I consider myself a free-market kind of guy, believing that strong businesses do well and weak businesses fail. I have so far been able to accept the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, banking crisis, and retail meltdown.
I spend a great deal of my day being a counselor to my business clients, advising them to do things like practice meditation and turn off the bad news that seems to be everywhere. About a week ago, one of my clients was so stressed out he went to the emergency room thinking he was having a heart attack. They sent him home with anti-anxiety medicine.
I guess I should also start advising my clients to not read my blogs, since even I have been having a hard time finding good things to write about. Acknowledging the bleak circumstances is pretty hard for a “glass half-full” kind of guy, but the evidence of ongoing economic hardship is hard to ignore.
I have been predicting more doom and gloom to come in the retail sector, banking industry, and overall economy, but up until today I have been able to see the situation from the position of someone who believes that this down cycle of the economy shall pass and that when it comes back it will come back screaming.
Today though, I’ve really started worrying. I have a television in my office and often keep it turned on to CNN or some other news channel. Several pieces of news concerned me.
First, hearing about how the U.S. House of Representatives voted along party lines on the new president’s stimulus package sickened me. This vote disturbed me because our people deserve so much more from our elected representatives than partisan bickering. But what was more troubling was that I couldn’t, as a common-sense-oriented citizen, understand how the stimulus package was going to actually stimulate the economy and create the 4 million jobs promised by President Obama.
Then I had a feeling that the bill is being crammed down lawmakers’ throats without giving them time to fully understand it. I read some of the bill’s provisions and I simply couldn’t figure out how many of them were going to stimulate the economy in the near term, if at all.
I searched the bill for provisions that allocated funds to small businesses. I found very little in the bill that would directly benefit small businesses that employ the vast majority of Americans.
I guess I need to take a deep breath and hope that when the Senate takes up the bill next week they remember why the bill is called a “stimulus bill” and take out all the pork barrel projects that neither create jobs nor stimulate the economy.
Sam Thacker is a partner in Austin Texas based Business Finance Solutions.
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