While it doesn’t seem so, small businesses have held importance since before “Joe Plumber” and all the muttering against “Main St.” Small businesses are the engine that drives the economy as more than half the population is employed by them. They also represent 26 percent of US exports; they have created 60-80 percent of most new jobs since the mid-90s, and account for 44 percent of the annual US payroll. Unfortunately, until relatively recently corporations were paid more attention and concern than small businesses. It took a recession to highlight the importance of the average small business, and now many organizations are cropping up to represent their needs in the political realm.
That said the needs of small business aren’t always in line with the need of the public. For example, recently the Federal government has made to move the minimum wage to 9 dollars. Considering the cost of living has far exceeded the wage most people are currently paid this sounds like a good thing. However, the is worry from some sectors that this will make it harder for many small businesses to function. Another issue is the Affordable Health Care act. While it is a fact that many US citizens simply can’t afford health or go bankrupt trying to – the worry for small business owners is how this will affect their bottom line and premiums.
Of course, how exactly these and other issues are approached depends on what advocacy group is presented. The NIFB, for example, is generally more conservative in how they view these issues, but the SBAC is generally more open to discussion of these topics. Another factor that effects how these concerns are viewed is that generally speaking many small business owners are female, minorities, or disabled – which is why they had to take a different route than most. In that position things like Affordable health care or better pay might seem like more worthy causes than they might otherwise.
Probably the most important point to consider when thinking of political advocacy is that advocates often response to the louder sectors of a group rather than the majority opinion. Rather like the issue with gun control and ownership – many responsible gun owners do not agree with the topics pushed by the advocates paid for by the NRA, but they don’t have the collected clout to do anything about it. In much the same way you have small business owners who aren’t be accurately represented.