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What About Small Businesses?

Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, spots something missing in President-elect Obama’s economic advisory team:

If we are going to solve our current economic problems, our president needs to get first hand information on the impact his proposed policies will have on real Joe the Plumbers. People who are 1-person companies living job to job, hoping they get paid on time. We need to know what the impact of his policies will be on the individually owned Chrysler Dealership in Iowa. The bodega in Manhattan. The mobile phone software startup out of Carnegie Mellon. The event planner in Dallas. The barbershop in L.A. The restaurant in Boston.

Entrepreneurs that start and run small businesses will be the propellant in this economy. PE Obama needs to have the counsel of those who will take the real risk inherent in creating companies and jobs. Those who put their money and lives on the line with their business.

Without it, the rules of unintended consequences of any economic policy could hit you in the mouth in ways you never expected. Things like forcing companies from being taxpayers to the underground cash economy, or forcing new hires to be independent contractors to avoid having to pay their insurance or higher matching social security amounts. Your current group has no one with 100% of their net worth on the line. I promise you that the possibility of losing it all will provide a completely different perspective than any of the “knowledge” the esteemed, learned members of his current advisory team offer.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, John McCain gamely tried to explain the impact of Obama’s policies on entrepreneurs. But not enough voters seemed convinced that Obama was really going to enact policies that would adversely impact small businesses. Now we will see if a tax hike (both income and payroll), health care mandates, and other anti-business plans (e.g. abolishing secret union ballot elections) are really on the agenda. If so, the economy will be the worse for it, although Republicans will have an “I told you so” opportunity.

Just as Phil Gramm had “Dickie Flatt” and John McCain had “Joe the Plumber,” the Congressional Republicans could use some real-world small business people to illustrate the impact of the new administration’s policies. Now there is always the possibility that the President Elect would take Cuban’s suggestion, solicit some advice from small business leaders and modify his economic policies with an eye toward growing, rather than burdening, small businesses. That might entail junking his tax hike, rethinking his health care plans, and stiffing some liberal interest groups (e.g. unions and trial lawyers).

Well, that doesn’t seem all that likely — which suggests that our economic outlook may not brighten anytime soon.


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