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The Slowdown in American Entrepreneurship: How Would a Democratic President Respond – And What Should Be Done?

By / 1.14.2020

In the November debate among Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Cory Booker said the following: We Democrats also have to talk about how to grow wealth, as well. … [W]e as Democrats have got to start talking not just about how we tax from a stage, but how we growth wealth in this country amongst those disadvantaged communities that are not seeing it. … Small businesses, new startups are going down in this country. … We need to give more new entrepreneurs access to wealth.

What was notable about these statements was not so much the substance of what Booker said but that he said anything at all about entrepreneurship. During that debate, the word “entrepreneur” was only mentioned twice, both by Sen. Booker, who has since droped out. In fact, the word “business” was only spoken five times by the candidates on stage. Two of those were Booker talking about actual business creation. Others were in the context of assertions about “business as usual” in Washington. (Tom Steyer did mention his business experience.)

During the December debate, entrepreneurship was mentioned roughly zero times. The sole mention of business creation was by Sen. Elizabeth Warren in talking about her plan to erase most student loan debt. The only time the word “entrepreneurship” was actually uttered was when Andrew Yang talked about serving as “an ambassador of entrepreneurship” during the Obama administration. (And those mentions came toward the end of the night.)

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