At a time when the economy needs the public and private sector to run on all cylinders, Congress seems determined to get in the way of creating jobs and stimulating growth in local communities. The shutdown of the U.S. Small Business Administration costs $100 million every day in loans that aren't going to small business owners who need capital to grow and hire employees.
Regardless of which side of the aisle you find yourself, U.S. Congress, with the lowest approval rating ever (a measly five percent), has backed itself into a corner with short-sighted and ill-conceived demands that are effectively strangling small business and likely to bring job creation to a halt.
Earlier this month the National Federation of Independent Business published its Small Business Optimism Index for September, reporting among other things that small business owners are less likely to hire new people (down nine percent from August) and are less optimistic about the economy’s ability to improve (down 10 percent from August) even though they have job openings (up 20 percent from August).
For small business owners who need to stick their necks out to spend resources and grow their business, anything Washington does to unnerve them puts the brakes on job growth and hurts local communities.
“The change this month [in the Optimism Index] was little more than ‘statistical noise,’ but the drop in outlook for future economic conditions is evidence that many owners are keeping an eye on Washington,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Prospects for politicians and policymakers ‘getting it right’ are low, and job creators are rolling their eyes and shaking their heads thinking, ‘This is certainly not the way to run the largest enterprise in the world.’ Between botched healthcare implementation and one manufactured crisis after another, consumers and small business owners are likely to remain pessimistic, accepting the notion that growth is going to be sub-par and that their government is likely to continue in dysfunctional mode for months to come.”
It’s hard to blame the small business owner who stops hiring.
“Capital has stopped," said Bob Coleman, editor of industry newsletter Coleman Report, in an interview. "Over $100 million a day in SBA loans are not getting to small businesses so Congress needs to get back to work and open up.”
Granted, the SBA is not the only place small businesses get financing to create jobs, but it doesn’t take long before $100 million a day adds up and becomes real money—causing a real negative impact on small business job creation.
I agree with Solomon that it’s time for our representatives (and I use that term loosely) in Washington to get back to work. If that means compromise or capitulation, so be it. On a personal note, I’m not pleased with those from Utah’s delegation standing in the way of getting the government back to work and intend to follow the advice of a bumper sticker I noticed on the way into the office this morning: Re-Elect Nobody.
There might not be any easy answers to the challenges faced by small businesses responsible for two out of every three new jobs created in our country and half of the workforce, but shutting off capital and eroding confidence is definitely not the right answer.
If you’re a small business owner and feel the same way as your colleagues in the NFIB Optimism survey, take a minute to contact your Congressional representatives in the House and Senate and encourage them to put an end to this nonsense now. Urge them to put partisan politics aside for the benefit of the nation and get the economic wheels turning again. Press them to do whatever it takes to reach an agreement rather than holding the economy hostage and endangering the already shaky recovery.
Here is their contact information:
Rob Bishop: Utah’s 1st District
Chris Stewart: Utah’s 2nd District
Jason Chaffetz: Utah’s 3rd District
Jim Matheson: Utah’s 4th District
Orrin Hatch: Senator
Mike Lee: Senator
As a main street business evangelist and marketing veteran with more than 25 years in the trenches, Ty Kiisel writes about leading people and small-business issues for lendio.com.