PETALUMA, Calif. – In his latest speech on the economy, President-elect Barack Obama has once again failed to make even a single mention of America’s small businesses, which create nearly 80 percent of net new jobs, and employ 50.4 percent of private sector workers.
With regards to the economy, Obama held true to his campaign pattern of significantly downplaying the role small businesses play in driving our national economy. Even one of his top economic advisors, Dr. Laura Tyson acknowledged that the best way to simulate the economy is to direct federal infrastructure funds to small businesses. Tyson is the former Chair of the U.S. President’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton Administration and is currently an economic adviser to President-elect Obama.
On February 26, 2008, President-elect Obama stated, “Over half of all Americans work for a small business. Small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy and we must protect this great resource. It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.” (http://www.barackobama.com/2008/02/26/the_american_small_business_le.php)
The statement was made in response to a series of more than 15 federal investigations, which have found fraud, abuse, loopholes and a blatant lack of oversight in federal small business contracting programs; and have uncovered the diversion of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms. (http://www.asbl.com/documentlibrary.html)
Within days of making the statement Obama began to distance himself from it. During the final months of the campaign Obama failed to mention small business issues in campaign speeches, modified his statement regarding the diversion of small business contracts to large corporations on his campaign website, and gave small business issues virtually no priority in his campaign agenda.
When President-elect Obama’s Transition Team website, www.change.gov was launched, any mention of Obama’s statement to stop the flow of federal small business contracts to large corporations had been removed.
Small business advocates are concerned that President-elect Obama may enact policy and legislation that could be harmful to the nation’s nearly 27 million small businesses. Additionally, advocates point to the fact that the Obama-Biden Transition Agenda which is housed on change.gov, contains no new provisions that would significantly impact our nation’s small business community.
“I am extremely concerned that President-elect Obama doesn’t seem to understand that most Americans work for companies with less than 100 employees and that these are the companies that are going to lead our country out of the recession and create a vast majority of all new jobs,” President of the American Small Business League Lloyd Chapman said. “So far, he has refused to offer even the most basic proposal to redirect federal infrastructure funds to these companies. It appears that he has no intention of stopping the flow of up to $100 billion in government small business contracts to large corporations. We are concerned that during his first days in office he may try to create loopholes for venture capitalists that will divert even more federal funds away from small businesses. It is going to take a lot more than tax cuts to stimulate this economy.
President-elect Obama keeps talking about how important it is that we act immediately, and I couldn’t agree more. We would like to see him propose policies next week that would, as he promised on February 26, 2008, stop the flow of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.”