More lip service for Main Street in State of the Union

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30 2014 2:40 p.m. MST

President Barack Obama delivers the State of Union address before a joint session of Congress in the House chamber Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, in Washington, as Vice President Joe Biden, and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, listen.

Larry Downing, Associated Press

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“Let’s do more to help the entrepreneurs and small-business owners who create most new jobs in America,” President Obama said in the first few minutes of his State of the Union address. “Over the past five years, my administration has made more loans to small-business owners than any other [administration].”

Although the president’s plea to promote “Made in the USA” to the rest of the world is laudable, I was surprised there was no further mention of the access to capital crisis faced by the Main Street businesses that he suggested create “most new jobs in America.” Particularly in light of the millions of Americans still on the unemployment rolls.

Not too many weeks ago, in the midst of rumors that the Small Business Administration (SBA) was going to be buried within a consolidation that included Commerce and Labor, the president tapped Maria Contreras-Sweet, a former small-business lender from California, to take the reins with the departure last year of administrator Karen Mills. I was pleased to see the president potentially put to bed rumors of irrelevance surrounding the SBA, but I was disappointed in the passing mention of what could be a positive force in an effort to promote job growth.

Of course it’s easy to cast stones and complain. In an effort to avoid the tenor of intransigence and backbiting that is now functionally crippling Washington’s ability to accomplish anything, I’d like to toss my two cents into the conversation and share what I would have liked our president to say regarding small business, Main Street and job growth.

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