The October 18th edition of the Carroll County News carried announcements that Jeremy Miller of Clifty and Bill Coleman of Mountainburg will seek public office. Miller says that he should be elected because he will "create an environment to allow businesses to grow." Coleman says that he'll work to "encourage the growth and development of small businesses and job creation" and to "eliminate unnecessary regulations and over taxation."
What do they mean? What businesses? What jobs? What regulations? What taxes?
How many jobs and businesses will result from these proposed and undoubtedly strenuous and creative encouragements? What will be the economic impact of all of this elimination and creativity and encouragement? What is the time frame for such activity and glad tidings?
I have been a self-employed small business owner and operator for almost forty years and I own several properties in Carroll County. I have made a decent living during that time and have a comfortable retirement because of those not always creative efforts, through good luck, and by the grace of God.
My success or failure in business has always depended on my ability to find and satisfy buyers of and for what I was selling. My investment decisions have always depended on my best guess about whether I could make a buck or not. Sometimes I made a buck; sometimes I didn't. All I ever expected from government was an approximately level playing field. At no time did I ever make a business decision based on tax policy or regulations.
How has Miller's and Coleman's business experience been different from mine, or that of any other business person?
In the matter of, say cantaloupe, do they agree to free and unregulated interstate commerce between and among growers and wholesalers and sellers and consumers of these tasty melons? Does this same agreement hold true for kumquats or shrimp or fandangos from the People's Republic of China?
Both men are in the cattle business. Do they propose that we should eliminate all regulations and tariffs regarding the importation of beef from Costa Rica or Brazil? Shall we reduce our tax burden by ending agricultural subsidies for corn and producers of other types of livestock feed?
Do Miller's and Coleman's anti regulation and anti tax stances hold for all businesses? Will it be okay in this new era of anticipated growth and development to sell marijuana, or to street walk, as long as we don't regulate or tax these innovators and job creators?
If I discover coal, or aluminum, or cupcakes on some land I own along the Kings River, will they allow me to sluice these materials in the waters of the Kings River? Will they allow such sluicing to be conducted by child labor I might import from Malawi or say, Burundi? Will I be required by law to provide the little nippers with insurances or, can I just set them alongside the road in case of mishap?
I agree that these may be absurd examples--unless Miller and Coleman are Libertarians such as Ron Paul, and then all bets are off--but the main point is that they have said nothing and have merely tossed out some tiresome bromides. Consequently, we have no way to evaluate whether their candidacies are consistent with the needs of our area or with whatever our personal values may be.
I don't know Miller or Coleman; I am sure they are decent and hardworking men. I am not against fewer regulations. I am not against lower taxes. But I am against politicians and political candidates of either party who won't or can't be specific about what they will do if elected and what the outcomes or consequences will be if their ideas are carried out. We have big problems today and silly buzzwords and cheap slogans won't solve them.