(Lorraine Hunt-Bono) – Small business in America (defined as 500 employees or less) is 99% of all businesses in our country. These businesses are the backbone of our economy, providing 70% of all new jobs and and funding 45% of payrolls for the working middle class.
Yet in the billions of dollars doled out in the name of a Stimulus Plan, little or nothing was done to help small businesses keep their doors open and their employees working.
Today on almost every major street corner in America you see empty stores. Closed, Out of Business, and For Lease signs are everywhere. The impact of bad public policy decisions emanating from Washington, D.C., is being felt everywhere in America.
Our jobs, businesses, and bank accounts are vulnerable to only two things-acts of God or acts of politicians. One we have no control over; the other, we do.
Who Really Creates the Jobs?
How simple could it have been if our politicians had taken the advice of practical, hard-working, small business owners experienced in creating jobs and familiar with the responsibility of signing both sides of a paycheck. Instead, they listened to “Elite Economic Advisors” to create complicated schemes to revive the economy- flawed schemes with no basis in reality.
In the real world, risk takers and entrepreneurs create jobs. They thrive only when taxes on them and their employees are low. Businesses succeed when they are not burdened with excessive regulations and rules to running their businesses, when they have the flexibility to adjust to the challenges they face, and when they have a government that gives them a strong, stable foundation to succeed- not one that drains their energy and resources at every turn.
To get Americans back to work and boost the economy, America’s job creators (small businesses) need stable public policies that help small businesses maximize profits and spur re-investment to create new jobs.
The wild speculative changes being forced on American taxpayers today prevent businesses from relying on stable, long-term, and predictable rules on how to plan their course for the future. Each morning, we wake up to a new Washington, D.C., “seven minute enthusiasm” that unveils a “new and improved” stimulus plan to turn the economy around. It is ludicrous and fool-hardy. Plus, it endangers the backbone of our country- small businesses and the workers they employ.
Give America’s small businesses and their employees reduced payroll costs, low-cost catastrophic health insurance, lower taxes, and financial credit lines. They do not need tax credits to hire new employees. They just want to keep their current ones.
Business Before Politics
Politicians would better serve the public in areas of fiscal policy if they owned and operated a small business before they ran for political office. Budgeting, prioritizing, and fiscal discipline would then be familiar to them. As an example, I would like to share a story with you:
In 1988, former United States Senator, George McGovern, the Democratic presidential nominee against Richard Nixon in 1972, decided to fulfill a lifelong dream- he purchased the Stratford Inn, a quaint bed-and-breakfast in Connecticut. Two years later, the hotel went out of business. In a subsequent article in the Wall Street Journal, Senator McGovern humbly admitted the well-intentioned laws he aggressively supported in Congress were the same laws that put him out of business, into bankruptcy, and his employees out a job. “Regrettably,” he said, “I should have been a businessman first and a congressman second.”
As we strive to make this a better country for our children and grandchildren, let us get back to basics and appreciate what made “America the Beautiful” so wonderful- freedom and opportunity for all, rights with responsibilities, and limited government intervention in our personal lives and in our businesses. Let’s not change that.
There is no place like the United States of America. We are still the lamp lighting the world, especially for those who are impoverished, who see our light and want to join us. People struggle to get into our country- not out of it. Reflect on how far we have come and protect the legacy left to us by those who came before us.
(The Honorable Lorraine T. Hunt-Bono is a 50-year resident of Nevada. She is a prominent businesswoman, Commissioner on the Nevada Commission on Tourism, a former Lieutenant Governor and President of the Nevada State Senate.)