July 1, 2013
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Congress and the White House are stifling entrepreneurs, which is causing the economy to underperform, former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina said Monday. She recommended simplifying the tax code and streamlining regulations that stymie small business.
“There are more small and new businesses failing and fewer starting in this time than at any time in the last 40 years,” Fiorina told a crowd at the National Press Club.
Fiorina, a former Republican Senate candidate and adviser to the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and John McCain, said entrepreneurs are increasingly risk-averse and believe the government is hostile to their efforts.
“People are saying, ‘You know what, the risk of failure is getting too high and the reward for success is becoming too low,’” she said.
“This depressed state of entrepreneurship I believe is why our economy is underperforming. It is why our unemployment rate is stubbornly stuck.”
Fiorina provided four recommendations for the federal government to inspire innovation: radical simplification of tax codes; immigration reform; “zero-based budgeting” to require government agencies to justify every dollar spent, rather than cutting existing line items; as well as a regulatory review through a task force of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Jason Stern, president of Braddock Communications, which works with small businesses, largely supported the recommendations, but said it would be important to know how many jobs they would create.
“It is accurate to describe Washington as a place that works well if you’re big,” Fiorina said. “Washington doesn’t work well if you’re an innovator or entrepreneur who is so busy trying to build your future for yourself, for your family, or for your community.”
– Sonali Basak of Medill News Service