Small business owners to Fed: 'Get out of our way'

Small business owners expect another downturn.

Eliza Wiley / Independent Record / AP
U.S. Sen. John Tester, second from left, listens as small business owner Dave Simpkins explains the success of his business during an economic summit in Helena, Mont., on Aug. 31. Many small business owners express growing caution about the future of the economy.

Some polls out this week tell us that small business owners are becoming more cautious.

The latest Intuit poll on small business employment suggests that hiring in small businesses has, once again cooled off. While there were some gains earlier this year, the modest improvement we had been seeing seems to have stalled.

The results from a poll by Citigroup offers some insights as to why the optimism for economic improvement among small business owners has once again begun to sour. From the Wall Street Journal:

More than 85% of small-business owners are worried about a double-dip recession, according to the latest quarterly survey by banking giant Citigroup Inc.

But three-quarters of those polled said they are very or somewhat prepared for another downturn.

Mirroring results of previous surveys, 76% rated current business conditions as fair or poor.

So it seems that those entrepreneurs whose businesses have survived the downturn are taking a more prudent course and preparing for more difficult economic times ahead.

Nothing coming out of Washington is helping to calm their fears. Every group of entrepreneurs I talk asks me the same basic question: "When are the politicians going to wake up and understand that all we need from government is for them to get out of our way?"

Given that they are hearing that higher taxes and more regulation are on the way, and that policy makers trying to manage the economy do not trust free enterprise and free markets, it is no wonder that they are not very optimistic about the future.

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