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ICYMI: Main Street Can Show You the Path Out of Debt
President Obama is preparing, once again, to ask Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling, this time for an additional $1.2 trillion to feed the ever-mushrooming federal government debt.
Any American small-business owner who asked a bank to borrow money this way – always asking for more while not proving any ability to pay off the debt any time soon – would be kicked out immediately. And rightly so. It’s irresponsible and a direct threat to the economy of our nation.
Ironically, it was just about this time last year that the president said the United States couldn't’t be competitive in the 21st Century if it is “weighed down by crippling budget deficits, ineffective programs that waste tax dollars and a government that is not accountable to the American people.”
In that same address to Congress, the president said: “If the recession has taught us anything, it is that we cannot go back to an economy driven by too much spending, too much borrowing and the paper profits of financial speculation.”
Small-business owners didn’t need a recession to teach them that they couldn't’t spend what they didn’t have or borrow more than they could pay back. That’s basic Small Business 101, something they instinctively knew long before they launched their companies. Unfortunately, their federal government hasn’t learned anything from the recession; that’s part of the reason why the economy is still teetering on the brink.
Part of the problem is that the money Washington spends belongs to someone else. If politicians, bureaucrats and regulators had to reach into their own personal savings or dip into their children’s college funds or postpone buying a new family car the way small-business owners often must to keep their doors open, the federal debt would shrink rapidly.
If Washington had started 98 percent of the nation’s new businesses, created two-thirds of all net new jobs and generated 40 percent of the GNP like small business has over the years, Americans wouldn’t be fearful of losing their jobs and homes, struggling to pay taxes and worrying about the rising burden of debt facing their children and grandchildren.
Unlike Washington, Main Street entrepreneurs pull their own weight, pay their taxes and play by the government’s constantly changing rules. They don’t fool themselves with fuzzy-math or tell their employees one thing, then do the opposite. When they take risks, they accept full responsibility for the results.
They expect the same from their government: stop digging the nation’s sinking debt hole and end the dangerous class warfare that’s poisoning future generations of entrepreneurs.
Small business built America, can rebuild it and keep it strong. All Washington needs to do is follow Main Street’s example and understand a simple fact: Free enterprise is not free.
Dan Danner is president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents 350,000 small-business owners in Washington, D.C. and every state capital.
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