Does Congress Understand Small Business?

It will come as no surprise to those of us who follow our 535 leaders in Congress that practically all of them do not understand small business issues.  Oh, yes they’ll voice the platitudes of job creation and entrepreneurship, but the vast majority of our leaders (and especially their staffs) have never had to make payroll, or provide a service or product, while wearing all the hats of a small business owner.

We are now facing one of our country’s most significant issues – health care reform, and I’m afraid Congress is going to create a solution which will be much worse than what presently exists.

Yes, the system needs reforming.  We need to find a way to cover folks who truly need assistance.  We need to find ways to reduce the costs of the system, and we need to develop a way of paying for the system which does not put everything on the back of employers.

And Congress has decided to ignore some of these issues.

Reducing costs?  This proposal does not do it per Doug Elmendorf, the director of the Congressional Budget Office.  Interesting enough, those comments drew the ire of Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker Pelosi who wanted to shoot the messenger rather than hear the ugly economic truth.

The coverage of everyone also creates some interesting scenarios – much of it may play out years down the road when the bureaucrats have started creating rules which will snarl up the system. In the present proposal, employers can willingly opt out and pay 8% of payroll.  In many cases small employers are paying in excess of 11% of payroll for health care.  Thus, it would be cheaper for those employers to let the employees pay for their own insurance.  Now, comes the ugly part.  We constantly hear the complaints of individuals who are presently just paying a portion of their health insurance coverage.  What happens when they start seeing the ugly reality of health insurance costs, which could easily double or triple what they are paying.  Odds are they’ll drop coverage, and we start this whole ugly scenario again.

And don’t even get me started on the issue of a government run insurance program – that’s a farce.  Maybe the solution – in the long run – is a government health program.  That way we can only blame one party for our health care problems – the government.  Oh, that’s us.

Regardless of your position on this issue, contact your Congressman and make your voice heard.  Special interests groups (hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, health care reformers) have been talking to Congress for years on these issues.  Trade association’s like ours don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of changing their mind – but constituents can.  Get verbal.  Do it NOW!

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One thought on “Does Congress Understand Small Business?

  1. You’re absolutely right, Joe. Getting involved and getting verbal is the only way to have a prayer of a chance of ….. at least being heard. But change?

    I am loathe to appear pessimistic……but my perception is that small business has historically (mostly unknowingly, I’m afraid) shouldered the majority of the weight of our nation’s tax burden. So hence, with the recent 25 year spate of unbridled growth (partially funded by tax cuts for the wealthy who’ve become the uber wealthy) we are all simply sitting here staring at retirement gasping that another 20 years has gone by, and the inequities in our system across the board have become worse while Wall Street has stolen us blind with it’s accomplice, Washington. Is it any surprise Goldman Sachs has just reported huge profits for this year?

    Of course our current government of by the wealthy, for the wealthy is completely clueless as to how to fix things, because they have no one among them who has come from adversity.

    The next largest group of the over-taxed in our system are the very people who work FOR those of us who operate small businesses. Another 8% or 11% or whatever tax they might propose or dream up to put on small employers to pay for the health care “fix” is simply…..in a word: stupid. You’ve already hit the highlights Joe as to why such an idea is just a joke. No need to reiterate!

    Not certain what the answer is, as you and I have chatted through email over the years about this issue of health care and namely health insurance through the years. A main part of the problem I believe is that unfortunately, many people think the terms are synonymous. However, if we all had it straight, we might be further along to a fairer solution with good long term prospects.

    The entire health insurance and health delivery industrIES, playing off BIG PHARMA and all those CEO’s earning 800 times the average wage, in my opinion, are the problem. BIG PHARMA, who starts the loop with their license to MARKET DIRECT TO THE PUBLIC, directing a sick and tired populate in to health care providers who have cranked up service pricing to unaffordable levels which has left the insurers to become much more creative about whom they insure and what they pay ……is like a huge circular endless feedback loop where each time around things (prices) are ratcheted up to now what is undoable …….. is it any wonder?

    For lack of more time to ponder the issue as I, like many business owners out there are too busy trying to keep people in their jobs (in their health insurance) perhaps I could just offer maybe a tidbit:

    1. Like the Marlboro Man, STOP ALL TV and RADIO ADVERTISING FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

    Would anyone agree that we can just start there? Does anyone in the communications industry doubt the impact of those images we see and hear every evening while just trying to watch the news or just get to and from work??

    I know it all sounds crazy, as one of our biggest profit centers in the printing industry is BIG PHARMA. But when are we all going to choose to do what’s right to advance humanity, instead of what’s solely profitable?

    The right-sizing of our health industries time has come. There is too much profit at keeping people in the system. I only wish I had the time to devote my mind to being part of the solution, because I’m tired of being the “victim” of it, and believe in the brain matter of small business people to do it. Who has time?

    This entry is printable PIA government affairs people—– print it and go to Capitol Hill!

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