Troubling Words from a Local Business Owner

A very good friend of mine runs a small business in the Athens area associated with the construction industry. Tonight he expressed extreme frustration with the failure of the Bush Administration and now the Obama Administration to do anything meaningful to stimulate small business. He said that half of his customers can't pay him, that his customers generally have no new orders and no orders on the horizon. In good times, he said, he'd fill 20 orders a week. Now it's three. His sector is running about 30 percent below the capacity it takes to make money. He's frustrated that all of the attention now is on health care, which should be addressed, but only after the economy really has been put on a sound footing. He says that the initial mistake was to target assistance to the banks without safeguards to ensure the money would be spent to make loans. The banks, he says, continue to demand credit ratings beyond what many businesses can muster in these times. In his view, governments should have kick-started things by giving small businesses a three-month break from paying taxes. My friend is worried. He's having trouble sleeping at night. Just FYI.

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