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The Obama Administration Reports on Its Small-Business Efforts

The Obama Administration wants small business owners to know that it cares about them. But that benign attitude doesn't always translate into hard results.

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Wednesday, 05/18/2011 - The Obama Administration wants small business owners to know that it cares about them. But that benign attitude doesn't always translate into hard results.

Earlier this week, the White House helped to kick off National Small Business Week with a blog post touting its report on small-business initiatives during the past two years. The report -- The Small Business Agenda: Growing America's Small Businesses to Win the Future -- focuses on several key accomplishments, including:

  • 17 significant tax breaks for small businesses;
  • At least $53 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) lending support;
  • Nearly $100 billion in federal contracts doled out to small businesses;
  • Free and low-cost counseling to more than two million entrepreneurs and small-biz owners.

It's a timely bit of self-promotion. National Small Business Week is one of the few times during the year that the small-business community really goes front-and-center to a national audience.The rest of the time, small businesses -- tens of millions of them -- simply do what they always do, quietly and without fanfare.

Little things like creating most of the new jobs in the United States. Take that away, and a fragile economic recovery would quickly collapse.

But there are a few ants raiding the Obama Administration's small-biz picnic. As our own Heather Clancy reported earlier today, some key small-business aid programs could soon expire -- the victims of congressional politicking. Even the SBA itself could eventually fall prey to buget cuts.

And those government contract set-asides? In too many cases, big enterprises manage to muscle in and grab more than their share, thanks to fuzzy definitions of what really constitutes a "small" business.

Finally, let's keep in mind that small businesses still suffer from a credit-crunch hangover, although that seems to be improving.

There's still a lot of small businesses to celebrate this week. But before the federal government starts patting itself on the back, let's focus on the hard work that remains to be done. There's certainly enough of it.

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