in addition to commercial aviation problems, the grounding of crop dusters at a crucial seasonal time and massive tie-ups at U.S. border entry points which is severely hampering Michigan and West Michigan businesses.

That there has been some agreement to arrange a massive bailout of the airlines also is to the government’s chagrin — especially now that it comes to light that the wife of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is a very important registered airline lobbyist.

There have long been complaints from passengers (need we recall the image of Northwest’s refusal to allow passengers off the planes during a Detroit snowstorm, keeping some on the runways for 12 hours? Or the summer-long irritation of flight delay after delay?)

The attack of Sept. 11 is getting far more of the blame than it should for an industry already pained by its own ineptitude. Taxpayers who have long complained about every issue discussed now also bear the burden of paying for what obviously came before Osama bin Laden. A Web page search of New York Times articles on “airline bailouts” produced more than 500,000 articles dating back to 1996.

Once again, “help” is debated as a tax rebate, “incentives” and cutting the capital gains tax. All year, consumers have kept this economy afloat, and can do so no more as layoffs are announced. The missing “ingredient” in an improved economy has been the overwhelming absence of business investment: sheer lack of capital. A cut in the corporate income tax is, by all authorities, seen to be the best stimulus and answers the question, which went begging even before the dog days of summer.

Get out of the way, Uncle Sam. As indicated here in the Sept. 17, 2001 issue, “the creativity and ability of entrepreneurs here and throughout the country may have been represented in the World Trade Center towers, but it is only a representation. The heart and soul of American ingenuity is, in fact, everywhere.”

The strength of U.S. government leaders is aptly displayed in its response to terrorists. In regard to the recession, government must get out of the way and get out of business owners’ pockets.

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