Give thanks where it’s due: small business owners

Politicians are fond of talking about the importance of small businesses. They frequently point out that small businesses create jobs and constitute the backbone of our economy. They’re right about that. 

Dan Danner, NFIB
Dan Danner

However, politicians sometimes underestimate how powerful small business is in shaping our way of life and looking out for our freedoms. This influence is not something to be ignored. In fact, it’s something for which we should give thanks.

Although they are some of the busiest people in the country, small business owners find time to get involved in the democratic process. Many of them feel they have no choice but to push back on a government that sings their praises while dipping its long arm into their coffers. Not to mention all the times they get nudged, pushed or slapped by misguided policies.

Think about it: government tends to “thank” small business owners for their hard work, courage and job-creation by taxing them as much as possible, regulating them to an often-ridiculous degree, and, most recently, telling them they have to buy themselves and their employees health insurance whether or not they want it or need it. 

So while the small business community has had a steady, strong-but-quiet voice in state legislatures and in Congress for decades, every now and then that community gets loud. Take note when it does, because it means its been pushed too far. And when small business gets pushed too far, chances are pretty good the rights of all Americans are in danger. 

In the mid-1990s, small business — primarily through the lobbying power of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) — got loud and was ultimately credited with stopping President Bill Clinton’s proposed health care reforms.

The voice of small business is about to get loud again because the small business community has been pushed too far by President Barack Obama’s health care law. This time, their voice will be heard in the Supreme Court. 

The court recently announced it would take up the case titled “NFIB v. Sebelius” — the challenge brought by the NFIB’s small business legal center against a health care law that violates the Constitution by forcing Americans to buy a product they may not want or need: health insurance. 

The hope is the court will agree the government has over-reached. There’s a chance that when the court rules on the case, the health care law will be struck down completely. The court will hear arguments from NFIB attorneys in the spring and the case will be decided by the end of June. The decision has the potential to rock the 2012 elections and change the course of history by stopping further infringement on our freedoms. 

Win or lose, America’s small business owners will always be able to say they were the only group with the courage and conviction to bring this unconstitutional law to court. If they win, the thanks for standing up for freedom will go, again, to the little engine that could: small businesses.