Kevin Price
"Atlas Shrugged" one job at a time
By Kevin Price
December 8, 2010

The media loves to demonize evil businesses for moving jobs overseas. Many in the public join in on the attacks and love to ride the "Buy USA only" theme. Members of Congress who are opposed to extending the Bush tax cuts to the highest income groups argue, "How do we provide tax cuts for the same businesses that are sending their jobs overseas?" It is this type of questions by policy makers that have us in the mess we are in today. Instead they should ask, "What can we do to keep businesses and jobs in this country?" That is exactly what other countries are asking as they try to woo business from the United States.

Many chambers of commerce, cities, and state governments around the country seem to get this. States like Texas prosper because of their economic environment (particularly when it comes to taxes, regulations, and licensure laws), while states like Michigan do not, because of their economic climate. Some political entities have figured out they are competing for customers (in their cases, businesses), just like companies are consumers. Walmart, which is the largest retail company in the world, achieved its success by making the least per item of virtually any competitor out there. They make up for the small amount of profits per item by selling many more products. Imagine the lessons governments could learn from such a strategy.

The United States has the second highest tax rates on business of all the major industrialized countries. By January of 2011, without the extension of the Bush tax cuts, it will move to number one in a category that has already led to the exportation of jobs and the near doubling of unemployment in the last few years. You cannot love jobs and hate job creators. That seems to be a lesson that The US government is having a difficult time learning.

Most business owners are rationale beings (unlike those in government). They sit down and list the costs of doing business and determine what choices they need to make based on their economic realities. When the rent on their commercial Real Estate gets too high, they look for other offices; when minimum wage requires them to spend more than a job is worth, they go without or farm out the services of lower paid employees, and the list goes on. In the 21st century, where it is easier to move capital now than in any time in human history, when taxes get too high, they move their company to other parts of the world in order to reduce this fixed cost of doing business. Ayn Rand's classic, Atlas Shrugged, has gotten a new audience. Many Americans have become familiar with the book and are sympathetic to the business people who simply decide to give up on their economic endeavors because of the government burden. The businesses that are exporting huge parts (or all) of their companies and jobs overseas largely embody the spirit of Ayn Rand's book. They are removing the burden on them that is making their company less competitive to their customers (which is often, all of us) and less profitable to their investors (pursuit of profit is a moral obligation of every corporation).

But what they are doing is good for Americans too. Instead of us being a nation of economic co-dependents that coddles the government for having abusive policies on businesses that drives everything from improvements to employment, we should hold the politicians accountable and force them to create an honest tax system and reasonable business environment so companies have every reason to stay here. That honest tax system would include ending all taxes on business, because companies do not pay taxes, they are just tax collectors. Government should always tax individuals in the most direct manner for every cent, so we have every incentive to keep the politicians honest.

So the next time you hear about another job being exported, be angry. But make sure you are mad at the right culprits.

© Kevin Price


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Kevin Price

Kevin Price is Publisher and Editor in Chief of

His background is eclectic and includes years of experience in both business and public policy, as well as two decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He was an aide to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and later went on to work in policy areas with some of the nation's leading think tanks including the National Center for Public Policy Research and was part of the Heritage Foundation's Annual Guide to Public Policy Experts... (more)


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