Small Business Needs Strong Leaders

Date: May 15, 2014

We need to make changes in Washington, D.C. Will you help?

Sometimes it just feels like your own government is dedicated to making your life more difficult. And sometimes, it’s more than a feeling—it’s the truth.

It’s hard to say how much of the anti-business activity in Washington, D.C., is merely negligence as opposed to hostility. But if you’ve ever worried about whether you are being too sensitive or paranoid, I want to reassure you that your instincts are right. I believe we are experiencing an unprecedented moment of utter cluelessness and dysfunction in our nation’s capital. There is good reason to be angry and more than a little bit scared.

Every day, there is something in the news that reveals antipathy or antagonism toward business owners. For example, Pres. Barack Obama’s 2015 budget proposal contains significant increases in enforcement dollars for the U.S. Labor Department—$200 million to be exact—to crack down on wage and workplace safety laws. Fifteen percent of that money will go to the Wage and Hour Division to hire hundreds more investigators to target employers in industries they think are “most likely to break the laws.” They believe that means you.

How insulting. The president seems to have forgotten that business owners like you are far more known for creating jobs than for breaking laws. Meanwhile, the government is clearly favoring other groups, such as labor unions, which are benefiting from the near-constant tweaks and changes to the disastrous healthcare law. Unions were just exempted from one of the many new taxes the law is imposing on insurance plans. On the other hand, your costs are through the roof, and you don’t know what you’ll do once you lose your grandfathered plan.

If I sound fed up, it’s because I am. And I know you are, too. Today, government action seems dictated almost entirely by politics. Having given up on a bitterly divided Congress, the president is governing by “phone and pen” in a way that rewards his political friends and punishes his political enemies. Unfortunately, the bureaucrats who work for him seem only too happy to dictate more rules and regulations to a population they know very little about: small business owners outside Washington, D.C.

How can we change this toxic culture in our nation’s capital? It will take leadership at every level, starting with you.

As a business owner, you’re a leader in your community. It’s critical that you encourage everyone in your community— young people, in particular—to observe government and politics in a thoughtful way that considers the economic impact of public policy. Remind them to hold their elected officials accountable at the polls.

To future generations, your leadership and unique understanding of what works for our economy might just make you a hero.

Related Content: Playbook | Economy | Small Business First

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