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Running a business isn't going to get any easier

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Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

It is not going to be any easier to run a business these next four years.

The likeliest prospects are taxation, regulation and hesitation ... a most unholy trinity. Yet the voting public, not well schooled in economics unfortunately, went for it.

There were countless losers with Republican Mitt Romney. The coal industry was certainly one. And naturally its suppliers. Time will tell if natural gas, perpetrator of the dreaded “fracking,” lost the popular vote, too. So did several million high earners and achievers (also known as spenders, investors and charitable givers). To tax them more “fairly,” job creation will suffer collateral damage.

Costs on business are fated to go up in several forms and disguises.

Unions paid for the election and expect to be repaid. Look for Washington to help them organize companies easier. And, in the public sector, to continue making cities, school districts and states uncompetitive via pension and benefit costs. And what's easier to predict than a new push to raise the minimum wage?

Obamacare, socialized medicine in “affordable” clothing, poses billions more in cost burdens to include millions more insured. Countless voters, still unaware of all its angles, won't feel how unaffordable the 2,000-page legislation when it gathers full force in 2014.

And this is assuming the “fiscal cliff” of Jan. 1, 2013, almost $607 billion of budget gap still has to be bridged, can be averted in what remains of 2012.

Meanwhile, President Obama's army of regulators — of environment, banking, labor relations and more — heard no signal to back off as the bands played in his election victory Tuesday.

The hoopla made for postponable economics (deal with it later) and distracting “show” when the real need is to know. Yet what business person watching the midnight shower of confetti could feel like hiring or investing on the morrow?

What's ahead looks anything like a golden age of free enterprise. Unless, that is, the White House does a totally unpredictable pivot toward the engines of genuine job growth: lower, simpler taxation; less regulation; and market-based cost savings in health care.

Rather, We the People voted for a government that “cares” (or more accurately seeks to control) no matter the cost, especially if borne by the rich of presumably bottomless pockets.

It wouldn't be a surprise if 2013 brings a business slump. First years of presidential terms often do as tough steps are taken.

Too bad so many opportunities to educate the public were missed in the long election campaign.

Investments tycoon Romney kept telling audiences he knew how to create jobs but never really imparted his knowledge. Too complicated, he or his handlers must have thought. We wouldn't understand. So instead, enough of us just didn't believe. His vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, likewise knew how to reform bankruptcy-bound “entitlements.” But again no details, or else the media got tired of reporting them.

So we had an election decided in large part by ethnic and gender interest groups who bought into the illusion that government can somehow provide for them free.

For this foolishness, U.S. business will pay a price. So will working folks and folks unable to find work. Voters can be fooled, but not reality.

Jack Markowitz is a columnist on Thursdays for Trib Total Media. Email jmarkowitz@tribweb.com.

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