Blimey, those Atlas Shrugged themes keep on coming. Glenn Reynolds has a collection of reader thoughts about how, assuming Obama or for that matter, McCain wins, entrepreneurial vigour will be hit by any rise in taxes, particularly things like capital gains tax. Obama wants to raise CGT, which would be damaging to the US equity market, hence pension savings, not to mention curb new business formation. Way to go, Barack! Even so, the idea of entrepreneurs consciously choosing to cut back on any business plans while they sit out the first year or two of a leftist presidency is striking. Small businessmen and women are not getting much attention from politcians right now. No surprise: small businesses are disruptive; they tend not to be much interested in screwing subsidies or other benefits out of the state and are consequently not widely chased for campaign contributions. For sure, now and again a politician might talk about “helping small businesses” but there is a sort of going-through-the-motions aspect to it which means the pols do not really care that much. Just ask Joe The Plumber.
It is easy, in the current fears about the state of the world economy and what might be in store, to lose sight of what has actually been achieved in recent years. Fuelled by a mixture of education, supply-side tax cuts, a benign regulatory climate and the emergence of computers, small businesses in California’s Silicon Valley and other parts of the world have driven much of the growth seen in the past 20-plus years. Sure, big businesses get on the front page of Time or The Economist, but the small, or not-even-yet-started firms are the ones that matter. If the “animal spirits” of entrepreneurs are held back, we are all in a lot of trouble.
Anway, unlike some people who seem to want to torture themselves by sitting up all night to watch the elections, I shall be heading off to watch the latest James Bond film. Friends tell me it is not as good as the last one, with too much head-spinning action and not enough characterisation or jokes. But watching Daniel Craig blasting along in his Aston surely has to be better than watching Mr Magoo or The Community Organiser from Chicago. It is a shame Mr Fleming could not have written a novel where a bunch of crooked politicians wind up in a pool of sharks. Maybe that should be the next plot. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and write it.