Small busi­ness ex­pec­ta­tions

Na­tion’s job cre­ators are wait­ing for Novem­ber

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion -

In a speech to the Cham­ber of Com­merce last month, Pres­i­dent Obama pro­claimed, “Now is the time to in­vest in Amer­ica.” A Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Busi­ness (NFIB) sur­vey shows small busi­nesses aren’t buy­ing it.

Last year was a flat one ac­cord­ing to NFIB’S Small Busi­ness Op­ti­mism In­dex, re­veal­ing no net gain for the cal­en­dar year. A year-to-year com­par­i­son re­vealed that “no progress was made in 2011,” ac­cord­ing to NFIB Chief Econ­o­mist Bill Dunkel­berg. “This does not make for a com­fort­ing fu­ture, a fact re­flected by low con­sumer and small-busi­ness owner op­ti­mism.” This pes­simistic out­look isn’t pro­jected to change for 2012. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port ac­com­pa­ny­ing the data, the sur­vey in­di­cates that the weak econ­omy will con­tinue to hob­ble along at a slow pace.

“Jan­uary [2012] small busi­ness eco­nomic trends were no bet­ter than 2011,” NFIB Pres­i­dent Dan Dan­ner told The Washington Times. “Our small-busi­ness own­ers’ ex­pec­ta­tions of the over­all busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment haven’t got­ten any bet­ter in the last year ... there are more of them that say they’re go­ing to lay em­ploy­ees off over the next cou­ple months than hire. Their over­all out­look for the next six months is slightly neg­a­tive. So our guys are still not see­ing the re­cov­ery. And the ad­min­is­tra­tion and oth­ers [say] that un­cer­tainty is not a fac­tor but for them it is the fac­tor.”

Health care, the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment and taxes are the three main ar­eas de­press­ing busi­ness ex­pec­ta­tions, ac­cord­ing to Mr. Dan­ner. Small­busi­ness own­ers are see­ing their health-care pre­mi­ums spike by as much as 20 per­cent. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion still hasn’t de­cided what will be re­quired in a min­i­mum ben­e­fits pack­age, which in­creases anx­i­ety by busi­ness own­ers who can only guess at the pun­ish­ment that’s com­ing. Such un­cer­tainty leads busi­nesses to hold onto their money in­stead of spend­ing it on hir­ing new peo­ple or projects be­cause they don’t know what the fu­ture will bring and how much their costs will in­crease.

Hav­ing to plan ac­cord­ing to worst-case sce­nar­ios doesn’t in­spire the con­fi­dence needed to make the sort of risky in­vest­ments re­quired to pro­duce ro­bust eco­nomic growth. “The scope and breadth of the reg­u­la­tory bur­den are hav­ing a crip­pling ef­fect on job cre­ation and small busi­ness as a whole,” Utah Sen. Or­rin Hatch said in a Feb. 14 speech. “Ul­ti­mately, this is a tragedy for young men and women just en­ter­ing the la­bor force, for fam­i­lies strug­gling to get by, and for en­trepreneurs who are pre­vented from grow­ing busi­nesses due to these reg­u­la­tory bur­dens.”

To top it off, small-busi­ness own­ers know that this pres­i­dent is de­cid­edly not in their corner, so any ef­forts by Congress to al­le­vi­ate small-busi­ness bur­dens wind up at the same dead end on 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue. The over 350,000 mem­bers of NFIB “don’t be­lieve this pres­i­dent will sign much that is small-busi­ness friendly,” said Mr. Dan­ner. “When you look at this en­vi­ron­ment out there of an out-of-con­trol gov­ern­ment, they’re pretty hes­i­tant to in­vest, so they’re sit­ting on the side­lines, they’re not in­vest­ing, they’re not cre­at­ing jobs and they’re not very op­ti­mistic.”

Among these dark eco­nomic storm clouds, there is a sil­ver lin­ing. Small-busi­ness own­ers are dis­cussing the up­com­ing elec­tion when they will cast their votes for pres­i­dent. When they do, what they talk about is change.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.