As I’m standing outside a local Asian restaurant waiting on my wife to join me, I take notice of all the other empty buildings that make up what was once a busy outdoor mall.
I remember in one building was a novelty store. Right next to that was a store that sold greeting cards. Down the way was the store that for years sold swimming pools and next to that was a thrift shop. Fortunately, the Asian restaurant where I was about to enjoy dinner seemed to be thriving, but the rest of the mall looked like a ghost town.
I wonder if new business life will ever again be rekindled in these skeletal remains. I wonder about the people who had once run and owned these businesses. Were they individuals who had once dreamed of striking out on their own in starting up a small business?
Were they people who had made good at another store and felt that business was good enough to take the gamble in opening another site?
Perhaps it was a bigger chain that decided starting another outlet at this mall would provide even more prosperity? Whatever the circumstances, it appears the current economic conditions had taken its toll.
I wondered just how many people once worked in these buildings. On average, were there perhaps eight to 10 employees in each store? How many total?
I wonder just how many are now relying on public assistance.
There are many other sites all throughout Fort Wayne that resemble this one. As we all know, it’s the same throughout America. That America that I knew growing up has by and large disappeared. It was an America that for those who did not go to college could always count on getting a job in a factory. Now those factories only remain through memory and by colossal graveyards comprised of massive, vacant brick monuments.
But we had reason to believe that our greatness would endure through America’s entrepreneurial spirit, meaning, of course, our reliance on the increasing numbers of small businesses starting up across the country.
But since the recession, small business owners have been made to feel like pariahs. Because the federal government has placed such strict demands on banks’ lending practices, for many small businesses to get loans can be like yanking a filet mignon out of a hungry tiger’s mouth.
As pointed our on the blog FinanaceNewshole, “small business employs 50 percent of the U.S. work force. It makes up almost 40 percent of the GDP. The easy money policy of the Federal Reserve makes it far easier for banks to borrow at little cost from the Fed and invest in government bonds. So why bother to make small business loans?”
Add in the costs that small businesses will eventually face with the passage of Obamacare, and with the push to keep higher taxes in place, just where and when will relief come?
So my concern is this: With the current administration locked on tight in their notions of taxing the rich, holding onto the high cost of the current minimum wage scale as well with the uncertain future of Obamacare, how will anyone want to run the risk of starting a small business?
In fact, just how can we hope to reignite that entrepreneurial spirit that once made America great? How can someone who failed at a business once upon a time be expected to give it another try? Especially in a political climate that seems so antagonistic toward anyone who simply wants to get ahead? When class warfare is exploited by the left? When we have a president who is driven to “redistribute the wealth”?
Even if a new administration is voted in this November, has the business climate in America turned so sour that anyone who would have considered starting a new business might disregard any thought, believing that the political winds and Congress might change in any two-year cycle? Are we killing those entrepreneurial wannabes’ confidence?
Apparently someone has forgotten that Henry Ford and Bill Gates once started a small business.