St Johns County needs entrepreneurial spirit


ACROSS-MG-DESKThe presidential State of the Union address is traditionally used as a “cheerleading assembly” to motivate and inspire the populace to keep paying their taxes for another year and hope for the oft misquoted and misattributed “chicken in every pot”.

The “hope” of Republican presidential candidate Herbert Hoover and the slogan of “hope” by President Barack Obama are predicated on two entirely different points of view.

In last night’s presidential address, that preempted a lot of good television programing, Obama spoke about the need to reignite what he sees as the true engine of America’s economic growth, “a rising, thriving middle class”.

Hoover, however, enjoyed the enviable position of campaigning on the heels of the Republican administrations of Harding and Coolidge. A vote for Hoover was considered a vote for continued prosperity. His optimism promised that, with God’s help, America was “in sight” of the day when poverty would be banished from this Nation — even though he never promised “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage”, as is frequently said.

I have always been a proponent of “thinking locally” and acting globally — an idea that has also been embraced by numerous political campaigns. We can’t fix America’s economy, but we can go a long way towards fixing the economy locally in St Augustine and St Johns County.

Obama mentioned the need to simplify the tax code for businesses, but he did not offer many solutions for what I see as the surest way to achieve economic growth; the creation of an environment where small businesses can thrive. The president spoke very little about small business — a point observed by members of the local business community.

Access to capital remains a problem for many small businesses. The government, through its control of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, has done more to stymie investors who would otherwise make profitable loans to small businesses than any other single factor, according to local bankers.

The entrepreneurial spirit, although bruised, still exists. Historic City News is a small business; and, small business ventures will lead us out of this economic recession. Small businesses create jobs, keep their money in the community, and contribute to our local economy in a way no national corporation could ever do.

Government needs to be out of our back pocket. Less regulations, unnecessary registrations and fees for licensing that don’t even cover the cost of keeping track of the information. Let the businessmen run the businesses in this community — the only “enterprises” the local government need to operate are utilities. Get back to basics — health, safety and general welfare. Do that and do it well, the free market and small business owners will take care of the rest.