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Small Businesses Short Changed on Stimulus Funds

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It is time for America's small businesses to unite and take action!

Los Angeles, CA - In a recent national address, President Barack Obama boldly proclaimed that his administration's economic stimulus package was working. Meanwhile, small businesses in middle class America struggle to simply keep their doors open. Despite thousands of business closures during the last several months, the mainstream media has spent little time discussing the importance of small businesses to America's economic vitality. Our nation's political leaders routinely recognize small business as the backbone of our nation's economy, but to date, small businesses have largely been left out of efforts to stimulate America's economy.

America's 27 million small businesses generate more than $6 trillion in annual revenue and collectively account for more than half of our nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that companies with less than 20 employees account for 90 percent of all U.S. firms and are responsible for more than 97 percent of net new jobs.

When small businesses thrive, our economy grows. Yet today, millions of these businesses are being threatened by the very plan that was supposedly intended to help them. The president's stimulus package, rather than providing aid to small businesses is diverting resources to save mismanaged corporate giants.

Congress earmarked a mere 1.9 percent of the initial $789 billion stimulus package to assist small businesses. Worse yet, to date, less than 1/2 of 1 percent has been distributed to small businesses. The irony of this is that in the long run small businesses will bear the burden of paying nearly the entire tab for this extravagant spending package and receive almost nothing in return.

The new administration is taking capital and revenue from the mouths of America's small business owners and feeding it to the big national banks, greedy Fortune 500 CEOs and Wall Street executives. This theory enraptures Wall Street, yet alienates Main Street. Even the Small Business Administration (SBA) is led by venture capital vipers who are licking their chops at a chance to infiltrate and dominate federal programs designed for small businesses.

The SBA was planning to guarantee $20 billion in loans during fiscal year (FY) 2009, yet it is currently on-track to reach half of that mark. Loan programs like the ARC [America's Recovery Capital] have been purposely structured so that few small businesses can qualify and banks literally have little motivation to lend. Even more disconcerting, every year, billions of dollars in federal contracts intended for small businesses are diverted to Fortune 500 corporations and other clearly large firms. Since 2003, more than 15 federal investigations found fraud, abuse, loopholes and a lack of oversight have led to widespread abuses in federal small business programs. The American Small Business League (ASBL) has estimated that every year up to $100 billion in federal small business contracts are diverted to corporate giants.

On top of this, small businesses are facing a hike in taxes for those earning more than $250,000, limits on itemized deductions, higher dividend taxes and shouldering more responsibility for worker health care.

While the Fortune 500 corporations have an army of lobbyists in Washington, small businesses are on their own. For this reason, it is more important than ever that small businesses unite. Regardless of political affiliation or industry association something needs to be done to stop this insane, wasteful spending spree. The ASBL and the Small Business Hour Radio Show are urging small business owners to make their voice heard. They collectively will be working together to shine a brighter light on issues facing America's 27 million small businesses, and to help the small business community organize a more powerful unified voice.

To participate in this united movement towards change, please listen to the Small Business Hour with Mark Deo at www.smallbusinesshour.com and become a supporter of the ASBL by visiting http://www.asbl.com/joinasbl.html.

Lloyd Chapman is the President of the American Small Business League. A vocal crusader for the rights of small business, Mr. Chapman is a familiar figure at the Small Business Administration and in the United States Congress, where he has continued to work tirelessly during the last two presidential administrations to prevent federal small business contracts from being diverted to large corporations. He is regularly quoted by the media on small business contracting issues. He can be contacted at www.asbl.com

Mark Deo, Host of the Small Business Hour. Mark Deo is a small business advocate, author, journalist and business owner. For 12 years he has been the host of CBS radio's, "The Small Business Hour." He has been voted "Journalist of the Year" by the Small Business Administration; his weekly radio show can be heard at www.smallbusinesshour.com.