President Barack Obama says the week of May 16, 2011 will be recognized as National Small Business Week in order to celebrate the vital contributions of small businesses to the economic strength and stability of the country.
According to the latest government statistics, there are presently 27 million small businesses in the United States. Even more impressive, however, is the reality that close to half of all Americans either work for a small business or own one of their own.
Unfortunately, news of the expanded national spotlight on U.S. small businesses comes as little consolation to the myriad business owners who are disappointed by the failure of U.S. lawmakers this week to pass the Small Business Reauthorization Bill, which was written to extend federal grants and loans through 2019 for small businesses and add new programs to encourage smaller companies to expand scientific, health, and technological research operations.
Slashing Small Business Regulations
At a town hall meeting sponsored by CBS News this week, President Obama said shoring up America’s small businesses remains a top priority for his administration. When asked by an audience member if burdensome small business regulations are slated for reform, President Obama answered in the affirmative.
“We’re actually looking through the entire federal register, which is where they keep all the regulations, and we’re going through them and seeing what are some of these old laws that don’t make sense anymore,” Obama stated. “There are some legitimate complaints about regulations. We’ve got to do more on simplification, reducing paperwork… Hopefully you’ll see some improvement over the next couple years.”
Although President Obama asserted that “we’re in a better place than we were when I first came into office,” he confessed that the economic recovery remains uneven and “people still aren’t feeling it” due to the consequences of high gas prices, food inflation, and the ballooning costs associated with healthcare and general living expenses.
A Long Road to Recovery Remains
According to the U.S. Labor Department, American companies created jobs at the fastest pace in five years during the month of April 2011. But by President Obama’s own admission, there’s no way to sugar-coat the daunting reality that a long road remains until a full recovery is reached.
“It’s going to take us several years for us to get back to where we need to be,” Obama confessed during the town hall meeting, which was broadcast Thursday morning on CBS.
And according to the President, the comeback in question will be impossible without a robust small business sector fueled by innovation, access to capital, and the confidence to embrace job growth.