Politicians grasping for ways to get the economy back on track should spend some time talking to our nation's struggling small businesses. Since small businesses account for nearly two-thirds of U.S. jobs, the revitalization of this vibrant sector is pivotal to restoring American prosperity and putting people back to work. But do the administration and congressional Democrats who control Washington truly understand this simple reality?
According to small business owners, entrepreneurs and their fellow job creators, the answer is an emphatic "no." From their vantage point, the expensive anti-competitive agenda coming out of our nation's capital is undercutting their ability to grow and thrive. Small businesses, they point out, are drowning in a rising tide of uncertainty, fearful that their cost of doing business will skyrocket.
The widening sense of frustration toward government is evident in a November poll taken by the National Federation of Independent Business. Asked to name their single most important problem, small businesses cited "taxes" and "government regulations and red tape" as their second and third greatest concerns, respectively ("poor sales" finished first).
So we see that the administration has a credibility problem. It talks tough about creating jobs, fostering economic growth and reining in the debt; its policies do the opposite.
The laundry list of missteps includes the $787 billion so-called stimulus, which fell well short of creating the jobs it promised; the national energy tax known as cap-and-trade, which will hike energy costs for businesses and working families; the trillion-dollar government takeover of our nation's health care system, which imposes burdensome health coverage mandates on employers and small businesses; card check; and looming marginal tax increases.
This month, Republicans presented President Obama with a no-cost jobs plan based on achievable ideas and common-sense solutions that could immediately help spur job creation and economic activity. This balanced approach would show the American people that Washington is not disconnected from the everyday concerns of working families and that we are all committed to restoring confidence in the economy.
Our plan would halt all detrimental new rules and regulations, block the barrage of pending tax increases, show a commitment to lowering our nation's mushrooming debt by freezing spending at last year's level, assisting community banks and small businesses with the downturn in the commercial real estate market, improve the unemployment system to help people out of work find jobs and approve pending free-trade deals that promise of influx of jobs in America.
These are simple solutions that don't involve massive new government spending, new bureaucracies or more debt. They are instead based on time-honored principles proven to create jobs and ultimately economic prosperity in America.
Small business and private industry have always driven American prosperity, spurring innovation and attracting investment from all over the world. That's why Republicans reject Washington's current attempts to squeeze this most productive part of the economy in order to fund larger government programs and more unnecessary spending.
The America we must rebuild is one that rewards hard work and stands for competitiveness, transparency and accountability. We urge Obama to work with Republicans to strengthen small businesses and give private industry the incentives to grow and create jobs.