America is what it is because of Risk Takers: Government can print money, but it can’t produce lost opportunity

I suppose we always knew it, but the audaciousness of the revelation has been stunning. The government’s attitude toward business owners and businesspeople in general during the outbreak of Covid-19 has been jaw-dropping in its arrogance, and ignorance. To think that government is doing the world a favor by letting people get back to work is stupid at best, yet that is the attitude. To promote healthcare workers in such a way to call them heroes as many people put on the unemployment line by destroyed businesses made that way by the government’s over-reaction to a virus has been insulting, and has well defined the true problem that has always been there, just not expressed honestly. Politicians like to say they support businesses when they are looking for donation checks, but truly, they see their roles in our republic as something of a kingly station that grants out rights and privileges rather than in representing the people who really make the world turn. That was obvious when the Governor of New Jersey indicated that he did not consider the Bill of Rights when he closed down their state’s businesses. After all, it was all in the name of “safety.” And under those conditions, we just make things up as we go, that’s what they told us anyway. The Covid-19 crises has displayed one thing clearly, people in the political class do not understand our American Constitution, and they certainly don’t understand what makes America different from other places in the world—an aspect that was truly ignored during the shutdowns of 2020 that put us all on a course of another Great Depression. The notion that we should shut down our economy to be “safe” was the most destructive thing we could have done and that politicians did it so easily says that they have no idea what, or who makes America, America—and that is a real problem.

I know very well that a risky life is not for everyone. I understand that most people are not as risk obsessed as I am, that they have a natural aversion to it. That’s OK. Risk can be scary, and most people want to be safe, and American society has a place for them. But risk is at the center of our entire economy, and our way of life. When risk is incentivized, it can be said that we have the best society in America, the most people benefit when some risktaker in the form of a business person goes to the bank to borrow millions of dollars to advance a business concept. Whether the action is a new manufacturing facility, or a new restaurant, our economy depends on risk takers to go all in on an idea for the hope of profit to make something out of nothing. And that’s how jobs are created. If our economy is a big open highway trying to inspire dangerous people to drive over 100 MPH down it with an exotic sports car, then government is that big, fat ass, slow truck that takes up all the lanes with an intent to slow everything down to its limits and that is what we have witnessed with the Covid-19 reaction to a danger. Government took over and put all of America’s risk takers off the streets, locked them in their homes, took over their operations and gave society huge limits in economic activity costing trillions of lost dollars in our economy.

This was most on display as government checks were issued and loan applications distributed to allow businesses to recover some of their lost costs during the shut down over the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. Government just didn’t understand that no matter how much money they printed and distributed, it wouldn’t come close to being enough—because nobody was measuring opportunity cost. My daughter is a good example of this, she has a six figure a year business as a photographer. But with the stay at home measures imposed on her, her clients have no idea how to even schedule their events, so her business has dried up to nothing, and it will take years to build that business back up to what it was before government stuck its fat ass on the highway and essentially stopped all economic activity. Her husband lost his job because manufacturing up and down the supply chain has dried up completely, because nobody knows how to predict market forces now that government has disrupted everything, so all those previous good jobs have been cut until there is better schedule visibility. Those are just my examples in my family, there are many others, we all know people who have had their lives destroyed by the actions of government, and those who have managed to keep their jobs have found them intolerably made more difficult, all in the name of some government view of safety.

But what has been ignored is that our entire economy is built on risk, and we need risk to exist as Americans. We should never be following some foreign model of how to live a good life, because most of the world is very risk averse. Life is better in America because of risk, every place of business that we see is the result of someone taking a great risk to operate a business in hopes of making more than a little money, and that risk gives us all options we otherwise wouldn’t have had. To listen to Lt Governor Husted outline what must happen on May 1st to allow businesses to get back to work was like being in kindergarten again where some teacher was telling us all the rules for going to the bathroom. Suddenly we are supposed to change everything we do in life because that fat assed government that is so slow with bureaucracy is going to define to us that we should not live in a risky way, and that businesses were going to have to live with that mandate. Well, if we change our attitude about a silly virus then we will change our attitudes about going to the bank to start that new idea we’ve been thinking about. The end result is that instead of thinking about new business ideas and how to make money off them, our people are now thinking about how to be compliant to a virus that the government wants to think is dangerous so that they can acquire more power—because as a group of the political class, they are naturally risk-averse. Yet they want to feel like they are players in the world, so they are trying to have that respect without the risk.

I don’t mind that people are stupid, or afraid of risky activity. But don’t get in the way of people who do want to take risks. It is not an American thing to do but to hide in their homes over a tiny virus and hope that government can safely manage us all to compliance. Social distancing is not an American thing to do. Most of the reason there were hospital shortages to deal with the Covid outbreak was because of too much federal regulation. Everything should be operating at the speed of business not of government, and risk should be embraced, not penalized. Risk is hard enough without making it harder due to government intervention, and that concept should be better understood. And certainly, more respected. Instead of giving out awards to people terrified of their own inability to fight off a virus and promote massive government interference, the awards and respect should be going to businesspeople who make the world go. At best, they should be given a lot more respect for the risks they do take often without anybody even knowing how much pressure they are under in the hopes of making enough profit to have a decent life. Politicians want the good life without the risk, and they are so out of touch with risk that they have obviously forgotten that America is nothing without risk and instead of trying to slow it down, they should get out of its way and let risk happen by those with the stomachs to endure it.

Rich Hoffman

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