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tv   Carol Roth The War on Small Business  CSPAN  July 25, 2021 2:59pm-4:00pm EDT

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♪ >> and now on book tv, more television for serious readers. >> thank you for joining us today on our webinar. my name is wayne weingarten with the research institute. i am so pleased that today we have "new york times" best-selling r author. just produced a new book called war on small business. it is available today, online at your favorite bookseller. having read it i cannot phrase it enough. it raises so many important
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issues, white small businesses are so important in the assault that's being waged before the pandemic and during the pandemic. it's small business is going to lead to a less prosperous. with that i would love to dive in and start discussing what is wrong? what is really the heart of our economy. select start talking about, why was this such an important to get into? >> it's interesting but when i talk to people about big businesses versus small businesses in the country most people do not have a good sense of the scope. they think they're millions of big businesses and a niche of small business. actually the reverse. we have similar between ten and 15000 large businesses in the country. and before covid we had 30-point to million small businesses.
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it accounted for about half of the gdp and half the employment of the country. it really is a very significant part of the economy overall. it is also an important task for economic freedom. if you think about wealth creation, comes with ownership. and so small business enables anybody and people from all over thell globe who like to come here too try to pursue that economic freedom for that wealth creation or some cases just other kinds of freedom, flexibility to do whatil they want or to pursue a passion or whatnot. : : : so preserving that opportunity and the centralization that comes along with small business looks a lot more like free-market capitalism then the big >> and we hear from politician
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so i am thrilled you are giving this important discussion a platform. host: and small businesses in my view is not only 50 percent of the economy that of everything. so we are stopping that entrepreneurial path because it's all about bureaucracy and other problems. >> and yes every big business that exist today with the exception from a bigger entity started as that small business
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but unfortunately when you disrupt that it makes it much more difficult to get the incentives to have those businesses to continuein to him on -es - innovate that ten years ago with all the risks to small business and how hard it is to run a small business but never did i think the government would be thef number one risk to small business and we would be in a situation where they way shut that down 15 months later here we are. >>
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laying it out was such a head scratcher. part of it right ahead scratcher so what was fascinating to me was putting the blinders on any sort of pushback coming out of china because then finally with the middle january of 2020 then the president says i'm so excited. thank you for your efforts. and to help keep the new virus away. and then we set what's going ruon? china is not great in terms of telling the truth we had the who so we downplayed it in the beginning and then there wereio travel restrictions put in
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place those were called racist and horrible and xenophobic that the biggest issue was the area of testing and what was done for testing looking at places like south korea they had been through mers and seen the failure from the government standpoint so right away they pulled them from the lunar new year celebration and said get in here you need to get on top of this so they set up testing with the private sector right away a private company in germany with one.4 million test out in a short period of time. and then we have the government bureaucracy that a wanted to do testing and because of the bureaucracy in
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the emergency use authorization's that is supposed to shorten the process it created a new path of redtape. so in the beginning the only entity that had testing was t cdc so they had to ration it with their rules of who could be tested in the labs were desperate. they said we know how to do this and it just took so long with the rationing is not somethingal you typically see in the free market and then the other was a huge head scratcher around that ppe where you were sending a huge donation.
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and then to stockpile it for ourselves. and then they start to take action. and then all the's crazy things the media went into before they decided to take a different set of actions. >> and not just in terms of there are things we can do toan stop the pandemic and then to get ahead of it as opposed to behind the curve that is one
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of the lessons so how do we deal with a pandemic or leverage the private sector? and then to self-isolate and contain the virus before it spread and with that important lesson to learn. >> one of the things that was also frustrating there have been it was the 14 different states and the scenario of the month trial but and with that
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and not exactly and in the stone but that again speaks to the frankenstein monster we have created in terms of big government and with those things they could bee doing. host: but outside of your core competency the less well you do and when the reasons we need to small government. >> and then talk about those small businesses in the pandemic was the policies and
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then with those small businesses that was fascinating you would know if this is intentional or unintentional but the outcome is the same. and so the government to set up the rights of the individual and over the last 15 months but and then were either essential or not essential based on their lead is essential and nonessential. it turns out it was based on s political connection and not any data of science.
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i can get my dogs nails and hair done at big box retailer but not mine. and in a couple of jurisdictions wasn't legal for a couple of years now they were essential. and then to have the winners and leeward one -so - winners and losers. but the government wants to aktake the property for public good so we need to shut some people down. so we weren't all in this together. will have everybody lockdown.
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so we probably would have had two or three weeks before they were screaming you can't do this to us or the economy but because those were allowed to be essential and a handful of big folks like airlines and with those mandates with those bailouts and what they got was this ridiculous tpp program which was a fraction of the overall dollars and certainly not enough to compensate taking property but there is a crazy set of winners and losers for a wealth transfer so those small businesses that were closed they were now
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patronizing those companies and at the same time you have the federal reserve intervening at historic levels. at this point the balance sheet $ but then what we saw last year with the 4 trillion-dollar and value. three.$4trillion in value. and those acquisition companies and facts some businesses shuttered forever summer hanging on by a thread.
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into separate economic that were 100 percent by government mandate and it is completely mind blowing. >> and the response of the pandemic by the government a lot of things didn't make sense. and with the thoughts of the pandemic. >> can depend on the
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multiplier but the ppp and the book talks about this and it's incredibly important to emphasize this that all that spending was justified because everybody loves small business but what the government gave small business was a program that was complex in so many small business owners who got the first tranche of money and then they were afraid because it took months if they could get their loans forgiven because it was a government program. to say you can't run your business. instead of compensating you which was the s right thing to do if you take their property we will compensate you we will give you a loan to make it
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forgive of all you can understand how to forgive those loans but then they couldn't understand it and similar to the ppp. >> the whole thing is the biggest cluster if you are trying to do everything wrong that's what came out of the c.a.r.e.s. act in general. you hit the nail on the head the way it was structured was opaque. this is not a bailout. and then we need to rescue you with this eminent domain this is our mandate we are giving you money to compensate. so all of the money given out in the c.a.r.e.s. act to universities already paid by
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students who got the money from the government anyway to the kennedy center which was shutdown with all kinds of assets and other organizations to getha money out right for whatever reason because theyru are cronies and connected as a business you have to file payroll reports it's not like you don't have access to that but you have to go to a day jump through hoops but that first tranche was a fraction of the overall cares package and because of the way they structured it kanye west was named the billionaire by forms
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last year his company got a ppp loan certainly they have other access to capital and not going away so some of you are a smaller business or i don't trust the government and that there were 35 rule changes from what it was originally conceived and then to be understandable you have time to keep of 35 rule changes for shutting down your business so if you are trying
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to put small businesses out of business that was only 95 percent obvious set of 100 percent you try to get more people on the government dole that the government will take care of you. was everything you would have done differently? because it looks pretty intentional. >> that is a way to make it more difficult. >> that those that didn't go to the big banks they service those customers first they are who they have relationships with you cannot blame them for the crappy structure. >> and you don't have time to spend hours to get the loan and time matters if the small
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business doesn't have one year worth of payroll instead of going month-to-month are a couple of months at best. >> you probably don't even understand that. for what is happening for the economies of scale which is why you are more vulnerable and shutting you down makes a much bigger difference. >> so putting this into perspective they created a problem for small businesses name mandated shutdowns and logically to do more online shopping then i go to amazon and the big retailers. you are not patronizing but then you have that revolution which is particularly valuable
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because the pandemic response was a problem and we still see the economynd recovering. but small businesses are sufferingcu particularly in restaurants and social venues that are not coming back but to put this into perspective with an ongoing war on small business. so what is this ongoing war? everybody talksdy about it but yet there is a war against them. >> it is fascinating because they are a bastion of free market and decentralization to stand as independent thinkers. if you tryry to consolidate
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power which we have seen the amount of spending in the purview and the vision we have seen more of a consolidation of power but particularly the federal government over time. if you are trying to consolidate that power, it's much easier to deal with a handful of big businesses than get the support of the independent small businesses. they want to be left alone anyway. [laughter] so the challenge is this was a brazen situation but you can go back decades to see licensed requirements that is often tainted as trying to help the little guy which ends up helping the big guy and the
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most obvious one the last 12 or 13 years comes out of the great recession financial crisis. the dodd frank regulation we have to rain you in that was so onerous. and then as you can imagine and then was t smaller banks lending to small businesses decreased multiple double digits. and then they end up getting bigger and then it is
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17.$7 trillion of corporate nonfinancial that so we are supposed to be wienie on - - raining in the big banks and it gives the bank free reign and we see this all the time with every piece of legislation that we need to make sure there is a fair playing field and to look out for the little guy. and that has enabled more cronyism with that beautiful nice sounding label. one of ouri first conversations i use the term crony capitalism you said no. that is wrong.
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it has nothing to do with cronyism that has nothing to do with capitalism. >> it taints and that's part of the problem that even right now with small businesses hear people saying if you can't make it as a small business you shouldn't be in business. >> that's not free market competition so if you have this conflation of language which i believe is intentional from the free market you do start getting the conflation between cronyism and capitalism and other concepts as well and we lost the branding around the free market capitalism means equated with private enterprise which the current
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situations with this cozy relationship between big business it is not capitalism at all. i appreciate you adopting the cronyism mantra. [laughter] host: we have to keep pushing either it is cronyism or it is capitalism but it cannot be both. that's what i love about dodd frank example because that is exactly where we see the economy going. regulation in the name of small business to put on more burdens. it can't hire lawyers to comply so it's such a perfect example where people misunderstood. >> there is a whole other
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webinar about that. >>ut but we want to control the big banks. like ronald reagan said they are serious words and language and i'm the government and i'm here to help you. what has happened is the regulation expansion of government is the advantage corporations in combination with the government work together to understand one another with departments that can talk to one another all day. >> just think of the cost involved. and then headquarters for cronyism in government into event on - - intervention and
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one of the things i want to put my head through wall every single year that i have to pay my employees to work from home on their computer workers ccompensation insurance. thousands of dollars because they are sitting at home and will injure themselves typing? 70 percent of our economy is the service economy we are not running huge machine factories. why am i doing this? so it drives me crazy there has been some good pushback against that as well is hair braiding. these women and men brave hair like mom and dad's do for the kids before they send them to school, they are not using chemicals not even picking up scissors but have to spend thousands of dollars too be
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trained which has nothing tos do with hair braiding and continuing education requirements. and as you can imagine this impacts minority communities and indigenous communities and women and people you really want to get into the situation to take control of their economic freedom and creating wealth opportunities. . . . . >> if you're a stylist, do you really need the government training to try to -- i mean, perhaps, if i don't cut hair well, people won't patronize my store? >> yeah, i'll post it on
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facebook, and everybody will see my botched hair style up to here. and the pandemic brought to light how silly this was because they had to remove a lot of the demands whether it was licensing for certain health care professionals to get more people who could go across state lines or what not to deal with covid to the ultimate hand sanitizer debacle. the manufacturers ran out of hand sanitizers. we're all very clean now, so they removed regulations so more people could create hand sanitizer, and guess what happened? we had more hand sanitizer. [laughter] go figure, the market figured that out. it just goes to show that these are completely restrictive and, obviously, were completely insane. and the question is whether or not they're going to go back and say, well, okay, now that things are back to normal, you know, you can't do hand sanitizer, you can't deliver alcohol on sunday,
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whatever it is thatt they took away to help during the pandemic that was justt an insane law and regulation. >> this is one of the problems with big government where all of the increased spending, right, the temporary measures, now president biden wants to make those perm innocent temporary spending becomes permanent, but temporary deregulation is temporary. [laughter] >> yeah. i mean, that's the scary part. certainly are things like the tax rate gets changed around a lot which, frankly, is really annoying as well because how do you plan as an individual business owner on big things whether you're exiting your business or investing in your business if you don't know what the tax structure is. to even navigate around that is insane. but there are so many things that they're talking about now that are difficult to repeal once you put into place. you know, things like raising the minimum wage, you know, on a national basis which, you know, yeah, we could probably spend a
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cwhole webinar on why that's insane. but, you know, once that goes -- you never get to the point where, like, you raise the minimum wage and then you have an economic downturn and you lowern it. same thing with benefits, you never cut those back. so those are the kinds of things structurally that are super concerning because once they go into effect, it is so much more difficult to roll that back. >> and, again, talking about the war with on small business, the push to increase the minimum wage is a push that will harm small businesses and make small businesses less competitive to the larger businesses. again, we have businesses part of that ongoing government-growing, you know, we in capital cities know better, and we talk about the importance wof small business, but we keep passing laws that disadvantage them in the marketplace. mr. mazon
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is jumping into the fight. they want to see a 50-dollar minimum wage. of course they do because it is going to feel short. that's where you get the cronyism coming into play. the other thing we had coming out of the pandemic and central planning is that a lot of these issues tried to push on the de facto basis they compensated people not just the traditional unemployment that the states may also pay into and you certainly should have access to but the fact that they did these enhanced bonuses and they were $600 to begin with and they continued it obviously but that is a de facto way to push the minimum wage increase and we are seeing the affect of it right now with 9.3 million jobs that
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are still down about 8 million workers in the workforce then when we were in february, 2020 before all of this happened. so, clearly these specific actions are not only a legislative way to do it but a sneaky way to go in to try to compete with the small businesses by offering the enhanced bonus to not work. some of the states have gotten wise to that but that is a big issue because either way, the damage is done and people are going to start having to offer more money and in many cases for small businesses they are offering more money and they still can't get people back to work. a. >> and it's becoming less and less competitive and beyond that there are many entrepreneurs who at the start or making minimum wage when you take into account
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all of the hours that they are putting into it. >> again why would you do that? coming up with a new idea of how to serve people better when you say i can make $15 an hour without having to work or having to do -- somebody that was making above the minimum wage what you are really doing if it becomes pervasive is your pushing up the entire scale. a. >> and the prices on the consumers and then you wonder why you are making $15 an hour but it is $23 for a slice of pizza. how did that possibly happen. it's a really challenging situation obviously for small
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businesses. >> something you mentioned earlier and you spend a couple chapters in the book talking about federal reserve and this is complicated and people get confused because it is very cryptic. monetary policy is one of those things your eyes start to glaze over because it is so complicated but it's important because prior to the financial crisis the government thought of short-term debt it went from a trillion to 8 trillion so it's increased its footprint eight times and it's not just buying short-term government debt but
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its mortgage-backed securities and influencing the mortgage market and so much debt and long term government debt and on top of this it is allowing the government to issue debt by people that say the market isn't expecting inflation of course not because the federal reserve now they are the government debt markets and we are a monetizing with all sorts of macroeconomic complications but you talk about how it hurts small businesses the worst. i would love to talk about that. when you go out and make an investment and required the rate of return, that is compensation
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for risk-taking. it used to be that we had some understanding of okay i'm taking on a certain amount of risk and if it is more risky i'm going to make more money and if it isn't very risky i'm still taking a little bit of risk. by intervening in the market in the way that they have with all of these securities and the notion of risk in the market so now you've got more people that are seeking more risk and you have bigger companies able to take down more capital at almost no cost. so think about it. you go to the bank, you have your money hoping to get something back and they are not giving you anything. but they are loaning it out to these companies and very little interest cost they are able to go out and expand. what it does is the companies
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that shouldn't be there are those that don't make enough profit to be able to serve the interest on the debt let alone the principal. it would be an innovative endeavor with few 2 million jobs attached to them so that is a potential crisis there although there are a lot of people that need to hire workers, so maybe not as much as one would have thought otherwise. and it just creates an advantage in terms of the amount of capital that these big guys are able to deploy versus the little guys and little people having to take out more risk in order to get any yield and that is when you see that kind of background into the housing market.
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they are buying up single-family homes and taking those opportunities away or competing with the average home buyer they are just kind of a middleman collecting a toll and basically being done with taxpayer money. a wealth transfer that is both happening on the physical level with small business being closed and money going to the small businesses but on a monetary policy level where they are getting more capital to the big guys and giving them another advantage in the market and it is just unprecedented. we have never seen anything like this. so in terms of how did this and, there are scenarios many of which it's just so hard to say based on what is happening here
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in the u.s. and around the world. but that is why there are so many people looking at bitcoin or these other assets because they feel they can't trust the government and the fed which is because i government. do not devalue our dollar to do these crazy things. and then the whole enabling the behavior to spend because they are ready to purchase that debt so it is a horrible cycle because it is so intentionally opaque and complicated to understand by design why people are not spending enough time saying we need to reign this and like it is a bad thing for the economy and it's the biggest facilitator and we need to stop that.
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>> it's important that the idea they are funding the low cost going to the corporations and we also have retirees looking for interest intimately linked. fifteen to 20 years ago no financial advisor would say that you should be taking on that type of risk but if you don't now, it has all of these capital markets that we don't know how it is going to end but there's certainly some possibilities if this doesn't and the way the central planners model say that it should end. a. >> i'm not even sure that they have or that they are even following the mandate because the mandate is supposed to be
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stable prices which they know they are not and they are supposed to be full employment and i would argue if you have 9.3 million jobs available and nobody brings back they could probably have employment that isn't going to be moved by monetary policy let's just call it like it is so what are they really doing they are transferring wealth and propping up the stock market. that is in their mandate, that isn't what they are set up to do and one of the chapters i talked about that i've gotten the most positive feedback because a lot of time i spent time trying to break it down in a way that you can understand it to potentially come out and all of the ways they are facilitating the wealth transfer and behavior and the financial system.
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>> one thing we have a growth of cronyism and capitalism which leads to these outcomes. you talk about where do we go from here and how do we arrest to the cronyism and allow capitalism to flourish? >> the easiest thing you can do is support small business. the joke is alexa why does jeff have so much money. if you are spending all of your money on amazon, like why is it better and if they have more power on top of it. be thoughtful about where it is that you are spending your dollars and how you want to support small business because you can't not support them and
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then we have a responsibility to allocate dollars. we need to push back very heavily on the regulations and certainly anything new that comes up whether it is the minimum wage, whatever it is and really think through those unintended consequences. even now they are talking about this. let's break up facebook. i'm not sure if you separated facebook and like they will have any less control over you but what the regulations look like and who to keep out of the market to compete with them those are the things we need to think through. we need to figure out a way to break up this duopoly. the biggest duopoly that we have is between the two party systems and the fact of the matter is this book is meant as a nonpartisan book. it's political but it's not about political parties. it's about a system that is
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broken, so we need to figure out a way to get rid of that stranglehold because the government has that control under the purview of both parties. so we just need a list to be done elsewhere and i know if you are somebody that likes freedom and liberty and you just want to be left alone but unfortunately, freedom is something that we have to actively preserve and we have done a poor job in a lot of areas. we've done good on areas like the second amendment, but other areas we have done a poor job so i feel like we need to push back and i also feel like we need to use the legal system more. a lot of people that donate spend a lot of time to try to put somebody in to create more laws and do those things. we need to challenge the things on the books already. how many when it was a 50 year period over a million new laws at the state level and then at
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the national level it's like 12 or 15,000 or 20,000 regulations over a smaller period. hundreds of those at most are challenged and a lot of them are not constitutional infringements and we need to spend more time challenging those because if we challenge them and say you can't do that they would be more likely to put those in place. your new book which is fantastic is called the war own small business. it's online and in the stores to kind of support small businesses and -- >> if i can throw out an idea if
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you want to take what we said to heart, there is a store called bookshop.org and the entire idea is to support local businesses so if you buy it from them they will support from the business retailers. it is just as easy as any other site, and they actually support the small business on the backend. >> i would ask you is there any questions from small business? that is the only one, where to buy the book. that's perfect. why don't we wait and see if anyone comes up with any other questions. i guess i would like to get more into the idea of cronyism and talk about the dangers of cronyism. one of the things we have not
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discussed yet we need government to play its role because it has an important role that is very important and i would love to have your take on this. if we want to properly brand capitalism and we need to do a couple of things, one is the idea that capitalism doesn't mean we don't have to pursue a problem. we have a problem and here is the solution. with capitalism the idea is not that we won't do something but it's that we will and power millions of people and when you and power more, all of us make mistakes that we need to learn from these mistakes. but capitalism allows to learn
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from. with big government you don't learn from the new mistakes. you double down because that is the only way to operate and i think that idea of granting capitalism isn't just letting some obscure market to take care of things it's capitalism and powers people. it becomes an essential component. >> it's interesting i think that the word capital and capitalism makes it sound like you are capitalizing on something that makes it sound bad instead of good. talk more about the freedom of choice and power to the people, your freedom, your choice, your
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work, your choice, transparency those are the main tenants of it and how you can bring that to certain governments and entities and ideas and problems and one of the things i didn't talk about in the book because they wanted to try to stay focused, i had in the previous draft talked about something like social security and how you can bring free-market tenants to social security because obviously if you agree we should have a safety net but let's empower people instead of paying my money to the government, sticking in and i owe you, which by the way is just like other people they don't put anything in the government, what if when we put they put in their behalf we have that money. even if it was mandated by government, they were not in
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control of the money, we were in control instead of the government i owe you, you could invest in the market and the creation opportunities and then maybe you take a portion of the employer piece and use that on those that are not working so we have that little bit of social safety net but they still have that creation opportunity and they can pass it on then you just take the government power and control out of the equation because there's no reason why they should be managing that money. you just try to accomplish the social safety net they can still mandate it but we still have that ownership and empowerment so to me that is a great example of a place that you can bring the free-market principles to something that we feel like it isimportant from a social standpoint and have that object of meant in a better way. >> one question and i don't know
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if you have a good answer if someone wants to get this type of information and learn more about it, is there a data source just in california which is where we are located to learn more about these issues? >> so, which issue because obviously the economic issue you can go into the database and do those. which set of issues? >> actually, there is a project that is sponsored by harvard in conjunction with the hamilton project that's called open something. i don't remember what it's called but if you type into your search engine small business closures, you will get the project pretty quickly that shows the only thing i would tell you about the data and this is one of the things that kind of drives me crazy people will
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understand what constitutes the small business, the numbers are high. they are showing nationally that we have between 35 to 40% of all small businesses closed. i told you at the top of the hour that we had 3.2 million. i don't think 10 million of them had closed. i think that either employer owned businesses which would make it around the 2 million that is more accurate or the consumer businesses are still trying to get in contact with them like where are these numbers coming from but it's definitely not somebody with an agenda that is trying to push that big number look at it with a grain of salt but there are organizations like this that are tracking. we have employer businesses but
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you can reach out to me. to try to point you in the right direction did you just discover that? >> i use that in the book in a couple of places and it is specific to the platforms, so it is a proxy for the subset of the small businesses. it is an interesting proxy to show the group what that looks like. it is another great group that has five to 6 million small business owners on their platform. they do multiple surveys, so they get around 3500 or 4,000 respondents.
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but again the findings are horrific like 35% of small businesses don't think they can pay their rent. >> the fact that they are all so consistent in terms of whatever the number might be. >> the biden white house has come out and said more than 4,500 businesses. but even if it were only that, like 400,000. that is like the number of big businesses that exist in this country. that is staggering. we have never had anything like that in history. a. >> we have used up a whole hour so just this last time you did a fantastic job. it's a wonderful book. purchase it online, small bookstores today. also to emphasize if you could visit research.org for the next
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webinar on tuesday july 20th with of the former california supreme court associate justice and retired circuit judge, that is a mouthful, dennis rogers brown and then the associate justice so we will have a wonderful webinar at the pacific research. again, thank you so much for coming for this fantastic conversation on an important topic. >> thank you so much and thank you for the small platform of business advocacy. as i said before this book is important not for me, it's not my story but it's the story of the economy and more broadly, the little guy. it isn't getting enough attention so we need to make sure that these stay front of mind or we are going to end up with that legislation that moves us further toward central
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planning. i appreciate the ♪ >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america's story. and on sunday, booktv brings you the latest nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more including comcast. >> it's way more than that. >> comcast is partnering with a thousand community centers to create wi-fi-enabled hot spots so students in low income communities can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. >> comcast, along with these television companies, supports c-span2 as a public service. >> you're watching booktv with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious

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