A Critique of the Clinton Economic Plan – Part 4 – Small Business”
This is the fourth of a four part analysis of some sections of Hillary Clinton’s economic plan. Again, since the plan on her web site consists of basic planks and little in the way of funding estimates, we will evaluate according to economic philosophies and precepts. See Part 1 here. See Part 2 here. See Part 3 here.
The fourth group is called “Small Business.”
Unlocking access to capital. We need to give small businesses—including women- and minority-owned small businesses—access to the financing they need to build, grow, and hire. To do that, we should ease unnecessary regulatory burdens on community banks, boost funding for programs that support small business in underserved communities, and more.
First, while this section of Hillary’s website is about small business, it has the implicit accusation of racism and sexism. The mixed message leads me to believe there is nothing to help the majority of the 28 million small businesses in America who might be doing fine but are having trouble growing in this economic climate. Almost all small businesses want to become larger businesses, but if the focus is solely on disadvantaged businesses, this program will not have a major effect on the economy or business growth.
Looking through the details in the ‘read more’ section, she intends to spend $50 billion on programs for minorities and women owned businesses in “underserved” areas. Almost nothing is included to serve the mainstream small business environment. In fact the list is almost all social programs for poor areas. On one hand she intends to raise the minimum wage which will radically reduce youth employment, and yet spend $20 billion to support youth jobs. Some very expensive and offsetting measures.
My evaluation is the overall economic improvement will be slight, and in the long term harmful since it will create dependence on government subsidies.
Cutting red tape. It shouldn’t take longer to start a small business in the United States than it does in Canada, France, or South Korea. We need to cut red tape for small businesses at every level of government and build a regulatory roadmap to help small businesses navigate the regulations and reduce compliance costs.
Every small business sector is different, cutting red tape means different things to different people. This is a common platitude and would be a great idea if it happens.
Providing tax relief. America’s smallest businesses—those with one to five employees—spend 150 hours and $1,100 per employee making sure they comply with federal tax laws. That’s more than 20 times higher than the average for larger firms. Hillary will simplify the tax process and provide targeted tax relief for small businesses.
To be honest, simplifying taxes won’t help me much, I have an accountant who takes care of billing and books (sure its $250 per month, but I need it anyway), and then it automatically ports to the tax forms from Quickbooks. In some small business sectors, this could indeed help.
It occurs to me that “targeted relief” again means minority business, women owned businesses and “underserved communities.” So she isn’t really talking about all small businesses.
This would be much improved if there were a provision to make it easier and more affordable for small businesses to provide health care support. Its a major factor in the competition for new employees. But Obamacare does nothing in that area except push prices up. Health insurance provided by a business can be 2-3 times more expensive than what an individual can get on his own. But this is not on Hillary’s agenda.
Opening new markets. Every small business across America should be able to enter new markets—whether those markets are across town or across the world. We should invest in the roads, bridges, ports, and airports that make it easier for small businesses to reach new customers, and encourage innovations that unlock new markers for small businesses.
This plank is completely non-sensicle, Hillary believes small businesses are hampered by bad roads? Granted some small businesses are transportation based, but to claim her infrastructure program will help the average small business by making the roads better is almost humorous in my view.
Looking at the details, Hillary plans to hook up small businesses with shipping companies. This might have and impact on truckers to a certain extent, but the rest of us use USPS, FedEx and UPS for shipping and its a very small part of our budget. A few cents in savings won’t help. I suspect even in the transportation industry this is will not a significant impact.
As for farmers (I was a farm kid), unless Hillary plans to extend fresh roads to remote farms with roads that frequently wash out, it will have zero impact on farm transportation.
I’m seriously doubting her figures and conclusions, and the details tell me this will not enable small businesses to “enter new markets.”
Making sure small businesses get paid—not stiffed. Hillary believes it is outrageous when big businesses like Donald Trump’s build their fortunes by repeatedly stiffing the small businesses that do work for them. That’s why she’s put forward a plan to crack down on unscrupulous big businesses that repeatedly stiff small businesses when the bill comes due—and to give small businesses recourse to fight back. Read more here.
This is just a dig on Donald Trump. If this works, it is the only plank that I like from Hillary’s plans so far. Legal costs are exorbitant for a small businessese.
Supporting small-business owners and entrepreneurs. Hillary will work to provide incubators, mentoring, and training to 50,000 entrepreneurs and small-business owners in underserved communities across the country.
Again with the accusation of racism and sexism. And again, there are 28 million small businesses in America. If you help 50,000 of those this means she will assist about 0.2% of small businesses.
Editor’s note: In case you are wondering about his qualifications, the author is a business owner who earned a Master’s Degree in Engineering from University of Louisville and a Master’s degree in International Transactions from George Mason University, and who traveled to 30 countries with the Central Intelligence Agency.