McCain Small Business Plan Favors Fortune 500 Firms With Little or No Help for Small Businesses, According to ASBL President Lloyd Chapman

Press Release

McCain Small Business Plan Favors Fortune 500 Firms With Little or No Help for Small Businesses, According to ASBL President Lloyd Chapman

August 6, 2008

Petaluma, Calif. - On Monday, August 4th, the McCain campaign released "John McCain's Plan To Help Small Businesses." Senator McCain's plan is exceptional, that is, as long as your small business is a Fortune 500 corporation.

Senator McCain's small business plan uses a tried and true Bush Administration tactic of attempting to pass off the classic Republican political platform of "big benefits for big business" as a plan to help small business. Factually, the majority of Senator McCain's small business plan is comprised of tax cuts that Fortune 500 firms have been lobbying for, and changes in United States energy policy, for which oil companies have been lobbying. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 98 percent of all firms in the United States have less than 100 employees. Senator McCain's plan contains nothing of substance for these firms. McCain's small business plan is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

The proof of Senator McCain and President Bush's total lack of concern for America's nearly 27 million small businesses can be uncovered by paying attention to their actions, as opposed to listening to their tired and predictable recitation of empty republican catch phrases on the importance of American small business.

The truth is, while President Bush has been unwavering in his two-faced pandering to the small business community, he has cut the budget and staffing for every single federal program to assist legitimate small businesses, and Senator John McCain has never objected in any way.

Since 2001, the Bush Administration has done everything in its power to close the only federal agency to assist America's small businesses, the Small Business Administration (SBA). In fact, President Bush has virtually starved the SBA to death with the largest budget and staffing cuts of any federal agency. He has even refused to implement a seven-year-old federal law establishing a 5 percent set-aside goal for woman-owned firms and closed the SBA office to assist veteran-owned small businesses. Again McCain said and did nothing. 

Since 2002, more than a dozen federal investigations, including three during the last thirty days, have all found widespread fraud, abuse and manipulation of contracting numbers within federal small business contracting programs.  As recently as July 1, the Department of Interior Inspector General released a report, which found the DOI had intentionally included Fortune 500 corporations in its small business contracting statistics.  Evidence supports the conclusion that these abuses have been designed to divert federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms and give the impression that the Bush Administration is hitting its small business procurement goal.

In February of 2005, the SBA Office of Inspector General issued Report 5-15, which stated, "One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the entire Federal Government today is that large businesses are receiving small business procurement awards and agencies are receiving credit for these awards."

Some of the firms that have received billions of dollars in federal small business contracts during the Bush Administration include: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Titan, Rolls Royce, John Deere, Xerox, British Aerospace and Engineering (BAE), Dell, GTSI and the multi-billion dollar Dutch conglomerate Buhrmann NV.

In June of 2007, Former SBA Administrator and Bush Administration fundraiser, Steven Preston implemented a federal policy that will allow Fortune 500 firms and hundreds of other large businesses around the world to continue to receive U.S. government small business contracts until the year 2012.

Despite hundreds of stories in mainstream media outlets across the country on the diversion of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to many of the largest companies in the world, Senator McCain has never uttered a single word on the subject.

If Senator McCain wants a real plan to help small businesses, he needs to address the specific challenges facing legitimate small businesses, as opposed to proposing a plan consisting of government giveaways to Fortune 500 firms and calling it a small business plan. 

If Senator McCain sincerely wants to help small businesses, he needs to release a plan that addresses helping the SBA. That agency needs to have its staffing and budget restored so it can fulfill its real mission of administering a wide variety of loan, grant and contracting programs for America's 27 million legitimate small businesses and the 160 million Americans that work in those firms.

Additionally, perhaps Senator McCain should consider a plan to stop the flow of more than $100 billion a year in federal small business contracts to some of the largest corporations in the United States and even Europe. It is my understanding that Senator Barbara Boxer (D - CA) has produced draft legislation, specifically designed to stop the diversion of federal small business contracts to large corporations.  The draft legislation has been tentatively titled, the Small Business Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act.  I believe it would bring an immediate end to the diversion of federal small business contracts to large businesses. 

Since millions of American small businesses are owned by women, Senator McCain might want to give us his plan to implement the federal law passed more than seven years ago mandating the establishment of a 5 percent set-aside for woman-owned firms.

Minorities own millions of small businesses. Senator McCain may want to come up with a plan to insure minorities receive a fair share of government business.

As a concerned veteran, Senator McCain might want to see if he can't encourage the SBA to reopen, fully staff and fund the office to assist veteran-owned firms.

This year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) pushed two pieces of legislation (H.R. 3567 and H.R. 5819) through the House of Representatives, which would allow billionaire venture capitalists to participate in federal small business contracting programs. If that legislation were to become law, thousands of legitimate small businesses could be forced to shut their doors. Maybe Senator McCain could come up with a plan to insure billionaire venture capitalists are not allowed within 1000 miles of a federal small business contracting program.
I do like Senator McCain's ideas on legislation to prevent speculation from driving up the cost of fuel. If he really wants to help small businesses with the escalating price of fuel, Senator McCain might want to consider supporting some sort of excessive profits legislation for the oil and gas industry. I am not an economist but I think there may be a connection between the highest gas prices in American history and record profits for the oil and gas industry.

Who knows, if Senator McCain can come up with a plan to stop the diversion of more than $100 billion per year in federal small business dollars to Fortune 500 firms, small business might be helped out a little. Maybe if the government would stop pulling $100 billion a year out of the middle class economy where most Americans work and where over 90 percent of all new jobs are created, more Americans might be able to afford decent health care and make their mortgage payments.