According to the Small Business Administration, small business accounts for about two-thirds of all job creation and about half of all employment in the United States. Obviously, small business plays an important role in our economy.You might expect the current crop of presidential candidates to include small business in their plans for economic growth. But you would be wrong. Most of the candidates are ignoring the plight of businesses on Main Street and focusing instead on the big money of Wall Street. Many once considered the GOP the party favored by small business. This changed with President Bush's election in 2000. The Republican Party controlled the White House and Congress and milked big money from corporate lobbyists through the so-called K Street Project (an effort led by former House Speaker Tom DeLay that tried to corner corporate and other lobbyists' dollars for the GOP). I still remember a telling moment in a Midwestern debate between Bush and former Vice President Al Gore in 2000. A man wearing jeans and a John Deere hat asked what the candidates would do to help family farmers. Bush must have only heard "farm." He went on to give a great response -- great if you were a corporate executive at a huge agra firm like Archer Daniels Midland ( ADM), but not if you owned a small family farm.
Clearly the presidential candidates are not reaching out and talking about the issues that concern and directly affect 23 million small business owners all over this country. Small business owners make up a large voting block and it's about time that small business owners were not ignored. Their votes count and their voices and concerns need to be addressed by the candidates running for President today.Cloutier sees a distinct bias for Wall Street firms: "It's Main Street versus Wall Street. Bottom line is that the economy is great for big corporations and for Wall Street but small businesses are not feeling the affects of a supposedly strong economy." It should come as no surprise that Wall Street gets more attention, because it pays for it. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wall Street firms have been pouring money into campaigns. Hedge funds and private-equity firms had donated more than $6 million to campaigns, while banks have tossed in approximately $4.5 million by the end of the third quarter of 2007, as reported to the Federal Election Commission. These figures don't include lobbyists' donations. Wall Street offers the candidates big bucks. But candidates may want to remember the lesson Bill Clinton learned in 1994 when health care reform bombed. Ignoring the voice of small business and its advocates, like NFIB, could cost a political victory.