Do any activists or progressives know how hard it is to actually start a small business? Do they appreciate the regulations, taxes, and hurdles involved, let alone the difficulty of providing a product or a service the market values?
No, they don’t. They have chosen to live off the production of small businesses rather than actually produce something the market values and the government allows.
In Ayn Rand’s 1957 book Atlas Shrugged, businessmen and women stop “the motor of the world” by going on strike. They show the world what life would be like without the businesses they expropriate and take for granted. And it isn’t pretty.
Today, we risk stopping the motor of the world by “laying off” entrepreneurs through big government actions that make it impossible for them to succeed. Minority entrepreneurs, who are always hit hardest by regulations, taxes, and inflation, would be the first to get pink slips. The potential consequences of following the big government agenda in terms of economic vitality, living standards, and racial economic inequality would be grave.
Progressives take it as a given that capitalism creates racial inequality. Capitalists and small business proponents must fight this message with everything they have. Minority entrepreneurship success—the fact that minority entrepreneurs outearn whites overall—demonstrates that capitalism overcomes racial economic inequality rather than spreading it.
Keeping entrepreneurship pathways open through free markets and limited government, therefore, is the best way to achieve not only socialists’ but everyone’s racial equality aims.
The vibrant and racially diverse American middle class, full of entrepreneurs, is the best argument against socialism and progressivism. If capitalism creates inequality, this massive middle class shouldn’t exist. If the class differences in America are so stark, how do we account for this historic middle class?
Where does the middle class truly not exist? The answer: in socialist countries, where there are just two groups—fabulously wealthy government apparatchiks, and the rest of the population, who are paupers. The United States, where nearly everyone has an iPhone and air conditioning and the opportunity to pursue entrepreneurship, is strikingly equal by comparison.
Big government proponents have a vested interest in pretending the minority small business success story doesn’t exist, because it is a testament to the wealth-creating power of capitalism.
One of the defining characteristics of capitalism is entrepreneurship, which capitalism fosters and socialism forbids. In America, citizens are free to start businesses of their choosing. In socialist countries, entrepreneurship is largely either explicitly or implicitly forbidden. Minorities are “stuck” in socialist countries but have immense income mobility in America.
Capitalism is the only system that creates wealth for everyone, even the poor. Socialism—”seizing the means of production”—merely redistributes the wealth around. As Margaret Thatcher noted, the problem with socialism is that “you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
Now more than ever, Americans must hear this truth that capitalism creates and socialism takes.
Alfredo Ortiz is president and CEO of Job Creators Network. This column is adapted from his new book, The Real Race Revolutionaries: How Minority Entrepreneurship Can Overcome America’s Racial and Economic Divides.