Monday, January 7, 2013

"Whole-of-Government" Commitment: And This is a Good Thing?

    Today, an article appeared on the White House blog with the grandiose title "A Whole-of-Government Commitment to Inclusive Entrepreneurial Growth." The post begins:
Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the engines of American innovation and our economic success, and President Obama is committed to helping them grow and prosper. Our nation’s small businesses employ over 60 million Americans, or half of the private sector workforce. 
    The article goes on to list a multitude of government resources available to entrepreneurs and small business owners, but the tone of the piece is set early with this [emphasis mine]:

Last year, President Obama spoke with his Cabinet about how every Federal agency has a role to play in promoting the success of American entrepreneurs[.]
    Every Federal agency?  All 479 of them?  Including the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry?  The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports?  Even the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation?  The disturbing answer is probably, yes, although a cynic might substitute "thwarting" for "promoting" in the sentence above.

    I realize the Small Business Administration has been around for decades (since 1953,) but the level of government involvement in the creation, direction, and nurturing of small businesses has been taken to a whole new level by the Obama administration.  One of the websites featured in the White House blog article is business.usa.gov.  Based on its interface, it might as well be named Starting a Small Business for Dummies:

    If that's not enough, the About Us page of the website spells out the administration's vision of small business in America, 2013:
To strengthen America's competitiveness in the global economy, businesses will need to be equipped with the best tools and information available to support innovation and job growth in the 21st century. BusinessUSA is your front door to all the government has to offer...
    "All the government has to offer."  I fully expect the Obama administration to soon throw all pretense to the wind and name its next website "youdidntbuildthat.gov".  Hey, maybe I should register that domain name now!  I wonder where I could find out how to do that?

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