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The Top 5 State of the Union Disappointments

Author: Dan Danner, NFIB President and CEO Date: February 04, 2014

For a brief moment, it seemed that President Obama had finally recognized the important role that small business plays in the nation’s economy. Early in his Jan. 28 State of the Union speech, he called on Congress to “help the entrepreneurs and small-business owners who create most new jobs in America.”

But in typical fashion, he then delivered Main Street one disappointment after another.

At least he didn’t repeat his jaw-dropping comment of “You didn’t build that!” But if you had any doubts about the president’s ability to understand the challenges you face, this speech should erase them.

  • The first of five eye-popping disappointments for small business emerged when the president announced 12 big-government schemes--most of which will bring even more federal regulations and higher costs to your door—and all craftily designed to side-step Congress.
  • Second on the disappointment list was his insistence that his terrible Affordable Care Act is a done deal, so, he commanded: learn to live with it. In his view, anyone who opposed the law must give up and let the government mandates rule.
(Note: That’s not the opinion of NFIB or Main Street, Mr. President. We’ll continue to work to bring about fair and affordable health insurance. And we’ll do it with the support of millions of Americans, especially small-business owners and their employees who are rapidly learning how your poorly designed health law, contrary to promises, will not only drive up their health costs, but result in lower quality care and, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, 2.5 million fewer jobs.)

  • No. 3 downer was the president’s call for corporate-only tax reform. This patently ignores one of the most serious challenges to entrepreneurship: fundamental revision of the U.S. tax code. In particular – lowering both the individual and corporate tax rates and demystifying the excessively complex body of law that wastes small-business owners’ time, effort and financial resources.
  • His fourth letdown for small firms was an ill-considered decree to hike the minimum wage to $10.10 for new employees of federal contractors. “Give America a raise,” he coerced Congress. It was a politically-astute boost for his supporters, but an unwise move sure to hurt all Americans in the long term, particularly those who own their own businesses and others who will find fewer job opportunities than they do now.
  • No. 5 discouragement for Main Street was not a bit subtle. Instead of championing the millions of you who have taken big risks, sacrificed much and yes, built your own businesses, the president instead tipped his hat to the technology sector as America’s favored innovators and leaders of commerce. True, these companies are creative and enjoy popularity. But the foundation of our economy is comprised of millions of small businesses whose day-to-day efforts aren’t flashy, but keep the nation afloat.
President Obama’s agenda remains, sadly, frozen in a fundamental misunderstanding of you and your business.


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About the Author

Dan Danner, NFIB President and CEO


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