Business Friendly Politicians

I read a letter a few days ago in which the author urged voters to vote against a politician because businesses supported him. The implication is that there is an 'us versus them' relationship between businesses and citizens, and any politician who is business-friendly must therefore be hostile to the interests of the average voter.

This polarized view of the world is both incorrect and potentially destructive to our society. In our economy, businesses provide jobs, pay taxes, and create the goods and services that we need. Whether the business is a single person or a multinational conglomerate, we are all better off if the business is healthy and profitable.

In general, we want our government to be 'business friendly' - to help businesses be efficient, effective, and profitable. Healthy businesses can employ more people, pay better wages, produce superior products and services, and pay more taxes. We need people in government who understand this.

While there may be some businesses that could be characterized as greedy or corrupt, the same is true of individuals and politicians. However, just as with individuals (and maybe even politicians), most are honest, productive, and praiseworthy members of our society.

Government does need to set the rules, but that does not require an adversarial relationship.

In this election, there are candidates at all levels who understand the need for healthy businesses as the foundation of our economy. There are also candidates who have never run a business, don't understand or appreciate businesses, and are eager to impose ever more regulatory burdens, taxes, requirements, and restrictions. Anything that is 'bad for business' makes businesses less competitive. This has the effect of reducing the number of available jobs, reducing wages, reducing tax collections, and raising the price of goods and services. Ultimately, it can drive our employers out of the state, out of the country, or out of business.

Generating fear and distrust of our businesses may be effective politics, but it's bad policy. If we are to continue to enjoy good jobs with good wages in Vermont, we need to elect people who understand what it takes to make that happen.