The Only Thing Getting in the Way of Small Business is ... Conservatives! [257*2]
Speaker Boehner's Favorite Line
THE ONLY THING GETTING IN THE WAY OF SMALL BUSINESS IS GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS; an oft repeated, but nevertheless untrue line of reasoning by Speaker John Boehner and most other Conservatives. I find that a kind of ironic thing to say given that his brand of Republicanism has controlled, except for two short years, what became law since 1995. From 1995 to 2007, Republicans, with some unfortunate help by Democrats in an effort to compromise, went on a financial industry deregulation binge; granted this had been going on since the late 1970s, just never to this scale.
Nothing much happened in 2007-2008 because of Republican filibusters in the Senate and the Republican controlled White House. Likewise, nothing much has happened since 2011, even though Obama was in the White House, because the Republicans controlled the House and filibustered the Senate stopping every important piece of legislation in its tracks. That left a two-year window, 2009-2010, for the Democrats to re-regulate what the Republicans took twelve years deregulating. And they had to accomplish this legislative miracle while simultaneously trying to deal with the Great Recession of 2008, pass and then implement stimulus against howling winds emerging from the Right, making gays full-fledged citizens in the eyes of our military, and then fumble through, at great expense to other needed legislation, the passage of Obamacare. (The expense was from the fumbling, not ACA itself; which was a godsend to tens of millions of Americans.)
Methinks Boehner gives the Democrats too much credit and is simply blowing rhetorical smoke otherwise known as the Big Lie.
But, What Has Obama Done For Small Business
FOR THIS SECTION, I AM SIMPLY GOING TO BORROW from one of my other hubs about President Obama's accomplishments. The following is a list of the things he did get passed into law which helped small business:
- 2/172009: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)
- 3/16/2009: incentives for loans to Small Businesses through SBA were expanded
- 8/18/2009: Increase minority access to capital
- 1/4/2010: Create more public-private business incubators for poor communities
- 3/18/2010: Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act
- 9/27/2010: The Small Business Act of 2010
- 2/14/2011: Implement the Women Owned Business contracting program
- 11/21/2011: Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 (part of Obama's American Jobs program that go bi-partisan support)
- 4/5/2012: Jobs Act of 2012 (an actual bi-partisan bill with origination in the House)
And How Have Conservatives Helped the Job Market?
SINCE CONSERVATIVES SPONSORED FEW, IF ANY, BILLS which helped create jobs without having some type of "poison pill" social agenda item attached, we only have their record of filibusters to judge from.
- 9/10/2010; Small Business Jobs Act was successfully filibustered
- 9/28/2010: The Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act was successfully filibustered
- 10/20/2011: Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act of 2011 was successfully filibustered.
- 11/3/2011: Rebuild America Jobs Act was successfully filibustered.
- 7/12/2012: Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act of 2012 was successfully filibustered
- 2/13/2013: American Family Economic Protection Act of 2013 was successfully filibustered
- 1/14/14: Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (kills small business jobs) was successfully filibustered
- 2/6/14: Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (kills small business jobs) was successfully filibustered
AUTHOR OF THE HASTERT RULE
I HAVE ALWAYS TRIED TO MAKE THE CASE THAT THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM AMERICA faces today is the brand of minimal-state liberals, libertarians, and social conservatives that have been elected into office in the name of American patriotism over the last three decades. They have demonstrably hurt America, in my opinion; largely for one reason ... their ideological-based belief that to comprise is to irreparably violate their belief system; it is akin to a fundamentalist Christian admitting a Paean might have a point. Some have said as much out loud, the rest have silently demonstrated this fact through their actions.
Now, there have been politicians of this ilk on both sides of the fence throughout American political history, always at the extreme end of their respective political spectrum. But rarely have they ever exercised the degree of control over their Party for the length of time as this group has. What normally happened when one wing of a Party got and maintained control, the other wing(s) jumped ship to the other Party or created their own. With the election of President Lincoln was the last time this kind of "rebalancing" was successful, although Teddy Roosevelt almost did it again when he broke away from an increasingly Right-leaning Republican Party to form the progressive Bull Moose Party. The last mini-migration was when several very conservative southern Democrats broke away and joined the now rather conservative Republican Party in the 1990s.
Am I saying that none of the Republican Camp won't compromise like they use to when the point of being in Congress was to pass legislation? Absolutely not!! But since the advent of the stupid "Hastert Rule" (named for Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert) which informally requires future Republican Speakers not to bring anything to the floor of the House unless a majority of the Republicans in the House will vote for it, any hope of compromise vanished. Why? Because that rule effectively puts the extremists in control of the House, as has been quite obvious since 2011, The consequence is the rule silences many of the Republicans who understand why they are there (and this includes John Boehner) which, in turn, brings government to a stand-still.
The Right tries to cover this up by lambasting President Obama and the Democrats for not compromising; but as most know, that is simply not even close to the truth. Two examples out of many should suffice to demonstrate the point.
- For several years before the final make or break "fiscal cliff" compromise on Dec 31, 2012, when the minimum number of Republicans needed voted to make it law, the going in position of many Democrats was to let the Bush tax cuts of 2003 expire and keep the reduced social security taxes around for awhile longer. Obama's pledge was to keep the middle class tax cut portion of the Bush tax cuts but go back to the Clinton era marginal rates for those earning over $250,000. I think he wanted to keep the social security cuts as well. Until almost the very last second, however, Conservatives held firm on NO changes to the tax rates and, if they couldn't get their way, would prefer to embarrass everybody by letting all rates go up rather than break their pledge to Grover Norquist and vote for a tax increase. During the negotiations, the Democrats dropped their insistence on continuing the social security tax cut (that's called a compromise) and raised the minimum threshold for higher marginal rates to $350,000 (another compromise). Still no deal. Finally, Minority Leader McConnell and Vice President Biden struck a deal at $400,000/$450,000 (a bi-partisan compromise) threshold because McConnell was not going to be the one responsible for going over the cliff. For his part, Boehner had to break the Hastert rule in order to let the Senate bill come up for a vote in the House. An unbelievable 151 Republicans (and 16 Democrats) voted to go over the fiscal cliff while 85 Republicans (and 172 Democrats) voted for the compromise bill.
- Everybody agrees the "doc fix" part of the Medicare program needs fixing. Earlier this year, the same everybody thought a compromise solution had been found; everybody was happy. Then on March 14, 2014, the House passed its version with a poison pill in it; They hard core Right said that before they would agree to pay for the doc fix they required Democrats to agree to language that would postpone the Obamacare individual mandate for a year. For the Democrats in Congress and President Obama, this was a non-starter; as I am sure the Conservatives had to know. Speaker Boehner knew this (he wasn't for the Obamacare language himself) and struck a deal with Majority Leader Reid to extend the "doc fix" a year. Through a slight-of-hand, Erick Cantor, acting for Boehner while he was out of town, by-passed the hard-Right and passed the bill jn the House by voice vote, when there was hardly anyone in the chamber left to oppose him, and sent it on over to the Senate, who approved it.
In both of these examples, the Democrats compromised, as did moderate and liberal Republicans (the few that are left). But the far-Right simply would not and it took the courage of the Republican leadership, even though they allowed it to get this far in the first place, to finally "force" their caucus to do the minimally right thing, even if it took subterfuge to do it. There is no question in my my mind this inability of those in ideological straight-jackets has hurt America .. hurt it badly. In virtually all Congresses, until 1995, the two sides figured out way to come together on major issues and craft something that neither totally liked but nevertheless normally moved the country forward. But since the far-Right gained dominance in the Republican Party, this is no longer the case; it is now government by self-generated crises.
As a result, growth has been stymied, which has really hurt small business. It also caused big business to simply sit on wads of cash, waiting for government to get their act together; in fact, this intransigence even caused the United States to lose its primo credit rating while causing the potential collapse of the military due to sequestration the far-Right has embraced as the "right-thing-to-do"
PLEASE GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS
Has President Obama's Policies Hurt or Help Small Business
Do You See Yourself Agreeing With
© 2015 Scott Belford