[Warning: This story is an editorial; not mine, but one I think is worth passing along unadulterated.]
Everybody loves Mother, apple pie, Ol’ Glory and small business, right? Read Steve Hochstadt’s piece about how politician’s graveling over small business owners mask the harsh reality: they’re paid to protect big business.
Seems like it’s a great time to be a small business. Nearly everybody says they support small business. President Obama praised small businesses three times in his State of the Union speech. He singled out one small business owner of eight pizza parlors in Minneapolis. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington mentioned small business once in her official Republican response. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who offered the official tea party response, said nothing about small business. But certainly none of them praised big business.
The trouble is that rhetoric pays no bills. Private lenders have favored big business lately. Private sector lendingto small businesses declined 10 percent, while loans over $1 million to large businesses increased about 18 percent.
The government has been more helpful. Although Republicans see themselves as much more friendly to business than Democrats, virtually all of them in both the House and Senate voted against the Small Business Jobs Act in 2010, which greatly increased government lending to small businesses. The amount of money lent by the federal Small Business Administration is 25 percent larger under Barack Obama than under George Bush.
As I write this, I’m sitting in a small business. Like all unique eateries, Mom and Pop groceries, and other locally owned small businesses, BJ’s Restaurant in Jacksonville struggles against the industrial giants. The biggest American companies get the most benefits from the government. The Cato Institute, a libertarian think thank, estimated annual corporate welfare from the government to be near $100 billion, dwarfing the SBA loans. Estimates from elsewhere on the political spectrum are similar. Billions go to fossil fuel giants, but when President Obama suggested in the State of the Union address that these be trimmed, he got a stony reaction from Republicans.