Pitched battle likely to intensify to defend small business against intrusions

Dan Danner
Dan Danner

For too long, America’s small business owners have been deliberately ignored by a federal government that’s elbowed its way into their affairs, essentially becoming an undesirable partner in their operations. Their earnest pleas for affordable health care for their families and employees went unanswered, as did their calls for tax reform and less regulation, red tape and needless paperwork spawned by a growing corps of national bureaucrats. 

Instead, Washington has only stepped up its demands on their time, resources and energy. And in recent months, the current administration has waged an intensive campaign aimed directly at those who chose to follow their dreams of free enterprise success. 

The decision by the Supreme Court on health care legislation, while disappointing, means health care will remain a problem for small business as all the new taxes, regulations and compliance burdens hit. The National Federation of Independent Business will continue its mission to fight for repeal and real health care reform that address the No. 1 issue — cost. 

Yes, America’s health system is broken and must be fixed. But that’s not the only problem facing this nation. Our weakened and dangerous economy, now in greater trouble than it’s suffered in many years, is serious. But it isn’t our greatest challenge, either. 

 As President Franklin Roosevelt took the oath of office at the height of the Great Depression, he warned America “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Today, those words draw attention to the growing fear we all feel as the massive footprint of government intrudes into every corner of our lives. 

Is the union-controlled National Labor Relations Board cleverly rewriting laws to grease the organization of unions at small businesses? If not, why did Congress have to slap its wrists recently for issuing an “ambush” rule designed to rush union elections? 

Small business owners dread virtually every federal agency — and with good reason. They’re favorite targets of  IRS auditors, OSHA inspectors, wage and hour investigators and a whole host of state and local officials emboldened when they see the feds showing no restraint. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s petty restrictions to prevent the sale of soft drinks larger than 16 ounces offer an excellent example of the arrogance of governments trespassing in private lives. 

It took guts, but the NFIB never hesitated to force President Barack Obama’s health reform law to the Supreme Court. No other business organization stepped up to help. We did it because the federal government took a dangerous step too far. We did it to protect the personal freedoms of small business owners staggering under the weight of a government that has lost all sense of its boundaries. 

 The opportunity for leaders of courage to end Americans’ fear of government has arrived. They can begin by repealing the remains of the health care law, then quickly moving on to restore fiscal stability through tax reform, regulatory reform and ultimately shrinking the size of a fearsome federal government this nation can no longer afford.