Thursday, December 22, 2016

Small Business Has Been Under Assault For Years

Small Business Is Important To Communities
One group of Americans that seem solidly behind the new President and are hoping to see something positive occur are those engaged in operating a small business. The Associated Press recently reported a surge in the confidence of small business owners much of it is based in the belief Donald Trump will focus on issues important to them as business owners. Once the backbone of this country businesses with two to ten employees are becoming an endangered species. The family business has been under assault from the unintended consequences of the many laws and mandates passed in recent years. Inspections, a plethora of permits, licenses, taxes, insurance requirements, and regulations make it almost impossible for a small business to open, compete, and operate legally.

Big government has become toxic for small business. Today very few Americans are actually able and willing to risk capital and try to meet a payroll. This is because it often means they have to buy health insurance for their workers, lease an attractive site, maintain business licenses, observe myriad obscure regulations while creating a market that makes economic sense. This puts a target on their back requiring them to innovate and compete with cutthroat competitors. While doing all this they are also asked to meet disability access standards, remain on call 24/7 for any business emergencies, and stay up late into the night trying to juggle interests of employees, business, and community.

There is a solid reason why today only 2% of all Americans actually employ at least one non-relative employee. The owners of small businesses are burdened with spending countless hours trying to comply with the red tape rather than in earning a living. According to the Small Business Administration only 10% of Americans own a business and 80% of these are single self-employed businesses. The remainder of Americans busy themselves with demanding jobs that will return more for less effort, they seek jobs that will provide higher than average wages, a full complement of generous benefits and frequent paid holidays. Most also seek a definite work day without after hour calls or responsibilities.

America has become not so much a capitalist society as a worker's society demanding socialist protections, this is a large part of why America appears to have lost much of its competitive edge. Though usually denied by government employees, jobs in Government often pay better and are less demanding than those in the private sector. Many government employees also are also protected by unions and work rules that provide them with security and generous benefits that small business and much of the private sector do not enjoy. As a result of this reality, it is not uncommon that a vast number of talented workers prefer to slip into dead end paper shuffling bureaucratic jobs rather than set out on the path to becoming an entrepreneur.

It has been said that money is the mother’s milk of politics, this in many ways has been the Achilles heal of small business. The lobbyist that represent banks, big business, and special interest have had their way to the detriment of America and small business. They have shaped and crafted regulations that have shifted commerce strongly in their favor. As the stocks of large companies rise we are often oblivious to the names of local businesses that cease to exist. Even as many small businesses try to carve out a niche they can defend against the giant retailers down the street they must also compete against exploiters like Amazon that have no brick and mortar presence and also benefit from avoiding local and state sales tax.

Big Box Stores Now Contain Flowers Shops
Years ago America was faced with the question of whether bigger is better as Wal-Mart expanded across the land. Wal-Mart and other big box stores proved the advantage of size which allows for whole departments to specialize in dealing with Government regulations that have become the bane of the small businessman. The sad truth, while efficient in distributing goods these behemoths diminish cultural diversity and alter the fabric of society. The jobs they offer neither fulfill or excite, few people grow up filled with the desire to work at a big box store like Wal-Mart or in an Amazon warehouse.

My point is that small business and entrepreneurship are key in making America great again but the sad truth is that beyond the Lemonade Stand of childhood few Americans know anything about running a business. Running a business in America is complex and requires knowledge and smarts, if we want to create more jobs Government must encourage small business formation by slashing through the regulations, simplifying, and removing the burdens that make it so difficult. Government can do a lot to equalize the playing field between small businesses and their larger brethren but it should be through well thought out policies. We have to decide what kind of communities we really want to live in and if America is going to remain a land of opportunity.

No comments:

Post a Comment