Today's Wall Street Journal features the front page article Political Uncertainty Puts Freeze Freeze on Small Businesses.
The article points out that while the economy is the biggest issue facing small businesses, uncertainty about three public policy issues is resulting in many small businesses reducing staff, delaying expansion and cutting costs.
The three key policy issues listed as causing the uncertainty are:
- Health care reform and the risk of much higher health care costs
- The end of the Bush tax cuts and the risk of increased taxes in general
- Potential costs associated with climate change legislation (cap and trade)
We're also hearing about these concerns in our interviews and discussions with small business owners. Part of this is the publicity health care reform is getting. Also contributing is most small business owners have a natural aversion to taxes and government intervention in the economy.
Government's role in the U.S. is expanding and small business owners are much more focused on government policy than at any time in the recent past. Policy makers need to be aware of this increased scrutiny and understand the impact of their debates and plans.