Small business helps push the economy forward

How are a majority of American jobs created? Two words: small businesses. 

Over the past 17 years, we can thank small businesses for creating 65 percent of new American jobs. Unfortunately, from 2007 to 2009, the deepest part of the recession, 5.7 million of these jobs were lost. Needless to say, small companies have taken a hard hit — and their recovery has been made even more inert due to the unnecessary and costly policies put forth by President Obama and the Democratically controlled Senate. 

This is evidenced by the stubbornly high unemployment rate, which has held steady above 8 percent for the past 36 months — in 28 of which unemployment was above 9 percent. 

While January job numbers presented a more positive report, much of this can be attributed to the fact that the labor force participation also plummeted to a 30-year low during this same month. In fact, if the number of Americans in the workforce were the same as it was at the beginning of this recession, unemployment would actually be over 11 percent. Simply put, if these millions of Americans had not given up looking for work, the unemployment rate would be a whopping 40 percent higher.

All labor and economic statistics point to one thing— the same tax-and-spend policies put forth by the Obama administration over and over again have failed. Just as the old Einstein quote says, this is the definition of insanity. Continuing with the same failed policies will only leave us in the same place: with a stagnant economy and millions of Americans out of work. A long-lasting and sustained recovery will never be achieved through massive government spending programs.

If we want to see Americans get back to work and our economy recover fully, we must start with our nation’s best job creators — small businesses — and remove obstacles that prevent growth and job creation. This is the sentiment we hear weekly from small-business owners around the country, such as David Ludlam, director of the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association in Grand Junction, Colo., who said during a September Small Business Committee hearing last year, “We can give the administration a more practical jobs plan for America that is quite simple: Remove regulatory roadblocks to ‘shovel-ready’ energy projects … We believe this would be a great first step to creating high-paying jobs.”

In addition to eliminating unnecessary regulations, Washington should focus on simplifying the tax code and keeping taxes low, using our domestic resources to lower energy prices, repealing the healthcare law, passing a budget for fiscal 2013 and, last but certainly not least, living within our means here in Washington.

House Republicans have offered legislative solutions to all of the above issues, passing nearly 30 bipartisan bills. But these bills are still sitting in the Senate, where they have been refused a vote.

Despite the inaction and unwillingness by the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to work with House Republicans, we will continue to move forward with policies that make way for economic and small-business growth — without government interference. 

Within the next several weeks, the House will bring to the floor the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a package of bipartisan measures that have been recommended by the president’s own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and will help provide access to more financing for small businesses and address some of the regulatory burdens that small businesses face. 

In addition to bringing the JOBS Act to the floor, the House will pursue legislation that will allow companies with 500 or fewer employees to take a deduction equal to 20 percent of their income before paying the standard tax rates on the remainder. The deduction would also be available to firms that file as individuals, as most small companies do.

Instead of more Obama administration big-government “solutions” that have gotten us nowhere, we should start by simply looking to those that are best at creating jobs — small businesses. Our best hope for getting Americans back to work and a sustainable, long-term economic recovery will not be found in the president’s costly and unattainable promises, but with the ingenuity of American entrepreneurs and business owners.

Graves is chairman of the House Small Business Committee.