Granted, the targets of the tea party and OWS are very different. The tea baggers are focused on the folks in Washington, while the OWS crowd is going directly to the real source of power: The people who have the folks in Washington on their payroll. (So you could argue that the OWS is aiming their protests at much better targets).
And quite honestly, I have never understood the tea party's complaints about how a government that is allegedly too big caused all the damage. How have big government and overregulation caused the current misery, since, for the last 13 years, we've been paying some lowest tax rates in decades, we've been on a deregulatory path for 31 years, and this financial crisis came on the watch of a very very business-friendly administration?
In an interview with John Stossel, Peter Schiff begs to differ:
Schiff, who operates a brokerage firm with 150 employees, recently complained to Congress that "regulations are running up the cost of doing business, and a lot of companies never even get started because they can't overcome that regulatory hurdle."If you were an entrepreneur, would you rather pay for people to help you implement your business plan, or for compliance officers?
Schiff claims he would have hired a thousand more people but for regulations.
"I had a huge plan to expand. I wanted to open up a lot of offices. I had some capital to do it. I had investors lined up. My business was doing really well. But unfortunately, because of the regulations in the security industry, I was not able to hire."
So if he wants to hire an analyst, he can't just hire him? "I had to get permission to publish their research, which I didn't get for years. And so I can't pay analysts if I can't sell their research.
People don't appreciate the number of regulations entrepreneurs face. Schiff pays 10 people just to try to figure out if his company is obeying the rules.
Of course, Rich passes over the reason why larger business concerns don't necessarily mind regulators -- they constitute a barrier to entry for potential competitors. Anything that keeps smaller competitors away from their core business provides an indirect competitive advantage to the larger concern. Back to Schiff:
"You can't just act very quickly, because everything has to be done through this maze of compliance. Even my brokers ... find out that maybe 20 percent, 30 percent of their day is involved in compliance-related activity, activity that is inhibiting their productivity. ... All around the country, people are complying with regulations instead of producing, instead of investing and growing the economy. They're trying to survive the regulations."
You can believe Rich, or you can believe Peter Schiff. At bottom, that's what the debate is about anyway.