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More Bad News For Small Business Growth

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
President Obama paid homage to small businesses last week in announcing Small Business Week explaining all the things his Administration is doing to encourage entrepreneurs and spark growth in small businesses. More and more, President Obama’s speeches are becoming a cruel joke. Even as Team Obama talks up the importance of small business growth, entrepreneurs are facing increased burdens imposed by the Obama Administration. The gap between the rosy scenario that Obama wants to portray and the hard realities that small businesses face is growing wider by the day.

Small business owners and start-up entrepreneurs understand just how hollow the Obama Administration’s commitment to small business growth really is. The president delights in announcing new initiatives. The trouble is that these initiatives are not useful, never work as the President promised, and more often disguise the many business killing ideas that the President champions.

For example, President Obama’s big initiative, called the Small Business Lending Fund, to help spark loans to small businesses, was launched with great fanfare over seven months ago. The President called in some small business to act as props to this initiative that he promised would stimulate $30 billion in new lending to small businesses. Obama even made this idea the centerpiece of his “commitment” to small business in the State of the Union Message.

As Americans have come to know, President Obama has particular difficulty translating any of his words into workable policy. So, it should come as little surprise that after eight months, the President’s big idea to spark $30 billion in small business lending ,a href="">has yet to lend a single dollar to a single small business. And so it goes.

The sad truth that the President cannot seem to grasp is that his policies are eroding entrepreneurialism and small business development. How bad is it? According to a recent Wall Street report, all the major office equipment and supply companies such as Staples, Office Depot and OfficeMax are reporting lower than expected quarterly earnings. This is devastating news for small business growth because there is a direct connection between lower sales for office supply companies and the struggles of the small business community.

For many small businesses, their first credit-like account is their office supply account. Long before the small business obtains a corporate Visa or American Express, long before the business has enough business to warrant a bank line of credit, that small business often has a credit card or credit line offered from the office supply store.

For many small businesses, the office supply store is the first place where the small business builds its credit worthiness, creating a track record of small purchases paid off in a timely manner. Even if the small business doesn’t use the store credit, most small businesses use their personal credit cards to purchase office supplies.

So, when small businesses are crushed by overly intrusive, overly burdensome Obama Administration policies that penalize growth and increase the small business owner’s taxes, the small business cuts back. It’s not just that the small business stops expanding and stops creating new jobs. The small business also stops making purchases of everyday business supply items, which contributes to lower sales for larger entities such as Staples and Office Depot.

The Obama Administration has spent the last 28 months proving to Americans that they haven’t the foggiest idea of what it takes to make a business successful or how to create private sector jobs. Obama only knows how to create government jobs, which result in additional cost for the American taxpayer.

Obama claims that his small business policies: "will make America stronger and more competitive." But, each day, Americans can see how little Obama understands about competitiveness. Crippling taxes, wealth redistribution, trillions of dollars of debt are disincentives that crush small businesses and make the U.S. less competitive. Small businesses create 3 out of every 4 jobs in America, but their reach is far greater than just the creation of jobs.

My advice to the president: Stop spending, stop pretending. To improve the economy and reduce jobless numbers, leave business and job creation to the businessmen. Spend time creating a better, lower tax environment where business can thrive. When small businesses see the Obama Administration helping rather than hindering, then, Staples and Office Depot and office supply stores across the country will see an increase in the numbers of small businesses spending in their stores. Now that’s a win-win for everyone.

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