American Industry: Saddle Up

Listen up, American industry. We are not in a recession or economic slowdown.

This is a full-blown financial and economic collapse brought about by years of public mismanagement. The government created the subprime mortgage problem and has done everything it can to make the situation worse. We're the only ones that can get us out of this mess, and it's past time for us to act.

Here's what we need to do.

First, stand up for the private sector. We're sick of being the whipping boy for politicians, unions, NGOs, and other interest groups only to be later hit up for donations when their funds run low. Our firms serve paying customers, individuals and organizations with real choices in the marketplace. If we are successful, we create far more wealth for others via jobs, investments, and tax collections then we ever see ourselves.

The reality is that the private sector works. Even in this crisis we're in, Americans can still buy food, energy, medication, entertainment, communication, transportation, and everything else they need to get through the day. That's despite the tens of thousands of pages of new legislation that is dumped on us every year by the thousands of government officials standing between us and our customers, suppliers, investors, and employees.

The answer to what's ailing America is more market competition, not more regulation. Our citizens have five hundred channels on their digital televisions but can't get their children out of a failing public school or sign up for affordable health insurance because meddling bureaucrats have restricted supply. If we don't champion the free market, what alternative will people have to institutionalized failure?

Second, speak the truth. Do not be afraid to tell employees that well-meaning politicians have made the prospects of layoffs far more likely, or to inform customers that the current legislative agenda will make their goods and services less affordable. Any concerns about offending left-leaning associates must take a back seat to the welfare of customers, employees, and investors that will be harmed by these policies.

Understand that while some will always accuse us of politicking or advocating our own self-interest, most fair-minded people will listen, recognizing that our opinions and observations simply carry the weight of our responsibilities. Most Americans are practical people and they have little use for political correctness or false hope, two commodities always in oversupply. They want honesty.

Third, get involved. Voting for a major candidate once every four years isn't engagement. Run for office yourself if you have the thick skin, or else support good people who are doing so, especially at the primary level. Those of us who have managed multi-million dollar projects or investments may be surprised at what a dozen $2,300 contributions can do early in the election cycle. No incumbent wants to face a well-funded primary challenger.

The goal of a political party is to build a national organization that can effortlessly put allies into undeserved positions of power. This is the path that leads to lightweights like Nancy Pelosi writing a $787 billion stimulus bill. Rather than supporting a party, consider supporting organizations that understand and respect the contributions of private industry and market-based solutions, that back candidates that share those views, and that are effective at getting messages out in both traditional and conservative media.

There are a number to choose from. A few examples: FreedomWorks, American Solutions, AEI, the Club for Growth, and the Heritage Foundation. For the Democrats that want to rescue the party from the progressives, there's the Third Way and of course, the Blue Dogs.

Libertarians have both the Cato Institute and the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, among the smartest minds on economic issues. All of these organizations not only produce excellent and insightful reports, but they are supporting us in some way and returning the favor is the right thing to do, especially in these critical times. By the same logic it may be time to drop that subscription to the Economist.