If you haven't listened to the song "Feeling Good," recorded by some of the greatest singers from Nina Simone to Frank Sinatra to Michael Buble, it's time to go to YouTube and listen to it. I'd like to make the tune the theme song for America's small businesses this year. President Obama's new focus on small business as addressed in his State of the Union address makes "a new dawn" possible.
It took the administration a year to finally figure out what most of us have known. America's economy is driven by small business. Where small business goes, so goes the country. And small business has been in a mess for the last two years and so has the country.
So after focusing on the banks and healthcare since his inauguration, I'm hopeful that the President and congress will finally help the people who can help the economy -- the owners of America's small businesses -- all 29.6 million of them, which are the biggest employers of Americans. The President mentioned "small businesses" 13 times in his State of he Union address. I'm going to assume that for year 2 of his presidency he is making small business growth a priority, which translates into creating jobs.
The President proposed in his State of the Union speech: (1) eliminating capital gains taxes on small business investments, (2) extending tax breaks for businesses who hire people, (3) re-directing 30 billion dollars in bank bailout money towards community banks for lending, and (4) a tax credit for all businesses to invest in new equipment.
Two days after the State of the Union, the President got a little more specific while visiting a small business in Baltimore and announced the Small Business Jobs and Wages Tax Cut, which will provide a $5,000 tax credit to over a million small businesses for every net new employee they hire, with other tax incentives for increasing wages. All of us small business owners are anxious to hear even more details of this program and then, of course, how fast this legislation will go into effect.
Of course, we have the challenge of having a dysfunctional congress, which has proven to exhibit little leadership this past year. We have to pray that members of Congress will look within themselves and stop this ridiculous partisanship and be the leaders they were elected to be.
Good leaders collaborate for the common good of their followers. Lawmakers need to look at the total population of the U.S. and not just to the people who voted them into office. They need to come together for the common good and vote for jobs and economic growth and they need to do it fast. That means they have to stop insisting to be "right" every time and quickly move to help small business move ahead. They need to be an example of what leaders do to lead. Be courageous, listen to each other, and collaborate.
If voters see a continuation of stupid politics and stubbornness, congress deserves to be voted out -- I don't care which party they represent. And if lawmakers work together and move us out of this economic atrocity, they all deserve to get reelected.
So U.S. Congress, the small businesses of America challenge you to pass legislation which will create jobs and enable the small companies that drive the economy to do what they do so well. Then it will be "A new dawn, a new day, and a new life" for all Americans and we'll all be "feeling good."
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