- - Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Over the past few weeks, Barack Obama’s disdain toward free enterprise and American business owners has been on display. But the president’s assault on business is more than just a war of words and dishonest campaign ads. Rather, it is waged in his actions, his own failed economic policies and his hostility to job creators.

Here in Virginia, we see the effects of these policies every day. It’s clear to me that Mr. Obama is no friend to small business. From higher taxes to environmental regulatory overreach to new health care mandates, this administration has impaired the ability of businesses to survive, let alone grow and hire new employees. Consider Obamacare: Additional taxes on investment income and an increase in Medicare payroll taxes will impose a significant burden on small businesses.

Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning. Taking effect in 2014, the employer mandate will require small businesses with more than 50 employees to pay a $2,000 fine per employee should they fail to offer health care deemed appropriate by Mr. Obama’s bureaucrats in Washington. At a time of record-level unemployment, these job-killing policies just don’t make any sense. They drive up the costs of hiring new employees at a moment when we simply cannot afford it.

Most crushing of all, however, is the uncertainty that the president’s policies produce. Every week he seems to come up with new burdens to place on job creators. How are we to know which regulations and requirements come next? How can the state plan for future energy development when Mr. Obama won’t even consider allowing exploration of our offshore oil resources? In order to make proper investments in our businesses and our employees, we need less government and gimmicks, and more common sense and clarity.

That’s why Mitt Romney is the right man for president in these difficult times. As a businessman, he understands why the president’s policies are hurting job creators in Virginia. He believes in self-government, not government by experts in Washington. He knows that higher taxes stifle economic growth and job creation and has proposed serious solutions to reform the tax code and make America a more attractive place for investment. Having spent his career as a successful turnaround artist - from the private sector to the Olympics to Massachusetts - he is uniquely suited to lead our country at a time when we are in desperate need of a turnaround.

Unlike Mr. Obama, who sees business and growth as symptoms of greed, Mr. Romney understands that free enterprise is the foundation of our free and prosperous society. By cutting the corporate tax rate, which is among the highest in the industrialized world, Mr. Romney will help make American businesses competitive again. By eliminating taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for all taxpayers with incomes less than $200,000, he will generate a new pool of investment capital and encourage entrepreneurship. Tax relief, ready investment, business innovation: These are the things job creators need.

We need a president who will empower entrepreneurs and business owners to grow their enterprises, not take swipes at them to score political points. Virginia can’t take four more years of President Obama’s economic policies. That’s why, in this election, my man is Mitt.

Jim Cheng is a Virginia small businessman. He currently serves as Virginia’s secretary of commerce and trade.

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