This post generated an enormous amount of interest.
Fascinating. There are some great comments. The responses boil down into two perspectives. One, that the government is a giant leech preventing entrepreneurs from succeeding, through regulation which makes it impossible to fire people and demand high taxes yet provide no return to those companies. Or, the government creates a situation where “you pay to have access to a pool of highly educated potential employees who get free(ish) health care, childcare, pensions.” Both of these perspectives seem reasonable.
I wonder if there are opportunities for American politicians to learn from a debate like this. Could the US government find ways to assist in this kind of situations? For example, stability is a critical issue for any new small businesses (actually a problem for large established businesses nowadays as well, but the topic of another post). Could a stable organization like the government provide guarantees of stability that could assist instable businesses in ways that promote societal needs? What if the government promised to cover expenses for hiring women that might get pregnant later? There is a long term cost which a stable organism like the government could reasonably assess and manage which is extremely challenging for a small business to deal with. I believe I speak for many entrepreneurs who have made the wrong hiring decision too many times and feel paralyzed by fear around hiring someone. I’ve read the literature on “Top Grading” and I love it and it is another thing to add to my todo list which seems secondary to the other requirements around building a new business.
If the government created structures like this, guarantees to cover maternity leave for a small business that took the first step to hire someone that they perceived as a risk, a businesses could worry less and governmental goals (if you are not a cynic) of creating a more stable and prosperous society, through job creation and reduction of societal stress, are achieved. Everyone wins. Would this be something that social conservatives (who lament supporting a “welfare state”) would come to the table around, given that the business is putting something at stake first; nothing is given up front. Liberal thinkers come around as well, given that this creates a stronger fabric of support created by the government. This is something that a large governmental body is best suited to deal with. My inner libertarian suggests that our politicians would wreck this kind of idea, but I’d like to believe it could work.