Business owners and farmers know that for a business to be successful, it must be run effectively. There is no room for unnecessary expense or unnecessary effort. The burden that has been placed on our businesses and farms by governments at all levels over the past decades is a tragedy, especially in rural America.
For example, it costs businesses between $ 140 billion and $ 215 billion a year to comply with IRS rules and file a tax return, according to the Washington post in a 2018 article. This cost has accelerated dramatically over the years, mainly due to the increasing complexity of the tax code. From when the income tax was passed in 1913 and 1940, the code was only a few pages long, and the average American had no problem filing a return. From 1940 to about 1950, the code exceeded 10,000 pages and approached 80,000 in 2021. This blatant inefficiency costs us incalculable loss of productivity and makes us less competitive with foreign companies; thus, each year we lose more American jobs because of foreign competition.
Another example: I recently wrote a column about the burden of government regulation on our business community, noting that between 1970 and 2017, the number of words in the Code of Federal Regulations nearly tripled from 35 million. to over 103 million, according to a 2019 study. article published on Forbes.com, written by Adam A. Millsap. His study showed that a 10% increase in regulation increases consumer prices by 1%. Another inefficiency that American businesses cannot afford.
Additionally, government programs such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) are structured such that rural businesses struggle to qualify and pay all costs. For example, if I want the SBA to help me finance a new building or addition to house my business in, I have to hire a professional engineer and professional architect and pay union wages to build it, which speeds up dramatically. the costs. The program is almost worthless in Bourbon County.
How do inefficiencies disproportionately impact rural America? Additional costs due to inefficiencies drive industry consolidation to reduce overhead costs. Invariably this means closing branches in less populated areas or selling the business to a larger entity. Bourbon County experienced this pain directly when we lost Western Insurance.
We cannot continue to absorb the growth of these government inefficiencies. We must seek to simplify the way we raise incomes and reduce the government burden on rural Americans. Our economic future and our rural way of life depend on it.