The State (SC), November 24, 2020
Greensburg Daily News (IN), November 24, 2020
Hilton Head Island Packet (SC), November 24, 2020
Myrtle Beach Sun News (SC), November 24, 2020
The Gilmore Mirror (TX), November 25, 2020
The Orange Leader (TX), November 26, 2020
Asbury Park Press (NJ), November 27, 2020
Augusta Free Press (VA), November 28, 2020
By Frank Knapp Jr.
If it was not enough for small businesses to be suffering due to the pandemic, now they are threatened by an attack on our democracy.
The public knows why the virus is a critical problem for small business but they might not understand why the actions by President Donald Trump’s administration to oppose a peaceful transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration is a threat to the health of our economy.
Even before the election protecting our democracy was a concern of small business.
SMALL BUSINESSES WORRIED
In early October a Small Business For America’s Future national survey found that the 65% of small business owners were worried about the integrity of the national election with the dominant concern being that post-election uncertainty and turmoil would be bad for the economy and small businesses.
Fortunately state officials made sure that their elections were free of fraud and the results are clear: President-elect Biden won.
Today small businesses have shifted their democracy concerns from the integrity of the election to the integrity of democracy itself and the peaceful transfer of power.
A Small Business For America’s Future national survey found that 61% of small business owners believed that if the Trump administration denied access to transition resources for the next president, it would harm America’s economy.
Meanwhile, 63% believe that it is time for President Trump to accept the results of the election and concede.
TIME TO MAKE WAY
The survey also found that:
▪ 73% of small business owners want President Trump to actively participate in a peaceful transition of power.
▪ 62% called for General Services Administration Administrator Emily Murphy to give the incoming Biden transition team access to resources needed for transition.
Small business owners understand that a healthy democracy is crucial to a sustainable free market in which consumer demand drives the creation of businesses and jobs.
Thus, anything that threatens our democracy will harm our economy.
The current political theater around the White House blocking a smooth transition to a duly elected new president is not welcomed by small businesses.
They do not need this self-inflicted democracy crisis to further harm our economy by shaking consumer confidence.
For nine months small businesses have been facing a survival crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. A September Yelp Economic Impact Report revealed that almost 100,000 small businesses have already closed their doors permanently, and the restaurant and retail sectors have especially been hit hard.
Only the federal stimulus that pumped out loans to small businesses — and provided enhanced unemployment benefits to those who were out of work — saved our economy from going into a deep recession and possibly a depression.
But all of this federal relief is now gone.
MORE HELP NEEDED
An October Small Business For America’s Future survey found 34% of small business owners saying they will not survive past the end of the year without further federal financial relief.
A recent Goldman Sachs small business survey also found 34% saying they might not survive.
Now the coronavirus is again surging across the country threatening the economy’s modest rebound with a double-dip recession. If small-business closure predictions come to fruition, the 11 million workers still not rehired could be joined by millions more as consumers tighten their wallets.
Unfortunately, another stimulus bill from Congress is nowhere in sight.
This dual threat to small businesses — one that originated in a faraway land and the other one created by the White House — can be remedied by leaders in Washington.
Congress and its members must quickly address both.
Within weeks Congress must pass a large enough stimulus bill to provide financial help to small businesses, especially those industries that have suffered the most or did not receive the earlier funds.
But here’s what must happen right now: congressional Republicans must tell President Trump that the election is over, and that President-elect Biden’s transition team must be given the legally required support and information that it needs to hit the ground running on Inauguration Day.
This democracy crisis must stop for the good of our country and our economy.
Frank Knapp Jr. is co-chair of Small Business for America’s Future and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.