I only blog about my accounting practice indirectly when I express popular sentiment as I hear it from my small business clients. We in the trenches of the economy have a vantage point on the action the generals simply don’t have. I listened to part of the State of the Union last night and heard all the promises and nope none of us are buying in. CNN Money has a good story that drives home the point, here is a snippet:
….small business owners across the nation say they feel left out of the stimulus and recovery action.
“Basically, it seems to me that Washington’s efforts have been to help Wall Street, not Main Street,” said Kim Griebling, president of Custom Flag Company in Westminster, Colo. Griebling and her father bought the company in 1998 and now employ a staff of eight. As the economy deteriorated, so did the demand for flags.
Griebling applied in September for an America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) loan, an emergency financing program created as part of February’s stimulus bill. The program offers qualifying business owners a small, government-backed loan on very attractive terms, but those trying to land ARC loans face a gauntlet of administrative obstacles. While bailed-out financial giants like AIG got financing fast from Washington, business owners wait months.
“People don’t realize that $35,000 for a small business makes a huge difference. I am on the verge of possibly having to lay off people,” said Griebling. Her loan was approved in December, but she hasn’t received the money yet — and her patience is wearing thin.
Late yesterday afternoon I consulted with a gentleman that employs over 100 people in good paying jobs that is wrestling with whether to take a chance and “winter” some of his workforce in hopes things turn around. It is a conversation I’ve had a lot over the past 2 years. Capital is scare these days on Main Street so it is very hard to expand. The scarcity of capital rightfully causes the decision makers to conclude they must hoard their cash reserves to insure the long-term survival of the business. Jobs inevitably are lost as a result.
We’ve watched the President and Congress piss away a year cuddled up with special interest in the monstrosities also known as health care reform, TARP and regulatory reform. Here on Main Street we’re smart enough to know taxes must go up because no business or government can sustain living on debt. But that doesn’t mean it is OK for you to spend even more money we don’t have.
Still Mr Prez. actually talked the talk last night like he gets it now. He can prove it on health care by doing 4 things that will not cost a nickle of tax money and will actually save money:
- Repeal the insurance antitrust exemption so that private market competition is fostered
- Repeal the “Tauzin deal” that prohibits Medicare from negotiating prices with drug companies. (Ol’ boy Billy went straight through the revolving door to work for big pharma after he did that. Now gee isn’t that a surprise.)
- Require generic drugs in Medicare unless the doctor certifies that a brand name drug is medically necessary.
- Require insurance plans to offer parents the option to cover their children up to age 27.
If the Republicans want to filibuster this in the Senate so be it. The voters are smart enough to figure out who is up in DC lining their own pockets and cuddled up with the special interests.
I’m not holding my breath.