Last week reported that entrepreneurial activity in Minnesota was the worst in the entire US.
But the whole country is reeling.
Usually the “recovery” from a recession is a great time to start a business; in the “creative destruction” cycle, it’s the time when creativity happens; as money starts to flow again, people start businesses.
So what’s to blame for this change? A lot of things, probably. One reason, I suspect, for a job market that looks more like Europe is a regulatory and legal environment that looks more like Europe’s. High regulatory loads — the product of ObamaCare and numerous other laws — systematically harm small businesses, which can’t afford the personnel needed for compliance, to the benefit of large corporations, which can.
Likewise, higher taxes reduce the rewards for success, making people less likely to invest their money (or time) into new businesses. And local regulatory bodies, too, make starting new businesses harder.
But I wonder if the biggest problem isn’t cultural. Since 2008, this country hasn’t celebrated achievement or entrepreneurialism. Instead, we’ve heard talk about the evils of the “1%” ” about the rapaciousness of capitalism, and the importance of spreading the wealth around. We’ve even heard that work in the public sector is somehow nobler than work in the private sector.
Countries where those attitudes prevail tend not to produce as much entrepreneurialism, so it’s perhaps no surprise that as those attitudes have gained ascendance among America’s political class and media elite, we’ve seen less entrepreneurialism here.
The process of changing this nation from a culture of building and innovating into one of consuming and demanding has taken decades. But Obama seems to be close to closing the circle, creating the first nation to go from benign tyranny to freedom and all the way back.