L ooks as though a whole lot of small-business people are determined to vote against their own best interests in November, just like moths to a flame.
Manta, which bills itself as “the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business,” reported in May on a survey it had done, saying:
As the presidential election draws closer, voters from highly influential swing states will play an increasingly important role. A new survey by Manta, the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business, reveals that small business owners in those key states – Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin – are leaning Republican. Over half (57 percent) of those small business owners say they plan to vote for Governor Mitt Romney, Representative Ron Paul or whomever is selected as the GOP candidate. Meanwhile, 32 percent say they back President Barack Obama.
Since the beginning of the year, small businesses have largely supported the GOP candidates. In Manta’s January Political Poll, half of respondents said they plan to vote for one of the Republican candidates still in the running at the time – Former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, Paul, Representative Rick Santorum and Romney. Only 34 percent said they would vote for Obama.
Nearly half of the respondents (48 percent) say the Republican Party is the biggest supporter of small business, while one in four small business owners feel Obama and the Democratic Party is who’s backing them – down six percent since the last poll in January.
Let’s note here that while Wall Street defines small business as anything up to $1 billion in gross revenues, 70 percent to 80 percent of small businesses are one-person operations.
Whether they own a large- or small-small business, those folks lining up to vote for Mitt Romney and other Republicans in November should be aware of a couple interesting facts. Mother Jones took a look at who makes up the top 1 percent. Among the findings:
- People working in nonfinance business operations and entrepreneurs make up just 5.3 percent of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.
- By comparison, “not working or deceased” 4.3 percent; “unknown,” 0.9 percent; and “pilots,” 0.2 percent, together make up 5.4 percent of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans..
- Most of that elite segment of the population is made up of “executives, managers and supervisors (nonfinance),” 31 percent; and “financial professions,” 13.9 percent.
These realities are notable because Romney and Republicans in Congress can be counted on to continue bedrock GOP policies that favor the biggest corporations and wealthiest individuals – not only to the exclusion of smaller businesses and less-well-off individuals, but at their expense as well.
Every election year Republicans talk a good game about supporting small business. But when they get their hands on the levers of power in Washington, they lavish every break, advantage and lucrative contract they can come up with on corporate giants like Halliburton, Exxon Mobil, Goldman Sachs and on and on.
By contrast, Republicans give Sam the tailor, Art the sign painter, even Joe the plumber, hot air followed by short shrift, if they give them any shrift at all.
So, what has the Obama administration done for small business? Plenty, according to a White House report. Here’s an excerpt.
- Cutting Taxes for Small Businesses: To date, the President has supported 18 direct tax breaks that bolster small business growth. In September 2010, he signed the Small Business Jobs Act, which included eight new small business tax cuts that, among other forms of tax relief, extended accelerated bonus depreciation for two million businesses, making investment and growth more affordable; made investments in one million small firms eligible for zero capital gains taxes; and allowed two million self-employed Americans to deduct their health insurance costs when calculating their self-employment taxes.
- Supporting Small Business Lending: In September 2010, the President established a new Small Business Lending Fund to provide capital to qualified community banks and community development loan funds in order to encourage small business lending, leading to over $4 billion in funding to more than 330 banks. In addition, the President established the State Small Business Credit Initiative to strengthen new and existing state programs that support lending to small businesses by making nearly $1.4 billion funds available to over 150 state-run programs in 54 states and territories. This initiative is expected to spur up to $15 billion in new lending to small businesses. Finally, the President initiated a series of measures that enhanced Small Business Administration lending.
- Lowering Health Care Costs: As part of the Affordable Care Act, small businesses with less than 25 full-time equivalent employees that provide health insurance may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% to offset the cost of insurance. In 2014, the maximum credit increases to 50%.
- Supporting High-Growth Entrepreneurship: President Obama launched Startup America, an all-hands-on-deck effort to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. The White House Startup America Initiative is a government-wide policy effort to expand access to capital, cut red tape, and accelerate innovation.
- Boosting Innovation: In September 2011, President Obama signed the America Invents Act, a historic patent reform legislation initiative. The act is designed to help American entrepreneurs and business to bring their inventions to market sooner, creating new business and new jobs.
- Strengthening Small Business Protection: The Dodd-Frank Act, signed in July 2010, provided several key reforms to aid the financial system and help support small businesses, for example calling for banks to report better information on small business lending in order to ensure fair practices.
- Increasing U.S. Exports through the National Export Initiative: The NEI, established by executive order in March 2010 to assist the nation in doubling its exports by 2014, helps small businesses confront the unique challenges they face in exporting into overseas markets through improving advocacy and trade promotion programs, increasing access to export financing for small businesses, facilitating overseas connections for small businesses, reducing barriers to trade, and robust enforcement of trade rules.
- Bolstering Entrepreneurial Development and Education: The Administration has implemented programs to connect entrepreneurs with experienced individuals and organizations so that they can further develop their businesses and create jobs.
- Expanding Federal Contracting Opportunities: In April 2010, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum highlighting the need to provide small businesses with opportunities in Federal contracting. Subsequently, agencies have been directed to accelerate payments to small contractors, reducing payment time on average from 30 to 15 days, in order to help put money in their hands faster.
- Treating Businesses Like Customers: In January 2012, the Administration launched an online effort called BusinessUSA to reduce the complexity of small business interactions with the federal government. This multi-agency effort is jointly headed up by the Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce to ensure that small businesses and exporters find what they need quickly and get consistent information regardless of where they begin their search.
Bottom line: That 57 percent of pro-Romney, pro-Republican small business respondents to Manta’s survey would be wise to rethink their position and redirect their votes.