Thursday, October 7, 2010

Maybe Jimmy Carter Had It Right? Thoughts On The "Vicious Cycle" That Is Holding Back Small Business

According to today's Wall Street Journal article, "Held Back by Vicious Cycle", small businesses aren't holding up to their reputation for jump-starting economies that are coming out of recessions. This time, it is not working as historically advertised. This time it feels very different.

Well perhaps it IS different.

It seems that even the economic recovery, once a unifying theme among all citizens, has become politicized to such an extent that both the Republican and Democratic Parties have forgotten that at the end of the day we are all on the same team. If I have to listen to one more political advertisement that bends the truth into a shape that even a contortionist would be proud of, I might have to grab the nearest dimpled chad I can find and slit my wrists. Death by paper cut, one slit - one advertisement - at a time.

The Wall Street Journal has it right, but it stops short of saying a few important points.

1 - Can we put aside the political rhetoric and focus on what we are really trying to achieve? Last time I checked, it was putting people back to work in more jobs. And let's be sure to put people to work in our own home towns - or at least US soil. Politicians listen up - "Read my lips - no new slanderous advertisements" that get the voters so worked up that they forget they have been out of work for months on end.

2 - Can we stop lumping every business owner into the "millionaire that needs to pay their fair share of taxes?" It seems this current administration is hell bent on vilifying every business owner that has missed-more-dinners-than-they-care-to-count on their way to some level of economic success. I am a patriot and want to pay my fair share of taxes like everyone else, but do I have to subject myself to the mental abuse that I might be freeloading by paying our current tax rates and I should pay much more with no end in sight?

This leads me to my final point.

3 - Given this careless election season rhetoric that emanates from both Parties and the current administration’s disdain for anyone who has ever achieved any level of the American Dream, is it any real surprised that business owners and entrepreneurs are reluctant to spend money and hire people as they fear the dreaded "double dip?" But here is a shocking idea. Perhaps some politicians are hoping for the double dip to blame it on the opposing party? Or even more shocking....maybe some political animals are actually TRYING to create the double dip. Now I am not saying that I think anyone REALLY wants anyone to get hurt. But given the seemingly total disregard that the current administration has to recognize the real danger that small businesses face daily on their way to the American Dream and the rewards that should come with success, why would any smart business owner want to hang their neck out there to get chopped off?

Perhaps we should all try to Think Big and remember the wise words of President Jimmy Carter.

"The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the Social and the Political fabric of America. The confidence that we have always had as a people, is not simply some romantic dream, or a proverb in a dusty book that we read, just on the Fourth of July. It is the idea of which founded our nation and has guided us in our development as a people. Confidence in the future has supported everything else. We've always believed in a thing called, progress. We've always had a faith, that the days of our children, would be better than our own. Our people are losing that faith. For the first time in the history of our country, a majority of our people believe, that the next five years, will be worse than the past five years. We were taught that our armies were always invincible and our causes were always just, only to suffer the agony of Vietnam. We respected the presidency as a place of honor, until the shock of Watergate. We've got to stop crying and start sweating. Stop talking and start walking. Working together, with our common faith, we cannot fail."

Hmmm…working together. What a novel concept. Is anyone out there up for THIS challenge?

Written by Herb Sih, Managing Partner of Think Big Partners.

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