During the final days of the presidential slugfest, candidates are sharply focused on jobs and propping up the small business industry to hopefully repair a crumbling economy.
A recent Wall Street Journal article states that, “Policies aimed at giving small businesses easier access to capital are ‘critical’ to nearly half the nation's entrepreneurs, according to an October survey of owners whose firms bring in annual revenue of between $1 million and $20 million.”
The need for capital has never been more vital on a day when the country could possibly elect a new leader. Frustrated and at the end of their rope, small business owners and entrepreneurs are sounding off in the media, expressing concern that their constant cries for help are falling on deaf ears.
“They (politicians) listen intently, but when they get down to the bottom line, what focus will they really give small business entrepreneurs? Oftentimes it is not enough,” Francis Carroll, founder of the Small Business Service Bureau of Worcester told The Worchester Telegram & Gazette.
Some business owners see Mitt Romney as the obvious choice to obtaining more backing and small business support.
“Basically the Democrats are tax and spend. The Republicans want smaller government and are concentrating on small business,” Thomas Oliveri, owner of Peppercorn's Grille and Tavern and Wormtown Brewing Co told The Telegram. “(Presidential candidate Mitt) Romney understands how business operates. He's been entrenched in it all his life. I feel more confident with him running the ship than (President Barack) Obama. If Romney is elected, I think we will start to spiral upwards. If Obama is re-elected, I really fear this country may spiral down into some really bad economic times.”
However, the Obama administration has referred to work that has already been done in favor of small businesses such as signing the Small Business Jobs Act; a $30 billion program aimed at helping community banks increase lending to small businesses.
Obama also backs a critical Senate bill still waiting to be passed that would allow credit unions to provide more member business loans. For several years, credit unions have been restricted on member business loans based on their loan to asset ratio cap.
Many credit unions are either near or at the cap and have to turn away qualified applicants. With the onslaught of restrictions and regulations placed on banks, business owners report having difficulty securing funding for vital loans through banks and credit unions are often the only answer. Passage of the bill would allow the member business loan cap to be raised from 12.25% of the credit union’s assets to 27.5%.
The Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act (S. 2231) and the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (H.R. 1418) have the support of not only the Obama administration but 21 Senate and 128 House co-sponsors.
Bank Transfer Day chief Kristen Christian was busy last year motivating Americans to move their money from big banks to credit unions. Her initial 500 Facebook invitations grew to include more than 60,000, not to mention the media hype her initiative received.
With last year’s efforts being considered to be a success, why isn’t Christian ringing the Bank Transfer Day bell again this year? She says that instead of reminding consumers to move their money, this year she is focused on creating groundswell and support for the passage of S. 2231.
She is quoted in MyBankTracker saying, “While we’ve seen significant media attention dedicated to the Presidential race, I’ve yet to see significant steam for Senate elections,” she said. “This piece of legislation has a potential to create 140,000 jobs at no cost, yet lacks the support in Senate many voters feel it deserves.”
Yesterday, Christian spent the day in Baton Rouge, LA drumming up attention and excitement about S. 2231. She plans to continue to back the Bill until it is finally passed saying, “The best advice I can give to anyone who seeks to implement significant change is to approach their efforts with patience, reason, love and a sense of humor. I’ve found love to be far more effective than hatred.”
Like Christian, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson said that he felt the pain echoed amongst business owners but said in a February 2012 Washington Post article that the federal government was the real problem to why people cannot find work.
“With the real unemployment rate probably well above 10 percent, we have to, as President Kennedy said, ‘get America moving again.’ When I visited Occupy Wall Street, I felt the frustration of young people who wanted to work but couldn't get an interview, much less a job. What's even more frustrating is that when I visit business owners and employers, I meet people who want to hire, but can't.”
“Meanwhile, the federal government is spending us deeper and deeper into debt while we shell out billions in foreign aid we can no longer afford and trillions more for foreign wars in which our national interest is just not apparent to me,” he adds. “Republicans and Democrats have both failed to respond to this reality. In order to create jobs now, we need radical surgery, not a haircut.”
Johnson has said that eliminating corporate income tax is the only way to get small business in America chugging again. In his policy proposal, he writes, “Americans are more concerned than ever before about the future of our economy, and those concerns are well-founded. As a nation, we simply can't afford to continue borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar we spend.”
He adds that the U.S. must adopt three approaches, which include cut spending, cut taxes, eliminate the corporate income tax so that America will once again be a great place to start a business and reduce federal involvement in the economy.
One presidential candidate who has not only has been a strong credit union supporter but one who fully backs the passage of S. 2231 is Green Party presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein.
When Dr. Stein spoke with Credit Unions Online last month she said that credit union resources should be used to help community businesses. “We need to jump start worker coops and this is where credit union resources are perfectly suited. The money must be available to be loaned out at low rates so that people who want to start a sustainable community based business can get the credit to do that.”
Dr. Stein’s Green New Deal speaks directly to how her administration would revise a broken banking system to provide more opportunity for businesses. In her plan she writes, “Under the Green New Deal we will start building a financial system that is open, honest, stable, and serves the real economy rather than the phony economy of high finance.”
She adds that her Economic Bill of Rights ensures that all citizens have, “The right to employment through a Full Employment Program that will create 25 million jobs by implementing a nationally funded, but locally controlled direct employment initiative replacing unemployment offices with local employment offices offering public sector jobs which are ‘stored’ in job banks in order to take up any slack in private sector employment.”
It’s time to choose America--who do you think will be the champion of small businesses?By Gina Ragusa