By David Park, Chairman, Job Creators Alliance
News flash: There is a crisis in this country and it is one that Washington seems ill-equipped to handle. It is a crisis of certainty and confidence. Well, this isn't a news flash for most Americans, but it certainly does seem like Washington hasn't heard.
It's difficult to watch our elected leaders flounder as they muddle through their efforts to jumpstart the engine of our American economy. Unfortunately for them, the American People have noticed: According to the most recent Job Creators Alliance/YouGov poll, 84% of Americans now believe that recent government policies have had a negative or no impact on job creation. And just last week, we received more tough news - unemployment persists at 9%.
During these difficult economic times there have been many voices, clamoring for attention, shouting out ideas that they believe will jumpstart the economy. What's been particularly concerning is that the voice of the small business owner, the entrepreneur or even the job creator has not been heard. The only voices at the table seem to be big businesses from Wall Street, or professors from ivory towers who have never created a single job.
The reality is that the small business is the engine of the American economy. Small businesses have created more than 60 percent of all new jobs in the past 15 years. Therefore, it stands to reason that any real solution to the jobs crisis in this country will need to empower small businesses to do what they do best. In fact, the vast majority of Americans believe that for jobs - the most important problem facing the nation - small business owners and local business leaders are best equipped to get the economy moving again, according to a recent Gallup poll.
That's why initiatives like Starbucks' "Create Jobs for USA" program are welcome additions to the conversation. This is an instance of a private business taking control of the situation and making an impact by directing dollars into the hands of entrepreneurs and small businesses in dire need of capital. The most recent JCA/YouGov poll found that by a 70-30 margin, Americans are more confident that measures like Starbucks' will create more jobs than the federal government.
This doesn't mean that government has no role - it just means that government cannot engineer an economic recovery from Washington. What it can do is increase incentives for business leaders to invest in human capital, or encourage entrepreneurs by giving them certainty about what the tax rates will be moving forward, or stop the steady flow of burdensome regulations from weighing down small businesses on Main Street.
In short, it seems Washington needs to spend less time looking to score political points against the opposing party, and more time listening to the job creators who are struggling to stay afloat economically. Giving a voice to the entrepreneurs and small business owners is precisely what the Job Creators Alliance is all about. We exist to communicate, educate and advocate for the free enterprise system - which has made America into the most prosperous country in the history of the world.
David Park is Managing Partner at Austin Capital, LLC, a merchant bank that assists small companies with financial consulting, and is also Chairman of the Job Creators Alliance, a nonprofit comprised of current and former major CEOs committed to the defense and preservation of the free enterprise system.