President Obama addressed the United States Chamber of Commerce this week, receiving a less than warm reception. In his speech, the president stated that American companies are sitting on about $2 trillion and encouraged business leaders to spend that money on new jobs.
Escalating regulations, soaring tax increases and sharply negative rhetoric coming from The White House has kept relations tense between the president and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The anti-business agendas of congress and the president pushed chamber leaders to spend millions in support of ousting the democratic leadership.
According to their website, the United States Chamber of Commerce is, “The world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.” They go on to state their core purpose as to fight for free enterprise before all areas of government (domestic and international) including congress, the White House, the courts and regulatory agencies.
Many business leaders insist that the very nature of chamber organizations is contrary to most of the goals of the Obama administration. Any olive branch offered by the president is believed to be merely some type of distraction from the hardships created by the economy and exacerbated by government interference.
President Obama’s call to hire more workers is yet another indication of how out of touch he is with the current state of business in America. What seems like a lot of money just hanging out there waiting to be used is actually in the possession of only the largest U.S. companies. Apple, for example, holds approximately $50 billion, with the rest spread among about ten others.
Not so long ago, the president called upon business leaders to tighten their belts and do more with less, just, as he said, the American people were doing. Now, he’s suggesting that those organizations spend what little capital they may have preserved well before the economic crisis has actually passed. Once more, his lack of insight has him ignoring the largest group of players in the game – small business owners.
According to the Small Business Administration, U.S. small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms, generating half of all private sector jobs. Concentration on the survival of these companies seems at least prudent if not essential but they have been largely ignored.
While Washington has handed over billions in tax dollars to rescue big business, government has done nothing to help small businesses secure credit and spur recovery and growth. Because smaller companies have a harder time procuring capital, either through investors or loans, they are unable to take on more employees.
In addition, most business leaders agree that belts should remain tightened until consumer spending increases. Before smaller manufacturers can hire more workers, there must be an increase in demand of their products, a statistic that is not evident in the well-spun economic figures spewing from The White House.
The West Wing might be rejoicing at growth numbers taken out of context but Main Street has to deal with the reality that the rough patches are far from over. Any stockpile of cash being hoarded by America’s largest corporations is useless to the overall growth of the country’s economy because it has no effect on small business.
Until the government begins to turn its attention to the struggles of the little guy, the country will continue to crawl to recovery. Fortunately, small business owners represent the best of America. Their entrepreneurial spirit, determination and ingenuity will carry them through these tough times – no hand outs required. That’s far more than any Wall Street executive can say.
Gery L. Deer is a freelance columnist and business writer based in Jamestown. For more visit www.gerydeer.com.