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Steve Mariotti

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European Small Business Crisis: Is America Next?

Posted: 07/23/2013 7:19 pm

Tiziana Marronne, dubbed a "White Widow" by Italian media, read her husband's suicide note on network tv. "Today is an ugly day...." While reading her husband's final note, she read: "I ask for forgiveness from everyone... I love you, Guiseppe."

Recently, Guiseppe Campaniello, a small entrepreneur/artisan set fire to himself outside Equitalia's government tax offices in Bologna, Italy. The agency was charged with chasing down over 154 billion in back taxes and fees including sending out collection notices to thousands, including Campaniello who was put out of business due to the country's soured economy and his overwhelming tax bill.

With the recent 18-billion-dollar bankruptcy by the City of Detroit, when will our overdrawn federal, state and city governments begin to prey on small entrepreneurs in the country? What is in your mailbox?

According to the New York Times, "social scientists say that some nations, like Finland and Sweden, avoided a rise in suicide rates in times of crisis because they invested in labor-market projects -- initiatives to help get people back on their feet -- instead of cash handouts."

But perhaps the global economic downturn is in part because of excessive taxes on the entrepreneur as well as economic illiteracy?

Here is my initiative begun over a quarter of a century ago.

Twenty-five years ago, my successful small business career led me to teaching business at a troubled Brooklyn High School. Faced with 55 unruly students, I developed the world's first entrepreneurship program for at-risk, special education youth. Years later, The Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) has graduated over 500,000 students world wide.

According to Paul Wisenthal, the nation's leading journalist on at-risk youth, "If students can't find jobs or start a business, how can we expect them to pay back their student loans or be able make a living?"

Hopefully our economists and government leaders will avoid the wave of financial suicides that have plagued many European countries. It costs less that 1000 dollars per NFTE student to teach them entrepreneurship in school.

Business literacy will help reverse this trend and hopefully avoid tax collection notices in your mail box and more suicides.

 
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