Open for What Business?
In his continued effort to make a name for himself, Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker got to testify before congress, last week. This puts his comments in the congressional record. Walker made his remarks about a bill he signed into law last month that calls for almost all public workers to contribute more to their pensions and health care coverage. Those changes amount to an average 8 percent pay cut. The plan also strips public workers of their right to collectively bargain on anything except wages.
Wisconsin’s Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi blocked enactment of the law last month, while she considers whether state open meetings law were violated in the process of passing the bill. But Walker stayed on script before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, “State and Municipal Debt: Tough Choices Ahead.”
“These changes do more than just balance the budget; they give small businesses the confidence they need to grow and invest in our state,” Walker said. He concluded, “. . . we will be sending a strong signal to job creators from around the world that Wisconsin is open for business.” Not everyone was impressed. With respect to business, however, Walker made perfectly clear that he hasn’t a clue what he is talking about.
No one disputes the effect of anti-union bills with respect to public employees, but when politicians talk about small businesses and job creation, many seem to rely on Chamber of Commerce public relations rhetoric and made for TV factory tours for their information rather than fact. Here are some things that they ignore in their fantasy world of U.S. businesses.
The Small Business Administration defines a small business as “one with fewer than 500 employees.” Here is the short version of what the SBA says is important about small business to the U.S. economy.
• Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
• Employ just over half of all private sector employees.
• Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
• Have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.
• Create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
• Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers).
• Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.