Employers vs. Washington

Posted on July 2, 2013 by

Author: Stephen Moore

Publication: Wall Street Journal

URL: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323936404578581752785989628.html?mod=wsj_streaming_stream

A new survey of America’s small-business owners finds a lingering disgust and distrust with Congress, the White House and Washington in general.

The survey of 600 employers was sponsored by the Job Creators Alliance, a network of thousands of small employers concerned about the direction of the American economy. It found that two out of three (66%) of proprietors believe that “Washington’s policies have become more hostile toward free enterprise in recent years.” Only 17% said policies have become “less hostile.”

That isn’t too surprising given ObamaCare, the debt and deficits, the recent White House climate-change initiative, Dodd-Frank, the 2013 tax hikes and other such policies that add costs to stores and other enterprises. For example, by a 3-to1 margin small-business owners believe ObamaCare will have a “negative impact on your business in 2013” rather than a positive impact (60% to 18%).

What was most disturbing is the climate of fear that permeates Washington today. The poll asked: “As a business owner how concerned are you that if you speak out about the policies Washington is pursuing that you may be harassed by the IRS or other federal regulatory agencies?”

Sixty-one percent responded that they were “concerned,” versus 37 percent who were “not concerned.” The survey concluded: “It is troubling … that small businesses in America fear their own government and retaliation if they disagree with policies.”

Tom Stemberg, the former CEO of Staples and a member of the Job Creators Alliance, says that higher taxes, ObamaCare and new regulations discourage hiring and hurt growth. “We will continue to see stagnant job growth until policy makers stop being so hostile toward commerce and business owners regain confidence that they won’t be the victim of the next Washington attack,” says Mr. Stemberg.

That may take a while.