by Brooke Medina
Vice President of Communications, John Locke Foundation
This past weekend, I visited West Jefferson, a lovely town tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I enjoyed spending time interacting with the small business owners that opened their doors to tourists like me.
The owner of Mountain Outfitters was extremely helpful, ensuring my husband and I found the exact item we needed. The servers and atmosphere at Slice WJ have cemented my determination to eat there every time I visit West Jefferson (try their Italian nachos!). And the hospitality of Stan and Bry, the owners of the delightful Tiny Escapes, who rent out their properties through Airbnb, was unforgettable.
As I walked around West Jefferson, my mind wondered at what it was like for business owners, such as these ladies and gentlemen, when their governor in Raleigh issued sweeping mandates that impacted their ability to provide for their families and employees. How do the decisions that happen in Raleigh help or hurt the important work they do?
I have no idea where each of these business owners stands politically, and frankly, it doesn’t matter. They deserve to earn a living and reap the fruits of their labor.
And it seems the majority of Americans agree.
A plurality of Americans think the government should mind its own business when it comes to business, based on a recent Gallup Poll. After 18 months of government mega-growth (have you seen those federal revenue receipts?!), Americans seem to be bellyful of bureaucracy and ready to put Leviathan on a diet.
Could this be a small glimmer of hope for those of us who advocate for limited government? Are increasing numbers of Americans recognizing that even during one of our most collectively difficult times of at least the past two decades, more government was rarely the answer? Is there a growing concern that the regulatory burdens and haphazard policies politicians place on businesses like Slice WJ and Stan and Bry’s Airbnb enterprise have gone too far?
I hope so. And passage of bipartisan bills, like this one that Gov. Cooper signed into law last week, are exciting steps in the right direction. As we get closer to the 2022 election, it’s important to remind ourselves that being a good neighbor, showing hospitality, and investing in our communities will create more positive change across North Carolina than all the central planning and regulatory burdens in Washington and Raleigh ever could.