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Ever since I was a little kid, I have always been inspired by entrepreneurs who risked nearly everything to pursue their dreams. I usually had an idea for some new business venture up my sleeve as a middle schooler. While my babysitting or dog walking businesses weren’t as successful as I dreamed up in my head, it made me appreciate all the hard work entrepreneurs go through to get a business off the ground.
It wasn’t until later on that I learned about all the state licensing and regulations that hurt entrepreneurs. I probably would have never passionately pursued my business ideas if I knew about the massive loads of government paperwork and rules. My heart goes out to all of the little children who have had their lemonade stands shut down recently by police officers simply because they lack the “proper permits.” These kids, unfortunately, have learned a firsthand lesson about how state crushes the entrepreneurial spirit.
Entrepreneurs should be treated as heroes—not villains. Many of these brave individuals risk their entire life savings to market their ideas. Some will strike out on their own and others will achieve the American dream. The last thing we should want is for the state to punish entrepreneurs who enrich our lives with new products and services. Innovation takes place not because of government regulation, but in spite of it. That’s why I want to get government out of the way to enable entrepreneurs to thrive.
We lost one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time last week. Apple creator Steve Jobs improved the lives of millions of Americans. He was born poor and achieved success through old fashioned hard work and determination. Steve Jobs contributed more to society than any government bureaucrat ever has. It is estimated that he generated as much as $30 billion annually in increased wealth for the U.S. economy. Steve Job’s innovation has made us all a little richer.
Some clues suggest that Steve Jobs may have been skeptical of government. On EconomicPolicyJournal.com, Robert Wenzel writes that Jobs was an original gold bug, stood up to a city council, drove his car without license plates and lobbied against legislation to classify lithium batteries as hazardous materials. It’s difficult to determine if Steve Jobs was a true blue libertarian but I do admire many of his efforts to reduce the scope of government.
Unlike most big corporations that lobby for more government regulations to hurt their competitors, Apple actually fought off the state. According to Robert Wenzel, “Apple also is part of the ‘Win America Campaign’ lobbying group that is calling for tax breaks for corporations who repatriate offshore earnings. Apple also signed up to a campaign against the US government's ability to inspect customer data on computers without warrant.”
Steve Jobs should prove that rich people are not inherently bad. While the Occupy Wall Street crowd is a mixed bag, many of the protesters are angry at the rich or the “1 percent.” Steve Jobs and many successful entrepreneurs who built a business from the ground up were/are in the top 1 percent of income earners. As the picture below shows, it’s inconsistent for protesters to denounce capitalists while using their iPhones that have enriched their lives. When a few of Steve Job’s business ventures failed along the way, he never asked Washington for a bailout. He was never “too-big-to-fail.”
Occupy Wall Street is right to protest the Wall Street bailouts (where were they in 2008?) but they should be celebrating “filthy-rich” entrepreneurs who never begged for a government handout. As the descendant of immigrants who came to America to escape communism in Eastern Europe, I still believe in the American Dream. We should all recognize that there is something truly special about a place where a poor boy that is born out of wedlock can grow up to be a billionaire through hard work and willpower. I worry that the government is preventing future generations of children from obtaining the same success in their lifetimes.