Dear Government, Please Stop 'Helping' Us

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Technology Marketing Corporation  |  October 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Unified Communications magazine

I have said before that the Obama administration has been the most anti-business of any administration I have ever seen. There is hostility toward success achieved through legal business means and demonization of virtually every profession (except, ironically, lawyers, professors and community organizers).

Doctors have been accused or removing tonsils and amputating without reason. Bankers are irresponsible and fat cats. Oil industry execs – well, you know. Hedge funds are bad people for fighting the White House during the whole auto gate controversy of last year where GM and Chrysler were bailed out.

One has to imagine these comments are made to somehow help the U.S. population, but it is statements like these that are, in part, responsible for keeping companies from hiring and well-off consumers from spending. I can't imagine this is what our President intended to happen, but the rhetoric hasn't ceased, and neither have the job losses.While I come into work every single day and promise myself I won't write about politics it is apparent that politics has become a greater factor in business than one's ideas and potential. In other words if the government continues changing the pieces around, businesses will continue to hold off on spending and so will consumers.

I have come to realize via long Facebook (News - Alert) conversations with others that many people believe that the U.S. government needs to spend and spend and spend on stimulus. But the fact is that the $780 billion spent on "shovel-ready" projects hasn't helped the unemployment rate in the construction sector, etc.

Our economy desperately needs to get people back to work, as many folks have been out of jobs for two years and the longer they’re out of the workplace the lesser chance they’ll have of coming back in to it.

Still, I have come to respect Keynesians such as Paul Krugman who believe the government can solve all problems more efficiently than businessmen. I disagree with them of course, but if I could just meet these people in the motor vehicles department for a few minutes, at Starbucks going over the thousands of pages in the needlessly complex IRS tax code, or at a state construction site, maybe we would see eye to eye.

But until then… well, I’ve made my position clear.

I’d also like to agree with some recent reports that discuss how business owners feel Obama is highly ungrateful for the people who risk the financial future of their family to create jobs only to be demonized. The government seems to think it knows better than the free markets how to help its citizens.

But much of the financial mess the world is in stems from the fact that our government tried to solve the problem of what they saw as inequality in home ownership. They subsequently instructed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give mortgages to sub-prime borrowers with poor credit. And because they tampered with a mortgage system that worked, millions of people who weren't financially qualified to own homes purchased them and lost them along with all the money they put into improvements, furniture, etc. So the people who the government tried to help were the ones who bore the brunt of the housing crash. They went from living in rental units to houses to the street.

This is the law of unintended consequences, and it happens whenever politicians try to help us by giving speeches that demonize the successful, or by drastically changing systems that work, while "doing right" by a group they believe needs their help.

Rich Tehrani is CEO of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO (News - Alert)). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard