Republican Presidential Candidates Should Be Courting Small Businesses

I have noticed a growing volume of national advertising targeted at small business owners. National advertisers seem to understand the significant economic power of small businesses. What I have not seen is any focus on issues affecting small businesses from any of the Presidential candidates.

U.S. Census Bureau data indicates there are over 28 million small businesses in America. Those firms employ over 50% of the private sector work force and are responsible for over 50% of the Gross Domestic Product. The data also indicates small businesses are responsible for over 90% of the net new jobs in America.

The margin of victory in Presidential elections is usually less than one percent. Since the majority of American votes either own or work in a small business it seem this would be an important demographic for anyone running for national office. I certainly can’t imagine any downsides to developing a Presidential campaign that would appeal to small businesses.

It’s puzzling why the national news and national political candidates don’t focus more of their attention on small businesses. It’s extremely rare to see many stories in the national news on small business issues. National advertises seem to understand the economic power of small businesses much more than the television networks they advertise on.

If you have ever read anything I have written you know my number one issue is trying to stop the federal government from giving small business contracts to some of the largest corporations in the world. In a national poll, what percentage of registered voters would agree with me that Fortune 500 firms should not be receiving billions a week in federal small business contracts? I’m guessing 99% and up.

In President Obama’s first run for the White House, he realized the importance of small businesses. He also knew how severe the fraud was in federal small business programs. In February of 2008, he released the statement, “It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.” CNN reported on the fraud and his promise to end it. President Obama has broken that campaign promise to the nation’s 28 million small businesses. His administration has actually adopted a number of policies to facilitate the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants and protect fraudulent firms.

Shortly after President Obama took office, the parent company Dunn & Bradstreet number was removed from the federal government’s database of suppliers. This made it difficult, if not impossible, to determine if a firm was a legitimate small business, a front or a subsidiary of a large business trying to hijack federal small business contracts.

Every year since 2005, the Small Business Administration Inspector General, including Peg Gustafson who Obama appointed in his first term, has named the diversion of federal small business contracts to big businesses as the number one problem at the SBA.

How has President Obama responded to this rampant fraud? In February of 2015, the SBA adopted the final rule of the “Safe harbor from fraud penalties policy.”  Under this new rule, fraudulent firms that could face fines up to $500,000 and up to ten years in prison can avoid all prosecution and penalties by simply claiming they “acted in good faith.” This new anti-small business policy will obviously make it easier for fraudulent firms to cheat legitimate small businesses out of billions.

Did you see that story in the national media? You didn’t because it was never mentioned in the national press. Is this an example of President Obama’s success in politically driven censorship of the news? I think it is. The Obama Administration has mounted a major campaign to kill stories in the press on the rampant fraud and corruption in federal small business programs.

Whoever our next president will be, most likely they will have won the election by no more than one percentage point. Since the majority of the private sector work force is employed by small businesses, I think every Republican candidate should talk about the Obama Administration’s anti-small business policies. Every Republican candidate should develop a campaign strategy that includes a major focus on American small businesses and the issues that affect them.

Promising to end the Obama Administration’s anti-small business policies and the fraud in federal small business programs would be a great starting point for every Republican Presidential candidate. Keeping that campaign promise would provide a significant boost to the middle class economy, create millions of jobs and help pave the way for reelection.

Sounds like a wining strategy to me.