Small Business Policy Expo. Scott Knewitz, Policy Intern. Graduate student, American University

The 2019 Small Business Policy Expo & Ready to Launch Congressional Reception took place on Wednesday, January 30, in Washington D.C.  The event brought together leading small business advocates and Congress members, as well as current administration officials to address questions concerning the needs of American small business owners.  Given recent changes on Capitol Hill, the panelists and guest speakers sought to provide insight concerning potential policy proposals that could have an impact on entrepreneurship and small business in the US.

The policy areas receiving the most attention were taxes and healthcare.  On taxes, panelists and guest speakers alike emphasized not only the need to reduce taxes on small business owners, but also to simplify the tax process – citing time as the small business owner’s most valuable asset, an asset too valuable to spend deciphering complex details of the current tax code.  This is a clear extension of the political right’s attempt to spur economic growth through reducing taxes on businesses, in anticipation that the additional profits earned will increase employment and domestic investment. 

Given the right-leaning nature of the hosting organization, it should be of no surprise that most panelists and speakers were against the political left’s enthusiasm for Medicare-for-all. Event organizers claimed such a system would be terrible for small business owners, but the fact remains that such a medical care system would allow small business owners to direct fewer of their resources to navigating a complex system of employee health insurance.  In this respect, Medicare-for-all would enable small business owners to focus on core business goals, yielding them more of their previously mentioned most valuable asset, time.  In fact, Warren Buffett has referred to employer-provided health care as the “tapeworm of American competitiveness,” because it forces small and large businesses alike to bear a costly burden not shared by their foreign competitors.

To summarize, the policy areas of focus for small business in 2019 are taxes and healthcare. We expect no significant changes in either. The best we can hope for are small tax reforms, given the current state of politics in Washington and the divisions within the newly sworn-in 116th Congress.

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