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National Federation of Independent Business


Fix Wall Street, the Support Main Street

by Kevin Shivers,
State Director NFIB-PA
 

Small business owners are the last to come to the government with hat in hand asking for a handout–for the most part, they're usually content to just be left alone. So it's not surprising that the vast majority of Pennsylvania's small job providers are seething over the mess that's unfolded in recent months on Wall Street.

When a small business owner faces a crisis or a shortfall, there's no debate or lifeline from politicians to make ends meet. On Main Street, bad decisions have serious consequences–lost customers, tighter profit margins or even closed doors. Since the inception of this crisis, it's been difficult for small employers to stomach the recklessness that lead our entire economy to the edge of a cliff–not to mention the debate that's gone on in Washington over how to fix it.

How we got here and what we do to make sure it never happens again are important to every small business owner. We can't fix the damage wrought by this economic hurricane without putting in place the safeguards to ensure taxpayers are never again stuck with this kind of bill. But most importantly, small business owners are tired of the finger pointing and the he-said, she-said that we have seen too often during this crisis. They realize we're caught in a no-win scenario.

Whether you call it a bail out or a rescue, most taxpayers don't like the idea of using public dollars to clean up the mess of unscrupulous financiers. The fact that so many small businesses have been struggling while Washington's attention has largely been focused on Wall Street is justifiably frustrating. But at the same time, small employers know that a breakdown in the nation's credit system will choke the life from our Main Street economy.

For small business owners, a breakdown in credit can lead to a host of problems ranging from an inability to meet payroll to lack of financing for new equipment. Even for those businesses not impacted directly from a dried up credit market, the potential impact on customers and suppliers means that no business–large or small–will be spared from this crisis. In short, we need Washington to act. For small business, this is less about a bailout for Wall Street than it is a firewall to keep the pain from spreading to Main Street.
There is no consensus on a perfect solution, but there is near universal agreement on the consequences of doing nothing. Failing to address this crisis would lead to credit markets seizing up and skyrocketing interest rates for consumers and small businesses at a time when they are already being squeezed. The stability of businesses of all sizes and industries would be in jeopardy–meaning thousands of Pennsylvania jobs on the line.

The hubris and reckless of Wall Street have become a cancer. The rest of us on Main Street can either go thru the painful process of treating the diseased economy that we've been left with, or we can continue to point fingers and watch as the economy is slowly consumed by the misdeeds of Wall Street. At this point, the medicine may be tough, but the alternative is not really an option.

Our immediate focus must be our present crisis, but Congress and the next President need to get serious about an economic plan that addresses the struggling small business owners who are scraping to make payroll and keep their doors open. As small businesses owners help fix the mess bequeathed us, Washington would be wise to turn its attention from the mess created on Wall Street to the storefronts and jobs on Main Street. With all the hoopla focused on big business, it's often forgotten that two out of every three new jobs are created by small business–not corporate America. That means tackling the rising cost of healthcare, addressing our dependence on expensive and volatile foreign energy sources and keeping taxes low so that America's innovators and entrepreneurs can lead the recovery and put our economy back on track. By fixing the mess on Wall Street and then focusing a little more on Main Street, what's good for small business will be good for America.

Kevin Shivers
State Director - Pennsylvania
NFIB
116 Pine Street, Suite 204
Harrisburg, PA 17101
717.232.8582 - Office
717.232.4098 - Fax
kevin.shivers@nfib.org
www.nfib.com/pa


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