Wednesday, October 24, 2012
- by Rep. Eric Stewart
A lot of rhetoric has emerged over the past few years about what it takes to get the economy going. The phrase “job creators” has become a political buzzword that’s often times used to denounce any form of “regulation,” and used to support theories that big corporations, millionaires, and billionaires should continue to receive large tax breaks and tax exemptions. A combination of these efforts should be explored, but it’s also worth looking at what the number one reason is for businesses not hiring new employees: a lack of demand from customers.
A Gallup survey of small businesses released on Feb. 15 of this year shows that 71 percent of small businesses that are not looking to hire new employees are holding back on hiring because there isn’t enough demand to justify new hires. A similar study was conducted and released by the National Federation of Independent Businesses in May of this year. The NFIB study shows that “declining sales” is the largest reason why small businesses aren’t hiring, much more so than business taxes or “government regulations.”
Studies released by the American Sustainable Small Business Council, the Main Street Alliance and the Small Business Majority also cite weak customer demand as the most important problem facing small businesses. I’ve had round table discussions with small business owners in Murfreesboro and across the new 4th Congressional District, and they say the exact same thing: they will hire new employees when they have more customers.
When consumer demand is listed overwhelmingly as the number one reason why businesses are not hiring new employees, the government should be doing everything that it can to make life easier for the largest consumer base in our country: working families that are part of the Middle Class. Put simply, when working families have more money in their pockets, they are going to become customers that purchase goods and services in our local communities from our local businesses.
A strong middle class is vital to a strong economy, and this is something Congress and my opponent don’t seem to understand. Congressman DesJarlais has voted to allow payroll taxes to increase on working families that are part of the middle class, and he’s voted to give more tax breaks to big corporations that often times only add to our employment crisis by sending our jobs overseas.
To me, the real “job creators” are working families -- the mom who buys her daughter a new outfit before she starts school and the family that hires a local construction company to do the home improvement projects they've been putting off. When the demand for goods and services increases beyond what small businesses are able to produce with their current employees, then, and only then, will they hire new employees.
Improving our economy is about more than buzzwords created by CEOs, lobbyists and partisan organizations. It’s about listening to what our small businesses are saying, and recognizing that customer demand is the number one reason why they’re not hiring new employees.
That’s why fighting for working families is so important, and it’s what I commit to doing if elected to Congress.
(Eric Stewart is a Tennessee State Senator and is running for U.S. House in the Fourth Congressional District of Tennessee.)
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No, Senator Stewart, it's you who doesn't understand any better than Congressmen DesJarlais and Fleischmann and just about every other elected official both in Washington and at our respective state and local levels who don't understand.
The only thing government does is suck the oxygen out of the room the rest of us are trying to breath. They exhale hot air, and money they've robbed from those of us who have worked so hard to earn it.
You might remember from junior high school civics classes, a class based society is based on the theory of Karl Marx. It was he who developed the concept of lower, middle, and upper classes of society.
I built my business with no help from government, Senator Stewart. Because of government "assistance" and intervention I've had to decrease my field crews from 35 just six years ago to five today. My personal income has dropped to half of what it was only five years ago.
A friend who retired two years ago was paying $480 a month for insurance at that time. This year it increased to $940. He just received a letter that next year his medical insurance will be $1,260. This, for two people. Our company insurance got so expensive we dropped coverage levels to a bare minimum and increased deductibles as high as we could.
Working families? We have working families, Senator Stewart. At least we had working families until government, both Democrats and Republicans, decided they were going to "help" us. They helped us all right. They took money we earned and gave it to financiers and others Mark Twain said would give us an umbrella when the sun is shining and take it away when it started to rain.
You know how you can help us most, Senator Stewart? Stay home. Stay home and go find a real job. Go find a real job so you know what it's like to really have to work to earn your dinner.
Grandpaw used to ask us, "If you're so smart, why ain't you rich" when we got uppity as kids.
If you're all so smart, why do you have to run for elected office to get rich?
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Mr. Early, you may know how to start and run a business, but you don't understand national or international economics. Of course, I'm just working off what opinions you've expressed.
First, our government has been deficit spending since 1940. During that time the economy grew at over 4 percent on the average. The economy only grew at 1 percent before 1940, but that was when we operated on a balanced budget.
If you've been a successful businessman in the United States in the past 70 years, its because you've took advantage of the government deficit spending which has helped to keep the economy growing, and kept your business growing. Now, I'd like to see people like you in the old days before 1940, when the economy was growing at 1 percent. I wonder how successful you would have been under those conditions? I doubt they'd be any bragging from you if that were the case, because you probably wouldn't have a business to run.
Your attitude that you built your business on your own without help flies in the face of all the facts. The consumers are the real job creators, not people like you, Mr. Early. We need concerned citizens running for office. To suggest that all politicians run because they are crooks is the same thing as saying all business owners are tax evaders because a few do evade paying taxes.