Given some of the recent comments by those in the White House, I must share the experience of my own entrepreneur journey and how it differs from these recent statements.
When I was starting a mutual fund, I dealt with many people and agencies of both the state and federal governments. Their job was to ensure I met every regulatory obligation they could think of, and they seemed to come up with even more. I found nothing but roadblocks getting in my way as I tried to get this mutual fund off the ground.
At that time, there was only one money market mutual fund being run out of the Memphis area of Tennessee. When I was creating a stock mutual fund, the Tennessee regulators were all concerned about covering their behinds. They created requirements on the fly that we needed to meet in order to get the fund approved to sell in the state.
I am sure I have never heard anyone in the government say something like, “Greg, this mutual fund seems like a great idea and should create some high paying jobs for our state! What can we do to help you?”
The SEC audited us four times over the 10 years we had the funds, and each time, they spent a week in my office trying to discover something we were doing wrong. Not once did they ever ask how they could help us make the fund more successful, more marketable, or easier to manage. They focused on what they could do to find something wrong, so they could issue a fine or shut us down.
When we were getting our software company off the ground, I went a year without a paycheck, so we could pay all the employees and keep the business going. I didn’t hear anyone in the state or federal government offering to support me and help me out during this endeavor. The risks I had taken and the rewards I had earned in the past allowed me to do that. My partners and I sacrificed and took the risk, as we should have, and we will benefit from any success that we may generate. With our tax dollars, the government will get its “fair share” even though I never heard a single government agency offering to assist me or my business.
The government has provided aid for connecting the people in the economy by building railroads and interstates. They only did this AFTER someone took the risk to build the steam engine, locomotive, internal combustion engine, and automobile. Individuals and families all across America have worked hard and sacrificed to build their businesses and their dreams, building this country!
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That was my experience. What was yours? Any entrepreneurs out there feel that if it wasn’t for the government, they would have gotten where they are or have been able to stay around?