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Send a Message about Political Power to the President

Author: Dan Danner, NFIB President and CEO Date: March 31, 2014

“If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Given what we learned about President Obama’s world view when he uttered those infamous words back in 2012, I know it comes as no surprise to you that he still believes in the omnipotence of government—specifically, of his government.

Less than halfway through his second term, we are seeing the president blatantly manipulate the federal government and unilaterally change our nation’s laws on a weekly basis. When he does this, he often rewards his political friends… but he often harms you and your business. In my view, he is dangerously underestimating the political clout and impactful leadership of America’s small business community.

Big Labor, for example, is clearly a political priority for the president. He is carving unions out of some of the toughest regulations and fees under the foolishly named “Affordable Care Act.”

Meanwhile, the Act is strangling your ability to provide health insurance for yourself, your family and your employees. This will hurt the president’s party in November.

I imagine Big Labor was also pleased to see the recent presidential memorandum directing the Labor Department to raise salary thresholds so millions more workers would qualify for overtime pay. Their fingerprints are also on the push to raise the minimum wage and a new OSHA proposal to force small firms to electronically report injury and illness information where unions (and even your competitors) could peek into it and possibly use it against you.

Meanwhile, the president has asked Congress (how big of him to ask this time) for more federal enforcement funds for the Wage and Hour division at the Department of Labor. Why not focus on compliance instead, as we have seen past Labor secretaries do? Because this president—like his friends in Big Labor—is certain that more and larger government is the solution to everything.

Environmental activists are no doubt pleased with President Obama’s aggressive approach to rewriting federal law. With the president’s blessing, the EPA has become an aggressive arm of the environmental movement. EPA recently reinterpreted (or, we believe, misinterpreted) the Clean Air Act so it could regulate greenhouse gases contrary to Congress’ action.

Because we know that could be bad for your business, NFIB is bringing this challenge to the Supreme Court to prevent the agency from taking unchecked authority and strong-arming small businesses into using expensive “green technologies.”

All of this is frustrating and discouraging, to say the least. But we are not without recourse. There is one simple, powerful way you can inform the president that the political power of the small business community is one he has grossly underestimated: Get active in this year’s elections. Make sure you, your friends and your family members are registered and vote for small business-friendly candidates in November’s election. Let’s show the president that we are a political powerhouse, too.

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About the Author

Dan Danner, NFIB President and CEO

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