A recent Gallup Poll showed that 68% of Americans believe that small businesses do not get enough attention from the Federal government in Washington. Only the poor (77%) and military veterans (81%) had a higher “don’t get no respect” perception.
Dawn Rivers Baker, editor of the MicroEnterprise Journal observes, “If you judge people by what you see in the media, then you wind up assuming that the American people could care less about small businesses. A poll like this makes me wonder if maybe folks are more aware of the universe of small businesses than I thought, and the folks who could care less about small businesses are just the media … and the politicians, of course.”
I would go one step farther than Dawn. The public is aware of small business owners. But the public’s perceptions of what lawmakers think is important is based on what they see covered on TV.
The hunt for ratings causes TV news shows to focus on “news” that titillates. Anna Nicole’s baby grabs headlines. Important but boring small-business issues don’t.
Congress, unfortunately, is not immune to TV ratings. Witness the taxpayer money spent recently on nationally televised Congressional hearings involving the Attorney General — an issue the typical American couldn’t care less about. That was an opportunity to get in front of TV cameras. Working on something that actually matters to small business owners and regular people, like health care reform, would have not have been.
I give the American people credit. They know where the priorities should be.