Exclusive–Ortiz: Consider the Consequences of Bad Public Policy on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is traditionally an opportunity to support small businesses between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Yet given that virtually all small businesses now offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, it has lost some of its relevance (though it’s still a great chance to frequent local restaurants and retailers).

What can fill this Small Business Saturday void is an increased awareness among the public of the broader economic and social role that small businesses play and the ever-expanding threats they face from bad public policy.

Small businesses are the beating heart of the U.S. economy, creating two-thirds of all new jobs and driving the innovation and economic growth that improve our quality of life. There are still 4.2 million fewer people employed than before the pandemic, and small businesses are the key to bringing the economy back to its peak. Unfortunately, a recent Job Creators Network Foundation poll finds that only about 10 percent of small businesses have fully recovered from the pandemic.

The Biden Administration is waging war on small businesses on many fronts, including mandates, inflationary spending, and taxes, preventing them from returning the economy to its glory. Exhibit A is the Administration’s illegal vaccine mandate on employers, including small businesses with 100 to 500 employees. Even by coronavirus-era standards, this requirement is a massive government overreach. Never before has the federal government mandated vaccines for so many Americans—let alone at the order of the President—without clear support from Congress.

Now is the worst time to deputize small businesses as vaccine police. The mandate would exacerbate the ongoing historic labor shortage by requiring employers to terminate staff who wish not to get vaccinated or get weekly tests. It would also shrink the pool of job applicants available for hire. JCNF polling finds that 44 percent of small business owners believe some of their employees will quit as a result of the vaccine mandate. Associated staffing shortages would force businesses to reduce capacity and economic output, hurting employees and communities.

This is why JCN filed a lawsuit to stand up for small businesses affected by this unconstitutional mandate and block it from taking effect. Two federal courts have issued temporary freezes on this regulation, yet the Biden Administration continues to ignore the judiciary and bully employers into complying. On Tuesday, JCN filed a brief asking the court to reject the Administration’s request to reimpose the mandate.

President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ reckless spending is also generating the highest inflation in over 30 years. The price of gas is up 50 percent over the last year, and the cost of fuel oil to heat homes has risen nearly 60 percent. The price of beef is up 20 percent, and the cost of Thanksgiving dinner was up 14 percent.

This inflation is significantly outstripping wage gains, resulting in falling real wages and living standards — a.k.a. a Biden pay cut. This decline in living standards has been almost completely overlooked by the mainstream media, who regularly gaslight Americans into believing that inflation is somehow good for them. In addition to busting the budgets of ordinary Americans, inflation disproportionately hurts small businesses, forcing them to continually raise prices to protect slim profit margins.

The Democrats’ $5 trillion Build Back Broke reconciliation bill threatens to turn this high inflation hyper by further devaluing the dollars that Americans hold. The socialist and neo-Marxist policies in this legislation would significantly worsen supply-chain disruptions and labor shortages that are preventing small businesses from operating at capacity. For instance, the green energy mandates in the bill would further disrupt transportation, and the de-facto universal basic income schemes would keep more potential workers on the sidelines of the labor market.

President Biden has repeatedly promised not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $400,000 a year. He has already broken that promise — at least indirectly — by presiding over historic inflation that acts as a regressive tax on ordinary earners and entrepreneurs. If the BBB bill passes, he will officially break this promise. The left-wing Tax Policy Center projects that 20 to 30 percent of middle-class Americans, including small business owners who file as pass-throughs, will see their taxes increase under his plan. Successful small business owners would face some of the highest tax rates in the developed world.

These mandates, inflationary spending, and taxes hamstring small businesses in their quest to flourish, bring the economy back, and generate shared prosperity. Let’s inject this messaging into the Small Business Saturday celebrations moving forward.

Alfredo Ortiz is president and CEO of Job Creators Network. 

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