Paul Ryan Takes on Obama Over Small Business Uncertainty


President Obama's record concerning the economy and small businesses has come into question many, many times over the past four years. Republican rival Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick Paul Ryan has not shyed away from taking the President to task on such a record.

“We should not have a government that stands in the way,” Ryan said during a campaign event in Virginia. “We should have policies that help small businesses grow and create jobs.”

It's no secret that small businesses have suffered due to the country's economic woes. There's speculation that some small business owners are holding off new hiring until they see who takes the White House once and for all this November. Both parties are fighting for the small business vote, and Ryan is doing what he can to paint himself as a champion of SMBs.

“What is the President doing?” Ryan poised to his audience. “More regulations, more uncertainty, more borrowing, more spending, more taxing.”

Considering that small businesses employ nearly half of the country's workers, there's plenty at stake; votes, jobs and everything in between. It's difficult for small businesses to find any sort of confidence in such uncertain times, and such uncertainty has especially plagued the SMB community over the past year or so. Small business confidence and optimism has been a roller coaster ride, taking a dip in recent months. Couple this uncertainty with an election year and looming healthcare legislation and what do you have? A recipe for stagnation.

Small businesses are being forced to play “wait and see,” but how much time is really left on the clock? Maybe after election day, we'll find out.

“I don't know that the actual burden of policy or different regulations are that much of a concern for businesses,” Gregory Daco, U.S. Economist with I.H.S. Global Insight stated on the issue. “The uncertainty is still a major factor in terms of certainty for fiscal policy – who will win the elections (and) how policy will shift.”

Romney and Ryan have been campaigning hard in Virginia, where Romney and the President are more or less tied in the polls. Ryan described Romney as “living proof that if you have a small business, you built that small business,” again harping on the President's “you didn't build that” comment which has been seen by many as having been taken out of context.

Ryan may have some skeletons in his closet concerning small businesses, however, that may come back to haunt him as the campaign continues. He voted against the Small Business Jobs Act in 2010, which brought tax cuts to small business owners and allowed for greater borrowing limits for SMBs. Supported by the NFIB, the bill was seen an attempt at legitimate relief for smaller firms, and will certainly raise eyebrows among some voters.

Furthermore, Ryan has supported past bills that provided financial incentives for companies investing in new equipment, including the American Jobs Creation Act (2004) and the Bush stimulus bill in 2008.

Ryan's record may raise a big question among skeptics; that is, what's more important? Voting along party lines or supporting legislation that supports small businesses? While Ryan has plenty to run on with his party's tradition of being anti-regulation and pro-business, it'll be interesting to see how he inevitably handles his critics in the future.

Small businesses will continue to be a huge factor in the upcoming election, as it pertains to both voters and the economy itself. Both Republicans and Democrats alike will have to state their case for the White House, and voters will be listening intently. With the SMB community's confidence wavering, stuck in a climate of uncertainty, a compelling case needs to be made. Come November, we'll find out who made it.

About the Author

Brent Barnhart

Brent Barnhart is a freelance content writer specializing in topics such as Internet marketing and content marketing for small businesses. His goal is to help business owners find their voices online and improve their content strategies. You can reach Brent or find out more at

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