Sunday, December 22, 2013

Entrepreneurs vs. The Tar Pit State

By, Chris Rossini

Middle East talking head for the New York Times, Tom Friedman, has taken a break this week from calling for collective punishment for Arabs. He instead delved into another area in which he is ignorant: entrepreneurship and the economy.

Friedman received a call from a successful entrepreneur named Tracy DiNunzio. Here's how she made it:
In DiNunzio’s case, four years ago she was raising capital for her start-up, “I started Tradesy with about $12,000, from a combination of credit card debt and loans, and went on to generate an additional $28,000 to fund the company over our first 18 months of operations by renting out my spare room on Airbnb,” she explained. “I used free Internet resources to teach myself web design, marketing and basic coding, and had everything I needed to start a business that now employs 22 people and serves 1.5 million customers every month.”
Good for her! The Internet is like a lifejacket against the forces of government and its central bank.

Here's how Friedman sees this situation:
DiNunzio is one in a wave of entrepreneurs who’ve been buoying our economy from below, at a time when so much national economic policy has been paralyzed.
Yeah...these entrepreneurs are "buoying our economy from below" alright.

The key question is: "From below" what?

The answer? "From below" the boot of the State.
These risk-takers never got the word that China will eat our lunch or Germany will eat our breakfast, so they just go out and start stuff, and build stuff, and invent stuff — and create 20 jobs here and 30 jobs there. hard as it may be to believe in modern America, there are people out there who don't have time for the propaganda (that Friedman himself regularly supplies) and actually work, create value, and satisfy customers.

But Friedman will only give these people "part" of the credit in solving economic problems. There's no way he's going to box out the parasitic class:
These entrepreneurs are not the only answer for our economic woes — they create jobs, destroy jobs and create big efficiency savings all at once — but they are surely part of the answer, and it’s a shame that we don’t spend more time thinking about how to multiply them. (his emphasis on the word "part")
So the man in the ivory tower wants to think about "how to multiply them"? Here's a news flash for Friedman: "You" and (the "We" that you're referring to) did not create them! These entrepreneurs thrive in spite of you. You're not going to multiply anything, because it necessarily means you'd have to get a new job.

Here's a great way for everyone to look at this. Entrepreneurs, like Tracy DiNunzio, find their way through the cracks of the sticky and gummy tar pit known as The State.

The State has shoved itself into almost every crevice of business life. Red tape and regulations blanket the economy like tar. Fortunately, there are always cracks. The human mind (and our innate drive for survival) always find the cracks and exploit them.

See those blades of grass that broke through in the above image? When the State notices them, it brings out more tar (i.e., regulations, licenses, red tape) and a steamroller (i.e., more enforcers and more three-letter agencies).

Fortunately, after the State steamrolls one area, a new crack always appears somewhere else, and entrepreneurs exploit them. We're still here aren't we?

Here's a conclusion that Tom Friedman will never ever come to: If you really want more blades of grass, remove the tar!!! If you really want entrepreneurs to multiply (and I mean multiply on their own...not because government "multiplied them") then scrap the regulatory state, and make the swarms of enforcers go out to get real jobs that actually serve people.

This is what the world would look like without the tar pit?

Chris Rossini in on Twitter & Google+


  1. "Here's a great way for everyone to look at this. Entrepreneurs, like Tracy DiNunzio, find their way through the cracks of the sticky and gummy tar pit known as The State."


    Wonderful metaphor and pics.

  2. Beautiful. You paint memorable allegories!

  3. Start a business sometime. There really are not that many regulations.

    Curious what you think the penalty is for not complying with these burdensome regulations. Do you think someone goes to prison? At most you pay a small fine and that's only if you get caught. How many businesses are out there? How many people are enforcing these rules? Your argument pretty much falls apart under very light scrutiny. You have to be operating under a very thin profit margin for a regulation to keep you on the sidelines. Sorry but that's just reality.

    1. Jerry, PLEASE start a KICKSTARTER campaign for any business you want. I will give you a thousand bucks, as long as you refuse to get the proper permits, comply with OSHA rules, or IRS rules, or any local rules, or other numerous state and Federal rules.

      A thousand bucks would be worth it to see your ass in prison. Fucking moronic troll.

    2. Jerry, please tell us the names of all the businesses you've started and successfully run. We'll all be fascinated to study your model to learn how you've managed to avoid all the regulatory and compliance hurdles other small businessmen like us deal with daily.

  4. Here's a regulation for ya...TAXES!! Oh what I could do with 35% of my income back.

  5. In the latter 18th century, the glorious state of France required permission to work..........for anything.(liscenses).
    If you were on the "list", you were denied. The state would deny you permission to work AND deny you permission NOT to work.(vagrancy) All one could do was move on.
    Hence the term "hobo".
    The revolution and guillotines took care of that.

    I can usually repair anything, from automobiles to heating and air, provided I have proper manuals.I would love to help old folks out,
    but.......its against the law without the Glorious state bestowing their blessing(liscenses).
    I refuse to be forced to do so.
    I broke the law on Saturday by repairing my clueless but friendly neighbor's heating unit.(starter capacitor with a faulty ground relay).
    And he is liscensed by the state to repair the same.
    And Wolfgang is wrong about no prison time.
    The state will destroy you for working without permission.
    Bring on the guillotines.

  6. Jerry Wolfgang,
    My wife is one hell of a baker. We wanted to open a little neighborhood bakery. Absolutely impossible on our budget. ADA compliment bathrooms, this fire code, that building code, this license, that permit. What universe do you live in, Jerry? The game is rigged so that a simple mom and pop store is almost impossible to open. You have to buy into a franchise or be a corporation to start, grow, and survive.
    It ain't private industry making it hard to start a business. It is the tens of thousands of pages of regulations and every a-hole bureaucrat sticking his nose into it to "protect the children" that make old school entrepreneurship nearly impossible.