-- 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. The opinions of George Cloutier are his own and do not represent those of the United States Conference of Mayors or Partner America. --
President Obama gets an “F” for his small business program. The SBA has guaranteed a paltry 50,000 loans to the nation’s 29 million small businesses – that’s .0017. Loan volume is down 36 percent from 2008 and 50 percent from 2007. Obama and his advisers have actually done the unimaginable; they have reduced the flow of aid to small businesses in the face of a deep recession. The program’s bank lenders have left $15 billion on the table due to “regulatory problems.” Even an administration plan to provide lending to 70,000 vehicle dealers has no takers and failed.
Administration “experts” allocated less than 1 percent of the stimulus bill to small business. It’s mind-boggling that Washington ignores the biggest economic sector in the country employing 60 million people, producing 50 percent of GDP, and creating 70 percent of new jobs.
In the past several weeks, I have had the honor to lead events for small businesses in 15 cities (including Philadelphia, Kansas City, Missouri and Baton Rouge, Louisiana) directly engaging with 2500 small business owners (employers only). Ninety-five percent of these business owners feel the administration's stimulus plan and program has badly mistreated small businesses compared to Wall Street and Detroit.
On October 21st, President Obama announced a second stimulus for small business. His new plan must have been a political speech since it lacked specifics as to how many businesses would be helped, how much money would be allocated and distributed, and when the money would actually start flowing.