The hobbling hand of government
The vast majority of America's small business owners, the key job creators in the economy, say Washington's policies are hostile to job creation and antagonistic toward free enterprise — and that federal policies have become even more hostile in recent years.
That judgment comes at a time when the public's top priority is jobs and, as reported by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the “real gross domestic product — the nation's output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — decreased at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.”
This indictment by small business owners of the federal government's anti-business biases and anti-jobs policies comes at a time when some 23 million Americans are out of work, counting those who are officially counted as unemployed plus ex-workers who've prematurely dropped out of the labor force, along with those who've been involuntarily cut from full-time to part-time jobs.
From January 2009, the month President Obama entered the Oval Office, to June 2012, real (adjusted for inflation) median household income in the U.S. dropped by $4,019, according to income data from the Census Bureau.
That decline largely was the result of slow economic growth and the subsequent weak demand for labor, a growth deficit that's likely to be only further weakened by recent tax hikes on investment incomes and small business earnings.
In a January Job Creators Alliance poll of 600 small business owners in the U.S. with 100 employees or fewer, 70 percent said Washington's policies are hostile to free enterprise and job creation and that the barriers created by the federal government to job expansion have become only more burdensome in recent years.
The most significant job killers, as reported by small business owners, in order of importance were taxes, health care and regulations. More specifically, 60 percent of small business owners said ObamaCare would negatively impact their businesses this year.
Similarly, the majority of minority- and female-owned businesses surveyed view the federal government as an adversary.
Small business owners also stated that the inability of Washington's politicians to restrain government spending would negatively impact their businesses.
What's important here is that the people who innovate, invest, risk and work, creating most of the new jobs in America, now view the federal government as an adversary, an impediment to individual success and business survival, and as an antagonist that's getting worse.
Documenting the vital role of the small-business sector, a 2010 study by the federal government's Small Business Administration reported that independent businesses with from one to 500 employees generated 65 percent of all net new jobs in the private sector of the U.S. economy over the previous 15 years.
Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), the son of a village storekeeper and the 30th president of the United States, had it right. “After all, the chief business of the American people is business,” he stated. “They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world.”
Coolidge's political genius was “active inactivity,” wrote Walter Lippmann in 1926, an inactivity that “suits all of the business interests which want to be left alone” and “suits all those who have become convinced that the government in this country has become dangerously complicated and top-heavy.”
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur. His email: email@example.com
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Distracted Steelers show nothing in loss to Eagles
- NFL could delay punishment
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- 6 arrested after brief SWAT standoff in Fineview
- Coral-Graceton cat clinic new group’s latest spay/neuter effort
- LaBar: Hulk Hogan wants to fight Brock Lesnar?
- Carol Burnett to receive Indiana museum’s Harvey Award
- Youngwood shelter removes 44 dogs, 9 cats from shuttered Fayette SPCA
- Steelers notebook: Keisel dresses, but doesn’t play
- Will soft foes mean fast start to the season for Pitt football team?
- Pittsburgh city vehicle repair delays elicit gripes about Cincinnati company