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Politicians Aren't Worried About Small Businesses

Author: George A. Cloutier
March, 2008 Issue


    As the presidential campaign season gets busier and busier, candidates are talking about illegal immigration and the 11 million illegals in this country. But no one is talking about the issues that directly affect and concern the 23 million small business owners in the United States. Small businesses are being neglected and left out of the political process. My question to all the candidates is: Where’s the beef? Isn’t it about time we had some specific plans and proposals from our presidential candidates about how they’ll be trying to help out small business owners? I think it’s about time we heard some real solutions to the real problems small business owners face on a day-to-day basis.

    With the results in for the first few primaries, one thing is clear: There’s going to be a contest on both sides of the aisle for the 2008 presidential nominee. This means more campaigning, more rhetoric and more speculating on whose base is being shored up. The focus on change and which candidate is truly apt to deliver is thinly veiled; talk of change is cheap. Now is the time to challenge both sides to spell it out.

    A recent job report showed unemployment at a two-year high, with Democrats blaming President Bush and Republicans blaming the Democratic majority in congress—but neither side is taking action.

    Regardless of whose fault it is, the nation’s 23 million small business owners are bearing the brunt. Now’s the time to ask the tough questions, like why the Small Business Administration’s budget has been cut by 31 percent since 2000. Now’s the time to ask what’s next.   

    Neither party is doing anything about the current situation. As a result, unemployment numbers are rising and small business owners are suffering and feeling the financial impact of a poor economy. Small business owners are feeling squeezed from all directions, yet no solutions are being provided. Instead of empty talk and rhetoric, it’s time that all parties offered specific solutions.

    Change may be a great slogan, but go ask the 23 million small business owners if they’re feeling any change in their day-to-day living situation. They’ll tell you they’re feeling change, but its direction is going down, and not up. It’s time that small business owners be taken seriously. We can’t wait until after the 2008 elections. Every day, small business owners around the country are struggling to make ends meet.

    Before the primary season even began, American Management Services and Suffolk University released a poll confirming that small businesses felt alienated from the 2008 Presidential election by both major parties. It showed 66 percent of respondents unable to identify a single policy proposal targeted at the nation’s small business owners.

    The economy has already proven to be a hot-button issue, second only to Iraq. In Michigan, the economy tied with Iraq in terms of issues that concern voters the most. With small business serving as the backbone of our economy, supplying 99.6 percent of all employer units, how and why have candidates been able to skate by this long without addressing our plight in this country?

    Small businesses are probably the most essential building block of communities in both rural and urban areas. They’ll ultimately prove to be an important voting segment as this race continues to ramp up. It’s not just Democrats vs. Republicans. With 33 percent of small business owners identifying themselves as Independents, we have the makings of a wild card across the board.

    A call for change isn’t enough. We need to challenge the candidates to speak our language. We need to hold them accountable now for what they have (and haven’t) done. We can’t wait any longer, small business owners need help as soon as possible—before it’s too late.

    Instead of a call for change, its time for a call to action.


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