Up   |  October 07, 2012

Small business in a world of Walmart and Amazon

Up host Chris Hayes and his panelists examine antitrust laws and how they truly affect small businesses. Hayes asks, do Americans care about small business in a world of Walmart and Amazon?

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> there's a fantastic book you should check out buy a guy names barry lynne. it's called "cornered." it's the history of anti-trust. there was a tradition that was proconcentration. get rid of small businesses . this was a left/right belief where the big con sol day tors and the socialists thought, yeah, big enterprises. we can organize the workhorse. at the end of the new deal, there was a turn toward much more anti-trust and an explicit policy of trying to create competition and try to preserve small businesses . i was reading about how in france they don't allow large book sellers to sell under cost the way amazon does. that's just something we would never do here. it's amp thet cal to the american belief and the price system . you can't tell people the price they can sell books. if you were serious there's a social value to small businesses as small, independent book sellers you could do that. another area of policy is patent law . it seems those are two big parts of american policy that don't get discussed.

>> well, my brother and i started a business in the mid-'90s in chicago. we eventually filed for two patents. we got them after our business was shut down.

>> sad horns.

>> we owned so much in legal fees. if anyone came up against us, we couldn't afford to go after them.

>> that's the issue not talked about. not only do you not get the patent, you have to defend the patent.

>> what does that mean? there's interesting reporting being done on this and hasn't bubbled up.

>> i'm a small business owner, i get a patent. you big business are violating my patent. i have to fight you. you have deep pockets, i don't. who is going to win?

>> plus the microenterprises that are patent trolls , they sue people for patent information.

>> this is in vermont. it's right. i have been talking to business folks there that have patents and they are getting sued constantly. this is an area where government should provide clarity. if you have a patent it should be resolved and settled quickly. you have to give up what you are earned.

>> the administration tried, it's a funding issue. it's underfunded to get them out.

>> 8:36 is when we got to patent office funding in the show.

>> it's important.

>> i know it's important.

>> starting a small business is really hard. saying that cutting taxes is great but it's not that easy. if we are going to be competitive, we have to care about infrastructure, immigration, access to capital, consumer demand . it's hard to talk about in a debate, but it's reality.

>> we talk policy frame works. the number of u.s. jobs in new companies over the last four administrations going back to george h.w. bush . my point is marginal -- it's very hard to look at that and tell a story about marginal tax rates as the thing that is defining. obviously, you have seen high levels of --

>> you know, i want to make a point about new companies. we talk about small businesses , the savior, we are going to create jobs. what people don't realize is as a small business person, your goal is to not hire people. your goal is to keep your expenses down as low as possible while creating revenue.

>> labor is very expensive. it's the biggest part.

>> it's very expensive. with the internet, all this technology, it's easier to run a company without hiring as many people.

>> my colleague, j.j. ramberg, co-author of "it's your business" tips to transform your business and host of "your business" here at 7:30 a.m . eastern. americans face pressing issues aside from the economy, we just didn't