Niagara Gazette

Bob Confer

January 29, 2013

CONFER: Show some respect to U.S. businesses

Niagara Gazette — Businesses and business owners have been getting the Rodney Dangerfield rap in recent years — they get no respect.

It has become fashionable to attack capitalistic endeavors. The imagery of the “evil corporation” is used anywhere and everywhere. The media besieges us with news reports of corporate bonuses, overseas tax havens, dirty bankers and disrespected employees. Hollywood floods televisions and theatres with tales highlighting the dark side of economics. Politicians, like President Obama, use their bully pulpits and misuse their powers to attack the whole of the business world with the same pithy vigor that was directed at them in the 1800s.

Much like those who stereotype based upon race, ethnicity, or culture, these individuals — and, oddly enough, businesses — railing against businesses are suffering from a form of prejudice.

They lump together all corporations — small and large, good and bad — assuming they all have the mindset possessed by the well-known, yet very small number of large, corrupted companies that have soured peoples’ opinions.

This is the ultimate slap in the face to the American economy, because reality is nothing like this. The economic landscape is in stark contrast to the “Evil Corporation” stereotype. Instead, it is one crafted of well-founded character, respect for others, and the promotion of the tenets of American principles. This is because, as a whole, it is the Common Man, people like you and me, who keep the economy going, who own or run businesses. The list of corporations is endless; it’s not just the AIGs or GEs of the world – it could be the small machine shop down the street, your doctor, the local farmer, your plumber, even the neighbor who plows your driveway.

Small businesses — those employing 500 or fewer people — are the most important facet of our economy. There are over 27.5 million small businesses in the USA, which represent an astounding 99.7 percent of all employers. They employ more than 50 percent of the private sector workforce and account for 44 percent of private payrolls. They are innovative and cutting edge, producing 13 times more patents per employee than large firms. The reach of their neighborhood roots extends around the world as small businesses make up 97 percent of all US exporters. Most significantly, small businesses control the forward progress of the US economy, accounting for 64 percent of net new jobs.

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