Small business, big problems

The engine of America is stalling -- and so is this administration

The key to getting this economy going again is to get jobs going – and that’s the job mostly of small businesses.

Small businesses, those employing fewer than 500 workers, represent 99 percent of all firms and employ about half of all private-sector employees. They’re responsible for some 65 percent of job growth in the past decade-plus.

To hear President Obama tell it, he’s Mr. Small Business – having cut small business taxes 18 times.

Investor’s Business Daily begs to differ.

“They are either too narrowly targeted or too complicated, require businesses to jump through hoops to qualify, or are too temporary to have any long-term incentive effect,” IBD writes of Mr. Obama’s minimal tax cuts.

“They are, in short, designed more to give Obama something to brag about than actually to help small-business owners.

“All of which might help explain why Obama’s policies have left small companies increasingly pessimistic.”

Indeed, the National Federation of Independent Business “small business optimism index” plunged in June, and as IBD notes, “just 3 percent say they plan to add employees over the next three months.”

The economy is an absolute mess, as the Orlando Sentinel noted in its editorial endorsing Mitt Romney – four years after having endorsed Barack Obama.

“Economic growth, three years into the recovery, is anemic,” the newspaper writes. “Family incomes are down, poverty is up. ...

“We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years.”

Nor is there anything in Mr. Obama’s approach to business that suggests cause for optimism. Critics rightly point to his unguarded remark that “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

What an insult to every business owner and entrepreneur who ever got up early or stayed up late working his or her tail off building a business.

They deserve better from their government.

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint has been meeting directly with owners on his “Saving Small Business Tour” – and told us last week there is great pessimism about the land.

Tax uncertainty and the health care law are preventing many from hiring, and even those trying to hire are finding that potential workers can make nearly as much money from staying at home with government benefits.

DeMint also said business owners are being crushed by government regulations and uncertainty over rule-changing. They’ve gotten to the point where they think the government is their biggest enemy.

Writes IBD: “Obama may think he can fool the public into believing his tax policies are helping small companies survive and thrive. Small-business owners know better.”

Let’s hope the rest of the electorate does too – if they want the economy to improve.

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