31 August 2011

Hitting the Refresh Button

(Yes, I've been missing from this blog for awhile. I was promoted at my job a year ago, then moved to a new office six months ago. I've learned many lessons in the past year, and now I'm ready to share them.)

Tennessee loves its entrepreneurs. Nashville, especially, seems poised to foster growth of the small business for the future. When I read a piece in the Nashville Business Journal about Senator Bob Corker visiting the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, it seemed like a fluff piece. Then I read that, according to the paper, critics warn "that corporate recruitment could lose momentum if [Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam's] administration loses focus or sends a conflicting message about its priorities." A little further reading into a past article revealed that some Democrats worry that our former Governor Phil Bredesen's efforts at corporate recruitment could be hurt by this new administration's focus on growing small businesses and entrepreneurial activity. These worriers believe we need jobs now, and we should therefore focus on wooing large corporate relocations into the state.

This seems like an idea born from people being contrary just to be contrary. Why would Democrats--or anyone for that matter--fight empowering people to create jobs because it takes away from corporate recruitment? Why is this even a political issue at all? The middle Tennessee area has suffered some of the highest losses in manufacturing jobs in the country since 2008, devastating some areas with massive unemployment. The shuttered Saturn factory, the doomed Borders distribution center, and every closure that came between should remind us that if we as a nation don't teach our citizens how to employ themselves, we weaken our communities. Yes, we need jobs now, and no one is suggesting we put corporate recruitment on a back burner. However, we must also foster a society of self-starters. Beyond that, we must also teach our small business leaders how to be successful after they start. Perhaps the biggest lesson I've learned in the past year: the government isn't killing small businesses. People who run their businesses badly are killing small businesses. That, I believe, is an unacceptable and entirely preventable situation, and I'm ready to start talking about how we turn this situation around.

Power to the people, my friends. It's time we get back to a little self-reliance.

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