THE BLOG

Obama Should Focus On Jobs Not Health Care

05/16/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

America is in the midst of the worst economic disaster in 80 years, and President Barack Obama has focused more of his attention on reforming health care than on rescuing the economy. America is fighting two wars: real unemployment is over 20 percent, and home sales are at a 50-year low. Now is not the time to try to reform America's health care system.

If your home were on fire would you start to think about making the house more energy efficient? Or would you call the fire department?

President Obama's mother died from cancer fighting with her insurance company. I can certainly understand President Obama's motivation and passion for improving America's health care system. Clearly there are major flaws in our nation's health care system that need to be resolved. This just isn't the time to do it.

With his push for health care reform, President Obama has made a tragic mistake that could threaten to push our nation's economy over the edge. The recession could turn into a depression, and it could last for years. Additionally, by focusing too much attention on health care reform, President Obama and Congress have ignored a fundamental solution to the nation's economic woes. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, small businesses create over 97 percent of all net new jobs in America. Small businesses employ over 50 percent of all private sector workers and are responsible for over 50 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

To date, President Obama has allocated less than 2 percent of the stimulus funds to small businesses. One of the biggest mistakes President Obama has made is allowing the dismantling of existing federal programs to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Federal programs to direct federal funds to minority communities are being dismantled. In March of 2009, a memo went out to the Department of Defense's internal staff notifying them to stop awarding contracts and grants based on a preference for small disadvantaged businesses (SDB). (http://www.asbl.com/documents/DOD_Memo_Rothe.pdf) The latest federal contracting data released by the Obama Administration indicates that most federal funds earmarked for small business and the middle class have been diverted to Fortune 500 firms and thousands of large businesses around the world. The largest recipient of federal small business contracts is Textron, a Fortune 500 firm. Textron received over $775 million in federal small business contracts in a single year. Other recipients of federal small business contracts included Xerox, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, British Aerospace (BAE), Ssangyong Corporation headquartered in Seoul, South Korea and Finmeccanica SpA, which is located in Italy with 73,000 employees. http://www.asbl.com/documents/20091202GeneralDynamics_Created_20091027.pdf ; http://www.asbl.com/documents/20091202Xerox_Created_20091002.pdf

In October of 2009, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA IG) reported the diversion of federal small business contracts to large businesses as the #1 management challenge at the SBA for the fifth consecutive year. (http://www.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_homepage/oig_reports_tmc_fy10.pdf) President Obama even recognized the magnitude of the problem during his campaign when he released the statement, "It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants." http://www.barackobama.com/2008/02/26/the_american_small_business_le.php

President Obama and Congress should be spending their time focusing on these types of problems, which direct existing federal infrastructure spending to small businesses and create millions of jobs.

No one is questioning the fact that health care in America needs to be reformed. Once President Obama and Congress solve the economic crisis, the economy has stabilized, unemployment is back to normal and state budgets are out of trouble, reforming healthcare can become a priority.

I have a feeling that President Obama and some of the current members of Congress are going to find out how it feels to be unemployed themselves unless they can bring down national unemployment very soon.