Every year roughly 600,000 people start new businesses in the United States.
Every year about 500,000 businesses shut their doors.
That small window of opportunity between the doors that open and the doors that close contains between 50 percent and 80 percent of all the jobs created in our country.
I am laying out these facts because they demonstrate what a fine line there is between success and failure in our economy.
And because I am not sure that the Obama administration’s drive to put new limits on the free enterprise system really appreciates what a fine line that is.
When banking companies are coerced into canceling conferences at places like Las Vegas, all sorts of small businesses — caterers, limo companies, payroll services and the like — lose revenue.
When people begin to question whether banks should be sponsoring sports teams or stadiums, more small businesses see their opportunities dimmed. New rules of the road for raising capital and using it also hold out the specter of discouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs from taking a big leap.
Don’t get me wrong. The sight of those General Motors execs flying to Washington in private jets sickened me. The only thing worse was the big bonuses the Merrill Lynch guys got while the rest of us ponied up $20 billion to merge it with Bank of America.
But tax increases and more bailouts for big enterprises such as GM and AIG do not paint a pretty picture. The state of California doesn’t help with its endless regulations, super-high taxes and, of course, the budget mess that won’t ever go away.