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Human Events - President Obama Lacks Small Business Understanding

Op-Ed

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By Representative Daniel Webster

In 1961, when Orange County was still orange groves, my father left a very good job to start his own business. In order to make the company successful, my father didn't take a salary. Instead, he invested back into the business, and used that capital to expand.

As a registered nurse, my mom helped make ends meet by working nights and weekends in the emergency room at Florida Sanitarium (now Florida Hospital). I was twelve years old and prepared most of the meals because I was a better cook than my older sister, something I still joke about with her today.

We were a normal family, living in a modest three bedroom one bath home in Pine Hills. We worked hard, paid our bills, and did whatever we could to help each other become successful.

None of this was easy, but we never looked to the government for help. Fifty-one years later, my sons are now running our third generation family business.

President Obama recently revealed a lack of understanding about the struggles of small businesses. Campaigning in Virginia, President Obama asserted that flourishing entrepreneurs were not responsible for their own success saying, "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made it happen."

The President's statement exposed his fundamentally flawed beliefs about both the current direction of our nation -- and his thoughts about those who have sacrificed to make it the greatest nation in the world.

On a personal level, these comments are insulting.

My father and mother invested everything they had into building our family business. I learned more from observing them than I learned during all my years of formal education.

These are difficult times. A small business owner today faces greater challenges than my father did. Increased government red tape and the looming threat of higher taxes overshadow and discourage aspiring entrepreneurs. Sometimes I wonder if my father would have been able to start his own business if he faced today's challenging government intrusion.

The President's policies of higher taxes, excessive government regulations, and runaway spending are making it more difficult -- and sometimes impossible -- for America's small businesses to grow and hire more employees.

Rather than making things harder, government should encourage job-creators to succeed at what they do best: hire and expand. The first step to freeing up our economy is to remove the threat of raising taxes.

Secondly, we must reform the tax code. Businesses need a straightforward and simple system that cuts out special interest loopholes and returns more money into taxpayer's pocketbooks. A simpler tax code will offer the certainty that businesses and families need in order to make plans and invest in the future.

Finally, we should encourage hiring by implementing initiatives like the One New Employee (ONE) Act, which provides a tax credit of $5,000 for a small business that hire an additional employee. Small businesses compose 95% of American business entities, amounting to nearly six million companies. If each of these small businesses were incentivized to hire just one new person, the overall unemployment rate would fall to below 5%.

My family's experience mirrors countless others across America who have struggled, but still succeeded. Due to Dennis and Mildred Webster's sacrifice and commitment, our family business has survived. Today, there are millions of business owners like them who are striving to do the same -- not only for their own success, but to pass along to future generations.

Despite what the President claimed, it was not the hand of government that built it; it was grace of God and our own hard work. It's time to give small businesses owners -- the backbone of this economy -- not only the credit for this success since it's built through their own talents, ingenuity and inspiration, but also the tools to get government out of way so they can get on with rebuilding our economy.


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