There is a bipartisan consensus in this country that American small businesses are the backbone of our economy. What we haven't heard and what the candidates should have been asked, is their respective proposals to promote the overall growth of small businesses in order to achieve job development and stimulation of our economy across the board.
In our third and final presidential debate, Bob Scheiffer poignantly stated "[b]y now, we've heard all the talking points, so let's try to tell the people tonight some things that they -- they haven't heard. Let's get to it." Getting "to it" is what the American people want and need.
Scheiffer put the issue of tax cuts on the table for both candidates: "Sen. McCain, you proposed a $52 billion plan that includes new tax cuts on capital gains, tax breaks for seniors, write-offs for stock losses, among other things. . ."Sen. Obama, you proposed $60 billion in tax cuts for middle- income and lower-income people, more tax breaks to create jobs, new spending for public works projects to create jobs."
Senator McCain unwittingly seems to think that a $300 billion dollar allocation to purchase existing home loans with a mandate to renegotiate those loans in order for homeowners to stay in their homes is the solution to the woes of our economy. One of the amazing aspects of Senator McCain's response was his failure to comprehend the fact that the true criticism related to purchasing existing defaulted mortgages is that they are now valueless and will amount to an enormous waste of tax payer dollars.
According to Senator Obama, small businesses drive the economy and produce the most jobs. The small business should therefore be our focus. Every American should be able to appreciate Senator Obama's proposal to end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and provide a tax credit for companies that are creating jobs in America. Although Senator Obama's proposal is a step in the right direction, tax breaks are only part of the solution. Small businesses must have income and other forms of meaningful support in order to benefit from the proposed tax breaks of either candidate.
A new character was introduced into the election in the form of Joe Wurzelbacher, the plumber who wants to buy the business where he has worked for ten to twelve hours a day for many years. Some have asked who will be the best president for Joe or the small business owner? According to Senator McCain, Joe wants to buy his employer's plumbing business, but, he looked at Senator Obama's tax plan and he saw that the purchase would place him in a higher tax bracket and was discouraged from making the purchase. "You (Senator Obama) were going to put him in a higher tax bracket which was going to increase his taxes, which was going to cause him not to be able to employ people, which Joe was trying to realize the American dream," said Senator McCain. Senator Obama quickly retorted that Joe only believes he will not be able to realize the American dream because he has been watching Senator McCain's television ads.
Senator Obama clarified his proposal by stating: "Now, Sen. McCain, the centerpiece of his economic proposal is to provide $200 billion in additional tax breaks to some of the wealthiest corporations in America. Exxon Mobil, and other oil companies, for example, would get an additional $4 billion in tax breaks. What I've said is I want to provide a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans, 95 percent. If you make more -- if you make less than a quarter million dollars a year, then you will not see your income tax go up, your capital gains tax go up, your payroll tax. Not one dime."
Although the federal government has taken the unprecedented move to "bail out" Wall Street, we have yet to hear any specifics about what will be done to realistically promote the growth of small businesses. Any small business owner is acutely aware that education, training, financing, bonding and insurance must be available and affordable in order for them to succeed and therefore stimulate our economy.
The other unmentioned considerations are the needs of small businesses that are owned by minorities and women as well as the disparities and discrimination that still exists in capitalism. Women and minority owned businesses have been historically excluded from competing with fortune 500 firms and small non-minority business enterprises for private and government contracting opportunities in every area of our economy, including but not limited to, construction, transportation, telecommunications, oil and manufacturing.
Senator McCain repeatedly stated that Senator Obama wants to spread the wealth as if that were such a bad idea. Since the small business drives our economy and produces the majority of American jobs, why not allow them to share in the wealth? According to Wikipedia, "socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism by nature concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and creates an unequal society. All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved."
A stimulus package that fails to address the unique needs of the minority and woman owned business enterprise is a plan that excludes a critical segment of our economy. Instead of using $300 billion of the "bail out" plan allocation to purchase valueless home loans, perhaps a portion of that money could be made available to stimulate the growth of small businesses by providing them capital and other tools to make it easier for them to successfully compete in the financial market. It may also be helpful to have a requirement that Wall Street companies benefiting from the "bail out" plan take affirmative steps to purchase goods and services from women and minority owned businesses as part of an overall diversification goal.
As an owner of a minority and woman owned small business, no longer do I want to see power and wealth concentrated amongst a small segment of our society. Our small businesses should reflect our diverse society. Real "change" requires the implementation of meaningful measures that will promote the growth of all small business enterprises with an added goal of evening the playing field for minorities and women.