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Aren't we looking good today! I am having a hard time believing that our "leaders" have become so enmeshed in their own narrow views that the idea of reasonable thinking and compromise have simply disappeared. Watching these guys basically say, "If I can't get what I want, just let the ship sink," has been almost surreal. I can't help but wonder what they are thinking.

The other day I was listening to NPR and someone was asking why unemployment was so low when corporations are logging record profits. And again, I found myself scratching my head. Don't people understand that American corporations don't hire American workers? That they hire, directly or indirectly, the Chinese or the Indonesians or the Malaysians? If American corporations hired Americans, we would not be is the economic mess we are in.

Who hires Americans? Small businesses. It is small business, not big corporations, that have the capability to get our economy back on its feet. But sometimes, I think I'm the only one who understands this. I am baffled by the fact that we are still, in general, unfriendly toward small business. Our government will hand out huge sums of money to big corporations in the form of incentives, tax breaks and bailouts but not so much as a nod to the small business owner.

Here's a great little anecdote: About 15 years ago, there was a huge debate around whether or not to allow a big Borders book store to open in our town. At that time there were a dozen successful independent book stores operating in the small downtown core. Being a college town, these stores were diverse and constantly busy. Ultimately, the town council, in its wisdom, approved the Borders application and a huge new plaza was built with the Borders store anchoring several new clothing stores, restaurants and cell phone stores. Needless to say, within a year or two, all of the small independent book stores closed their doors. Their storefronts were taken over by mattress stores, nail salons and body waxing spas.

Now Borders is bankrupt, the victim of the popularity of electronic books and is closing its doors. So now we will have no bookstore at all unless some enterprising person wants to risk opening a new independent store. But of course, the money needed will have to come in the form of a loan and the banks are loath to loan money for risky small business startups.

For all of the talk about needing "new ideas" to get our economy rolling again, this most obvious concept is never even acknowledged. I have heard, so many times, one politician or another saying that small business is the backbone of the American economy. If this is true (and I believe it is) why is it still almost impossible for a small business to get a loan or for an individual to get a loan to start a business? Why is there no incentive program for small businesses? If you have the answer to this question, I would love to hear it.

D.D.

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