The Great Debate

First 100 Days: Do not marginalize small businesses

georgecloutier1– George A. Cloutier, a graduate of Harvard Business School, is the founder and CEO of American Management Services, one of the nation’s largest turnaround and management services firms specializing in small and mid-size companies. He is also the author of the upcoming book, “Profits aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing.” The views expressed are his own. –

Why are the Obama Administration, Congress, and the Senate marginalizing the nation’s largest industry in the new stimulus plan?

Small Business Inc. employs about 60 million people, accounts for 70 percent of new jobs each year, and clearly represents the backbone of almost every regional and local economy. For this vital industry, the administration has allocated less than 1 percent ($700 million earmarked vs. $1 trillion in proposals). The nation’s leaders continue the small business program of the Bush years: talk a lot and do practically nothing.

The sponsors of the bill, most likely to succeed, say that small business will benefit indirectly from the spending programs. This is the same discredited thinking of Reagan’s “trickle-down” economics.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Lawrence Summers, director of the Economic Policy Council, have absolutely no experience with small business.

A small business owner’s wish list for the new president

Pam SatranPamela Redmond Satran is a developer of baby-naming site nameberry.com, based on the name guides she coauthored with Linda Rosenkrantz. The opinions expressed are her own.

Dear President-Elect Obama,

In the final days leading up to your election, we heard a lot about what you were going to do to help small-business owners. Now it’s time to pony up. Not sure where to start? As someone with the audaciously bad timing to launch my website, nameberry.com, on October 14, I have some ideas:

Start a web-based work initiative
Taking a cue from FDR’s bold work initiatives in his first 100 days, you might train people to work on small web businesses like mine. Instead of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), call it the WWW Camp, where laid-off mortgage brokers and moms craving flexible hours can learn software coding and database management and website design. The result: More jobs in northern Vermont and southern Virginia; more accessible and affordable help for the new generation of small web-based business owners like me.