Political Rhetoric Up, Small Business Sentiment Down

During the political conventions, both parties promised a new tomorrow for small businesses. Unfortunately, there is an unhappy small business community today. According to results from the recent SurePayroll survey, most indicators are down:

  • Optimism of small business owners in August was at 60%, which represents a 2% decline from July.
  • Hiring in August (compared with July) was down by 0.1% (and paychecks for employees was down by 0.2%)
  • Only 18% of small businesses sought loans in 2012, and 32% of these had trouble obtaining them.

How does this play against the political backdrop?

Democratic Party platform

The Democratic Party platform related to small business states:

“Small businesses employ half of all working Americans, and, over the last two decades, have created two out of three net new jobs. Democrats believe that small businesses are the engine of job growth in America. President Obama signed 18 small-business tax cuts to encourage businesses to hire more workers and make job-creating investments in machinery and equipment and proposed significant additional small business tax relief. He encouraged investment and supported start-ups by allowing businesses to write off the full cost of new equipment and machinery they bought in 2011. Altogether, the President’s Small Business Jobs Act accelerated $55 billion in tax relief through 2011. Democrats made it easier for small businesses to access the loans they needed to grow and hire. The President signed into law changes to help entrepreneurs raise capital while maintaining key investor protections. Small businesses are now once again creating jobs. Democrats have helped small businesses provide health insurance to their workers with a tax credit to help pay for the cost of coverage. In 2014, the tax credit will grow and small businesses will be able to pool their purchasing power together to get affordable coverage.

We recognize the importance of small business to women, people of color, tribes, and rural America and will work to help nurture entrepreneurship.

President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to continue cutting red tape for small businesses, helping them sell their goods around the world and access the capital they need to grow. This includes tax cuts for small businesses that make new investments, hire more workers, or increase wages.”

GOP platform

The GOP platform related to small business and entrepreneurship states:

“America’s small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, employing tens of millions of workers. Small businesses create the vast majority of jobs, patents, and U.S. exporters. Under the current Administration, we have the lowest rate of business startups in thirty years. Small businesses are the leaders in the world’s advances in technology and innovation, and we pledge to strengthen that role and foster small business entrepreneurship.

While small businesses have significantly contributed to the nation’s economic growth, our government has failed to meet its small business goals year after year and failed to overcome burdensome regulatory, contracting, and capital barriers. This impedes their growth.

We will reform the tax code to allow businesses to generate enough capital to grow and create jobs for our families, friends and neighbors all across America. We will encourage investments in small businesses. We will create an environment where adequate financing and credit are available to spur manufacturing and expansion. We will serve as aggressive advocates for small businesses.”

Bottom line
It is great to see both parties acknowledging the importance of small business to the U.S. economy. This rhetoric is great, but actions following the election are the only meaningful thing for small business and our country.

It’s vital for small business owners to assess whether the last four years of a Democratic Administration have been helpful to their companies and the economy, and to decide which party going forward can better serve small business interests. Vote accordingly.


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