• WisBusiness

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving thanks for small business


By Dan Danner
Politicians are fond of talking about the importance of small businesses. They frequently point out that small businesses create jobs and are the backbone of our economy. They are right about that.

However, politicians sometimes under-estimate how powerful small business is in shaping our way of life and looking out for our freedoms. This influence is not something to be ignored. In fact, it’s something we should give thanks for.

Although they are some of the busiest people in the country, small-business owners find time to get involved in the democratic process. Many of them feel they have no choice but to push back on a government that sings their praises while dipping its long arm into their coffers. Not to mention all the times they get nudged, pushed or slapped by its misguided policies.

Think about it: government tends to “thank” small-business owners for their hard work, courage and job-creation by taxing them as much as possible, regulating them to an often-ridiculous degree, and, most recently, telling them that they have to buy themselves and their employees health insurance – whether or not they want it or need it.

So while the small-business community has had a steady, strong-but-quiet voice in state legislatures and in Congress for decades, every now and then they get loud. Take note when they do, because it means that they’ve been pushed too far. And when small business gets pushed too far, chances are pretty good that the rights of all Americans are in danger.

In the mid-1990s, small business – primarily through the lobbying power of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) – got loud and was ultimately credited with stopping President Clinton’s proposed health-care reforms. The threat of small businesses closing doors and/or laying off workers proved too compelling for lawmakers to overlook.

The voice of small business is about to get loud again. Because the small-business community has been pushed too far by President Obama’s health-care law. This time, their voice will be heard in the Supreme Court.

Last week, the Court announced that it would take up the case entitled “NFIB v. Sebelius” – the challenge brought by NFIB’s small-business legal center against a health-care law that violates the Constitution by forcing Americans to buy a product that they may not even want or need: health insurance.

The hope is that the Court will agree that the government has over-reached. There is a chance that when they rule on the case, the health-care law will be struck down completely.

The Court will hear arguments from NFIB’s attorneys in the spring and the case will be decided by the end of June. The decision has the potential to rock the 2012 elections and change the course of history by stopping further infringement on our freedoms.

Whether we win or lose, America’s small-business owners will always be able to say that they were the only group with the courage and conviction to bring this unconstitutional law to court.

If we win, the thanks for standing up for freedom will go, again, to the little engine that could: small business.

-- Danner is president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents 350,000 small-business owners in Washington, D.C. and every state capital.

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Comments: 3

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