Congressman Roger Williams

Representing the 25th District of Texas

Small Business Week: celebrate business owners, don't break them

May 3, 2016
Column

The start of May reminds us all that summer is around the corner.

Students are preparing for final exams. Calendars are filling with family outings and weddings.

For the two of us, it means the beginning of baseball practices at sunrise in preparation for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.

Our mutual love of baseball is not the only thing the two of us have in common. We’ve both owned small businesses.

This first week of May is Small Business Week.

It honors the foundation of our country’s workforce.

Half of private sector jobs, 98% of American exporters and 63% of the new jobs are created by small business.

As small businessmen, the two of us have worked on payrolls, counted inventory and risked everything we’ve had.

We know the feeling of reward. We know the emotions of joy and accomplishment that follow hard work and patience.

We also know what it’s like to have sleepless nights worrying not just about our immediate families’ livelihoods but the well-being of our extended families – our employees.  

Together, we’ve been impacted by Washington red tape and a 70,000 page tax code that is costly, unfair and, frankly, a complete waste of time that could be spent hiring more workers, increasing productivity, paying people higher wages and planning for the future.

Ironically, although this nation was built on free enterprise and entrepreneurship, the greatest road blocks are our nation’s leaders.  

We can tell you firsthand that small businesses have suffered from the job killing regulations put in place by Washington lawmakers and un-elected bureaucrats.

One of the unfortunate realities we quickly learned when we arrived on Capitol Hill was that the bureaucrats writing the regulations and lawmakers voting on important legislation almost never feel the consequences of the policies.

The poster-child of these misguided policies is the Dodd-Frank Act which passed while the Great Recession still filled the entirety of our nation’s rear-view mirror. Immediately following the financial crisis, this bloated, 2,300 page behemoth of a law was sold to the public as a restraint on Wall Street. It is not.

Instead, it is breaking the backs of community banks and small business. They did not cause the problem.

The law restricts access to capital by imposing arbitrary liquidity standards on big banks and ending short term lending for businesses. These and other misguided policies equate to an attack on our ability to start, grow or maintain businesses. This means less innovation, less development and a smaller economy. It means fewer jobs and less pay for the middle class.

To put it more bluntly, those who were in no way responsible for our nation’s economic downturn were punished. While that may not have been the law’s intent, those small business owners who survived a stressful at bat found themselves in a similar situation a few innings later.

This time, they felt their own team was against them.

The 28 million small businesses in the United States are the heartbeat of our nation’s economy.

When politicians talk about “pro-growth” policies they should be encouraging entrepreneurs to take risks instead of creating policies that discourage them.

We believe America’s greatest asset is its workers. Our nation’s work ethic is the best in the world.  These are the key building blocks for victory. All we need now is a federal government to let us achieve the American dream.

Congressmen Roger Williams (R – Texas) and Steve Pearce (R – N.M.) serve on the Financial Services Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives