Poll: Small businesses, manufacturers have bleak outlook on US economy

Annie Z. Yu Contributor
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A poll released this week by the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) shows that a majority of small business owners and manufacturers think the U.S. business environment is getting progressively worse.

The national survey, conducted between Aug. 13 and Sept. 4, interviewed 800 small business owners and manufacturers and found that 69 percent of them think President Barack Obama’s policies have hurt American businesses and manufacturers, and 55 percent would not start a business today given the current environment.

“That’s something I think for us is not only alarming but really disappointing, because these are the risk takers in the economy,” NFIB vice president of public policy Brad Close told The Daily Caller. “I think that’s a red flag and it should be very troubling to folks, that entrepreneurs are saying they would not do what they did 10, 15, 20 years ago today if they had the choice.”

The survey showed that small business owners and manufacturers think federal regulations, taxes, government spending and the costs of health insurance and energy are the main causes of slow economic growth.

“What we’re up against is a tremendous amount of regulations,” Gordon Hunt, president and chief marketing officer of Illuminating Technologies, told TheDC. “We don’t want airplanes falling out of the sky, but we probably don’t need to know what size the cup can be that you serve Coke to us in the plane.”

Hunt said his company has covered 100 percent of their employees’ health insurance since the day they started, but they may not be able to continue doing that in the face of Obamacare.

“We’re really doing everything we can to keep [our employees] covered, but if our competition decides they’re better off paying a small penalty versus a higher cost of insurance for their employees, they’re going to have a competitive advantage over us,” Hunt said.

Rose Corona, owner of Big Horse Feed and Corona Ranch & Land Company, said the amount of regulation can be overwhelming and difficult, making it harder for her to focus on her business.

Corona, like Hunt, has had to make some tough management decisions in the face of the economic downturn.

“The killer for me is when I have to cut hours and maybe let somebody go. That’s a hard, hard decision,” Corona said. “I’ve gotten to having a lot more discussions with my staff … [about if] they are willing to take a little bit less hours, each one of them, so somebody can still stay on staff.”

“I think that small business is the answer to a lot of our economic problems, but we need to be left alone to do what we do best,” Corona said. “Government needs to get the heck out of our way … and give us the freedom to be able to create those jobs and those opportunities so we can get this country back on its feet.”

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