National small-business group decries shutdown politics

This week’s political brinkmanship around the Affordable Care Act is bad for business, creating a domino effect of lost confidence that is already cutting into the most profitable quarter of the year, according to the Small Business Majority.

“Lawmakers’ failure to come to an agreement and pass a bill funding the government, resulting in a shutdown of government operations today, is grossly irresponsible,” wrote Tim Gaudette, the group’s Colorado outreach manager. “This is political gamesmanship at its worst but this is not a game to Colorado’s small businesses.”

Small Business Majority reports that it represents 6 million employers, 43 million employees and 22 million self-employed Americans around the country.

The group launched a national campaign this week as the Capitol Hill showdown approached, asking small business owners to sign an open letter to Congress and to become active on social media and in letters to the local press expressing dissatisfaction with lawmaker negotiations over government funding and the debt ceiling.

“Stop the Shutdown, Pay [the Nation’s] Bills” reads the website hosting the open letter.

“What these politicians clearly don’t realize is that a government shut down doesn’t just impact government employees, but many small businesses as well,” reads the letter. “The threat of the government closing up shop alone diminishes my customers’ confidence and creates a huge amount of uncertainty, which wreaks havoc on my bottom line. Not only that, but this is all happening in the fourth quarter—the most important time of the year for countless entrepreneurs. Slackening sales now has serious consequences on my profits for the rest of the fiscal year.”

Government employees, of course, spend money in the private sector as consumers and investors. The many and varied small economies that spin out of contracts to do business directly and indirectly with enormous federal concerns, like military bases and research labs of all sorts, are difficult even to calculate precisely, especially in a state like Colorado, where the private and public sectors overlap and interweave across business sectors and geographic regions.

“A 55 percent majority [of entrepreneurs] agrees this short-term shutdown tactic allows politicians to hold the economy hostage to their spending priorities and threatens the nation’s credit rating,” the letter continues. “Additionally, a majority of small business owners said the most important job of Congress and the president is to focus on creating more jobs rather than reducing the deficit.”

The letter ends with a jab at Republican members of Congress who have argued that they are driven to defund the Affordable Care Act at all costs based mainly on their conviction that “Obamacare” is bad for business.

“Many of the politicians who are playing politics with the debt ceiling and the national budget are the same ones who claim to support small businesses. Well, small businesses make up the backbone of our country, and this type of political gamesmanship does not help us. It hurts us.”

[ Image by Jim Nix ]