Despite the economic stimulus and various financial bailouts, our economy continues to shed jobs. One of the reasons for continued job losses is the decline in new hires, especially the lack of new hiring by small business.
As bank analyst Meredith Whitney discusses in the Wall Street Journal [$], all the major credit programs created by Congress and the Federal Reserve have been targeted at big corporations and Wall Street firms. However, small companies, especially start-ups and partnerships, do not issue bonds in the debt markets, nor do they borrow from Goldman Sachs. So these firms have been left out in the cold, as federal credit inventions have favored corporate America.
Adding insult to injury is that not only has Washington subsidized credit to large firms, it has taken actions that restrict the credit available to small firms and start-ups. The prime example of this is the Credit Card Reform Act signed by President Obama in May.
As Whitney reports, “Credit cards are the most common source of liquidity to small businesses, used by 82 percent as a vital portion of their overall funding.” In restricting the usage of credit cards and reducing the ability to risk-base price, Washington has eliminated the most important source of credit to small business.
Of course, being unable to project their future health care costs, or tax burdens (yes, they are going up, but by how much), many small businesses have either been forced to or chosen to sit on the sidelines of our economy. Washington needs to recognize that Wall Street and corporate American are not the sum of our economy, if we hope to turn the employment situation around.