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The Entrepreneur's Holiday Wish List


Here's what it would take for America's risk-takers to start taking risks again.

But this is a holiday wish list, so we might as well lay it all out while we're at it.

We entrepreneurs want a president who will articulate a vision but will also be willing to negotiate based on the reality of today, like almost all his predecessors. We want a Congress that passes bills and budgets acceptable to the majority rather than those rammed through by one extreme over the other extreme's objections. We want Congressional leaders more concerned about creating jobs than about protecting their own.

We want income tax rates that don't sunset, regulatory frameworks that aren't subject to whim, and an overall fiscal picture based on a hashed-out consensus that economic growth and innovation are always good for Americans no matter which party controls the White House or either house of Congress.

And there's something else we want, too. We've been watching as the private sector has been completely remade by the innovations of information technology and the Internet. We want elected officials who'll remake the government the same way – both for its own operations and for the industries and sectors it oversees, regulates, and funds.

We want a military that has a logistics operation that's as relentlessly efficient and technology-driven as Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) is. We want an education establishment that reconsiders whether the "wise man at the front of the room" model is the only way – or even the best way – to educate our kids, or whether new models like Coursera and Khan Academy might be pointing to a better, more powerful way.

We want the country's largest, most out-of-control industry – health care – to become the province of innovators and visionaries rather than lobbyists and turf-protecting providers. We want agriculture that's market and information driven rather than subsidy and central planning driven, and we want to know that efficiency and effectiveness will be the guiding factors for reform across all other sectors, too.

In short, we want the same change wave that has made private enterprise leaner and meaner allowed to wash over government now, too. And we want to know the overall rules and know they won't be changed on us midway through the game.

We want America's sails tuned to the great winds blowing through the global economy. If they are, we'll go forward quickly. It sure beats the alternative.

Happy holidays.

Editor's note: Shawn D. Terry is Co-Founder & Managing Director of MHT Partners, a Dallas middle market investment bank.Shawn D. Terry is Co-Founder & Managing Director of MHT Partners, a Dallas middle market investment bank.
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