President Obama’s message Tuesday night was an interesting combination of tossing candy to the crowd while telling them that rich people would pay the tab.
In many ways, it is exactly as disingenuous as the Republicans who adopted the Wall Street mantra that you can eliminate risk if you just let 25-year-old geeks run their algorithms and place their bets.
The fact is that there is plenty of blame for our current economic situation to go around.
Democrats who wanted banks to make loans to everybody without regard to their actual ability to pay them back and enabled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy those loans.
Republicans who actually believed the crap that Wall Street bankers dished out along with campaign contributions.
Americans who were willing to commit to mortgages they knew damn well they couldn’t afford.
And investors who thought it would never end.
Now, we have a great big mess and, since the liberals are in control of the checkbook, we are going to attempt to spend our way out of it.
I have to be honest.
Since I’m in the advertising business, chances are that I stand to benefit. Any goosing of the retail market always benefits advertising.
But I’d infinitely prefer that any government money used would be used to directly help the backbone of the American Economy which is small business. Small business creates 80% of the jobs in America.
The six of 29 employees I laid off this year would have killed to keep their jobs, even though we don’t pay the kind of pay that big companies do and provide the kind of benefits.
But a small business doesn’t get TARP funds or loans at favorable rates like, say, the Bank of America or General Electric.
What happens to small business is that General Electric gets a bail out and they, in turn, cut our credit lines so we can’t buy the supplies we need.
The reason for this, quite frankly, is that GE has bigger and better lobbyists than little guys can afford.
Now, I’m not picking on GE. And President Obama did make a passing reference to helping small business.
But the devil is in the details.
Right now, if we need a mortgage to refinance a high interest rate on one of our buildings, it is simply not available. So, we struggle.
If we need a receivables loan to make the next payroll because our customers are having troubles of their own and not paying as quickly as they used to, well, tough.
The problem is the 80-20 rule.
Eighty per cent of your business comes from 20 per cent of your customers which means that it is a hell of a lot easier for the Government to worry about GM, GE or the Bank of America.
Small companies are harder to deal with because it takes roughly the same amount of work to make a $500,000 loan as a $5-Billion loan.
So, small companies don’t get the kind of attention that the generators of 80 per cent of America’s employment deserve.
Maybe Obama wasn’t kidding. Maybe he really intends to make small business lending a priority. If he does, great.
But we’ll just go along on the assumption it was lip service.
Because the harder we work, the luckier we seem to get.