- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 15, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Throughout the past few weeks of confusion and uncertainty, the White House and Congress have discussed and debated all manner of solutions and ideas, be it through the stimulus bill or any number of other federal initiatives. However, do any of the plans relieve or rescue a core group of American businesses? Will real job creation be possible without salvaging small businesses? So far, this group has been overlooked and underrepresented before policy-makers and the administration. With all this discussion, small business has had little input and even less of a voice as leaders attempt to solve the current economic crisis.

In 2004, the most recent year for which firm-size data are available, small businesses with fewer than 500 employees accounted for nearly all net new jobs. Small firms had a net gain of 1.86 million new jobs, while large firms with 500 or more employees had a net loss of 181,000 jobs. Small firms employed 50.9 percent of the private-sector work force and generated 50.7 percent of the non-farm private gross domestic product. With small businesses having a major impact on the overall economy, where is the plan to keep the endangered small businesses afloat?

President Obama’s nationwide address Monday night adeptly pointed out the types of growth needed to restart the American economy. The No. 1 point he emphasized was job creation and job security - without which, according to the president, the existing recession would turn it into a full-blown economic catastrophe. What is less clear from the plan he espouses is exactly how and to whom the stimulus funds will be distributed and the initiatives will be directed. Given the statistics delineated above, the president should ensure proper allocation of his energy and attention to sustain and grow American small businesses - the backbone of job creation and retention and of our overall economic success.

RUDY PAMINTUAN

Chicago

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