As power brokers in Washington continue to negotiate the terms of the biggest single spending package in American history, an important player is not at the table — or even in the room.
America is a small business economy. Yet right now, America’s small businesses are struggling like never before in the face of unprecedented challenges. But rather than help small businesses overcome those challenges, Democrats in Washington are more concerned with multitrillion-dollar spending deals that will do much more to hurt small businesses than help them when they need it the most.
The National Federation of Independent Business recently released its findings for the month of September, and things aren’t looking good for small businesses. Only 10% of small business owners reported no impact from the recent supply chain disruptions, while over two-thirds reported moderate or significant impact. Faced with a continued labor shortage, a net 42% of small business owners reported raising employee compensation — a record 48-year high.
Fifty-one percent of owners reported being unable to fill job openings in September, the third consecutive month that this nearly 50-year high has been recorded. Also, the NFIB Uncertainty Index increased by a whopping five points. If there’s one thing that limits success and risk taking, it’s uncertainty.
NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg clearly identifies the reasons for dwindling optimism and rising uncertainty among small business owners: They “are unable to hire workers or receive the needed supplies and inventories,” while “the outlook for economic policy is not encouraging to owners, as lawmakers shift to talks about tax increases and additional regulations.”
There you have it, folks. Tax increases and additional regulations. Small businesses need help, but the current administration is set to dump a whole lot more hurt on them instead.
Although the White House appears to be retreating from some of its initial desired tax increases in the face of opposition from moderate Sen. Krysten Sinema, negotiations over the funding of President Biden’s massive spending plan are still ongoing and nothing is off the table. The deadline for a deal is the end of October, and no matter what that final package looks like, it’s unlikely to be good for the small business economy.
As if this weren’t bad enough, vaccine mandates on businesses with more than 100 employees threaten to put many out of business entirely. “We’re hearing from our members that it’s about 30% of their workforce that don’t want to be vaccinated,” according to Job Creators Network President Alfredo Ortiz. “… It shuts them down, literally; they can’t function.” These mandates are totally irresponsible in the middle of a severe labor shortage and prove that Big Government is only good at crushing small businesses’ dreams. The government needs to focus more on helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, rather than putting up hurdles for them to jump over.
Unfortunately, nobody in Washington seems to care what small business owners think, even though they’re responsible for almost half of all the jobs in the country. Rather than taking the time to learn about and understand the challenges small businesses are currently facing – and how the tax and spending plans Congress is considering might compound or exacerbate those challenges – politicians in Washington are conducting negotiations behind closed doors. Whatever they decide, small businesses will have to live with it, or die from it.
The simple fact is that levying any sort of tax increases on individuals or businesses of any size during tough times is a bad economic decision. Whether it’s a $1.9 trillion spending package or a $3.5 trillion spending package, spending anything close to that amount of money at a time of rapidly rising inflation and exploding budget deficits is fiscal insanity.
Small businesses are the engine of our economy, driving innovation and growth while providing a substantial portion of the tax base. Their interests and concerns deserve to be heard by the politicians who are currently crafting tax and spending policies that will determine the fate of small businesses all over the country.