U.S. Presidential Candidates And Their Small Business Records

Focus on small business has been growing more intense as the U.S. Presidential election heats up, with each candidate stressing what they can do for the that sector. But attention to small business in U.S. policy and abroad seems heightened, too. Here’s a look at the debate over the kinds of policies that affect small businesses the most.

The Debate Heats Up

More than just rhetoric. In the U.S. Presidential election, Obama and Romney camps have been keen to talk about the importance of small business to the U.S. economy. But in recent weeks, the debate has gone beyond just rhetoric, as in this address in which Romney calls current White House policies an “anti-business” agenda. The Washington Post

The small business candidate. Professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University Scott Shane gives some reasons why he believes small business owners overwhelmingly support GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. In a recent poll, Shane says, 57 percent of business owners support Romney, while only 37 percent prefer Obama. Entrepreneur

Out of touch on healthcare. The Obama administration’s major trouble may be in Healthcare, where in a recent interview, the President claimed the signature piece of legislation of his first four years in office wouldn’t affect small businesses. That’s certainly not the opinion of some small business leaders who claim the legislation could have serious consequences. Real Clear Politics

The Record on Small Business

The White House version. A May report from the Obama administration argues the President’s leadership has led to tax cuts, (in the form of greater expensing and a call for an end to capital gains taxes on investments in small businesses) and the establishment of two small business lending sources, plus the expansion of the Small Business Administration’s lending fund. National Economic Council

Reality check. But for all the talk of small business lending the Administration claims it has worked to facilitate, the government’s own numbers indicate that small business lending is headed in the wrong direction, falling in both the number and value of loans since 2008, the year the President took office. Small Business Administration

Following the rules. Another issue is that, while the Administration has claimed to help streamline small business regulations for many entrepreneurs, one industry group maintains that the sheer number of rules affecting small businesses has significantly increased since President Obama took office. Competitive Enterprise Institute

Other Policies Considered

How to manufacture opportunity. Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Eugene Stiglitz says the real problem with the U.S. economy isn’t increases in taxes or spending on social programs, but the widening inequality and decreasing opportunity in the U.S. today. Though Stiglitz stops short of suggesting how more opportunities can be provided, his post starts a lively debate. Vanity Fair

The right kind of government spending. The White House pushes for maximizing opportunities for small businesses when making small dollar awards, increasing opportunities for small businesses under multiple award contracts, and strengthening accountability for small business goal achievement. Office of Management and Budget

What Say Small Business People?

Healthcare tax credit too complicated; small businesses don’t use.  Dawn Rivers points out that the government’s GAO report shows that the healthcare tax credit is too complicated.  Small businesses are not taking advantage of it. Her opinion?  While it may have been small-business friendly in intention, in practice it “is every bit as useless for microbusinesses as most of the other small business policy that emerges from Capitol Hill.”   Small Business Trends

Legislators keep making government bigger, hitting small businesses hardest.  Famous last words: we’re the government and we’re here to help.  The next time Federal, state or local lawmakers tout all the laws they’ve passed to “help,” they might remember that small business owners don’t necessarily view those boasts as good news.  Small businesses pay 36% more per employee than larger businesses, complying with regulatory burdens.  To small business owners:  more regulation = more expense.    Small Business Trends 


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.