Think all the concern about higher taxes and increased regulation is overblown? Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute begs to differ. He devotes his latest National Review Online column to the direct impact of policies that punish entrepreneurs.
It seems appropriate that in the same week that Atlas Shrugged premiered at the movies, Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel sent a letter to his 6,500 employees warning them that the burden of taxes and the constant demonization of successful businessmen is reaching the point where he may decide it is no longer worth it to continue the hard work that he put in, building his company from the ground up over the past 42 years.
Siegel recounted the years of sacrifice, long hours, and hard work that went into making his business a success. Now he finds himself attacked for that success and is being crushed under a growing burden of taxes and regulation. “State taxes, federal taxes, property taxes, sales and use taxes, payroll taxes, workers compensation taxes, and unemployment taxes” take half of everything he earns. And President Obama is threatening to impose even higher taxes on him and his business. If that happens, Siegel warns, “I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company, I will be forced to cut back. That means fewer jobs, less benefits, and certainly less opportunity for everyone.”
He isn’t quite ready to head to Galt’s Gulch, but Siegel pointed out that he doesn’t need to continue putting in 60-hour weeks to keep a business running. If government continues to punish his success, he told his employees, “My motivation to work and provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.”
At about the same time, Arthur Allen, president of ASG Software Solutions, sent a similar letter to his 1,300 employees, saying that the increasing burden of taxes and regulations could force him to sell his business, and that such a sale would almost certainly result in the loss of hundreds of jobs. Allen said that he had been fighting off takeover attempts for years, but that he didn’t know if he could continue to do so in the face of the current administration’s policies.