According to the US census data from 2004 there were 6 million businesses in America with 500 employees or less, and only 17 thousand with 500 employees or more. But, unfortunately, if the economy affects our small businesses, we won’t be getting bailed out. Instead, we will be sweating payroll, and some small businesses will have to lay people off and owners may have to take pay cuts and go into debt to try and keep their companies afloat. Small businesses in America employ more than 65% of the total workforce in America. Yet we are all too small to get any attention, or more importantly, any bailout money from the government.
Meanwhile take a look at the rankings and CEO compensation of 3 of the companies that have received bailout money, or are very likely to:
- Lehman Brothers- 37th biggest company in America with $59,003 million in revenue. Over the last 8 years this company paid its CEO over $400 million. Yes, I did actually write that correctly. $400 million. Yet we are “bailing” them out?
- AIG – 13th biggest company in America with revenues of $110,064 million. This is a company that fired its CEO in June of this year and gave him $47 MILLION to walk away. Then in September we the people of the U.S.A. gave AIG more than $100 million.
- GM – 4th biggest company in America with $182,347 million in revenue where it’s CEO get approximately $15 million in compensation every year.
Somehow this seems a gross injustice. If you are a small business owner or employee your livelihood is being left up to you. Small business owners who act responsibly and manage their business and their cash flow may still have problems in this tough economy. Meanwhile HUGE businesses throw money around to the wealthiest people in America and seem to have no repercussions. I mean seriously, let’s face it, American car companies are in trouble more because of poor strategic direction, than because of the down economy. Despite the obvious need for American car companies to look at fuel efficient cars with alternative energy sources, they continued to manufacture enormous, gas guzzlers, up through this year. And now because of their poor planning and even worse management, they want the tax payers to foot the bill.
I understand that GM or FORD laying off thousands of people would be bad. But what about all the thousands of lost jobs that accumulate every week, every month, every quarter when small businesses do poorly and need to lay off employees? Because we are decentralized and do not have a good lobbying force for us we get short shrift. Unfortunately the SBA is too political, and the many other small business lobbyists are too often paid by the big guys — who want to make it easy to sell stuff to small businesses.
This post is a call to the new administration. Obama please, please see us. Realize that we may need the bailout money more, and that our country may actually get more bang for its buck by standing behind the small businesses that make America go. Don’t reward these enormous companies for their greed and pitiful lack of planning and strategic direction. Reward all of us small businesses by recognizing that it is small businesses, not GM, or FORD, or AIG that really make the economy go. Save money for us. Create policies that reward good business practices — not poor management and ridiculous executive salaries. As I sat listening to you, Obama, on Tuesday Nov 4th, I KNOW that you have it in you to make this leap of faith in small businesses. I know that you can see and understand the difference between bailing out badly run American car companies, and bailing out America. Give something back to us, and I promise America will not regret it.