The political conventions have passed, the August jobs report is out, and many Americans are said to be “giving up hope.”
So how can we jumpstart our greatest engine of economic growth – the American small business market – and get our economy growing again?
Regardless of which presidential candidate wins this November, in 2013 Americans will have to focus on saving, and expanding, the small business marketplace. The sector of our economy that makes up nearly 60% of the entire American private sector workforce, and creates between 60 and 80% of all new jobs, has been under attack over the past few years by politicians who have created lots of bad laws.
And if Americans are serious about expanding actual employment (rather than merely expanding government welfare and entitlement programs), then we will have to make better choices at the ballot box, and hold our elected leaders responsible for making serious changes. To start, let’s consider consider this harsh reality: the so-called “fiscal cliff” is real, and President Obama’s proposed solution to it is potentially lethal.
Under current federal law, both income tax rates and Social Security tax rates are set to rise dramatically on January 1st of 2013. Along with these tax increases, a dramatic reduction in government services will take hold at the same time.
This confluence of private citizens having more of their money taken away (higher taxes), and a reduction of government services (which means that private citizens will have to fill the gap and spend more of their own money) is expected to trigger a new recession next year. As a means of preventing a “double dip,” both Republicans and Democrats in the Congress have proposed that taxation rates be frozen where they are at, and held steady in 2013.
But President Obama has insisted that taxes should be raised on so-called “rich people” next year, and has refused to do what most economists and many members of his party have said is the one thing that could save us from another downturn.
And with the President polling as well as he is, it seems apparent that millions of Americans are far more excited about his “make the rich pay” rhetoric than they are aware of the consequences of his proposals. Obama supporters may get their wish in November, but it will come at a painful price – a price that all of us will pay.
And here’s another harsh reality: Americans need to get comfortable with other people’s financial successes. Since the early days of his first presidential campaign in 2007, Barack Obama has been pouring fuel on the fires of resentment and envy towards the wealthy. As a political strategy this has worked well for the President, but as government policy this has been bad for all of us.
The President’s tax-hike push is a perfect example, as many of America’s small businesses are set-up under the I.R.S. code as “Sub-chapter S” corporations. These are businesses wherein the company profits are reported to the I.R.S. directly as personal income by the business owners and are subject to personal income tax rates – and many of these business owners are being targeted by President Obama for an income tax-hike.
If the President gets his wish, and the government begins confiscating more money from the owners of Sub-chapter S corporations, by definition this leaves less money in these corporations for hiring and expansion. Thus Americans have a choice to make – do we want to employ our President for another four years so he can satiate the hatred some of us have towards “the rich” and take away more of their money? Or would we like private business owners to have money available to employ more of us? From the way things appear right now, we probably can’t do both.
And here’s harsh reality number three: Americans have to stop Obamacare from wiping-out small businesses. A central feature of this law is the mandate that businesses provide healthcare insurance to their workers. It sounds great – workers will now be “guaranteed” health insurance – but once again, the “make somebody else pay” approach is heaping more weight on the shoulders of small business owners.
Americans must decide how serious they are about job creation – even if it means that some jobs won’t include health benefits. If we honestly want employers to employ more, we must force the Congress and the President to fix this devastating component of Obamacare next year.
And here’s yet another harsh reality: Americans must stop making small businesses a scapegoat on illegal immigration. Roughly two-thirds of Americans want our national borders secured and a coherent immigration policy, yet for over a decade Washington has refused to do the former and has scarcely attempted the latter.
Amid the frustration, businesses have become the target of Americans’ wrath. If business owners would simply quit hiring illegals -so the reasoning goes -the illegals would go away.
Mitt Romney has pledged that, if elected, he will seek to require American employers and workers to register with the federal government’s “e-verify” website, as a means of policing the problem. But this adds even more bureaucratic burdens to small business owners, and ignores our failed immigration policies and un-secured borders.
Do we want politicians who merely tell us what we want to hear? Or do we want leaders in our government who can actually enable businesses to grow? Americans must become more discerning-and face some harsh realities.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.