This is just about the smartest commentary we've read about Karen G. Mills's confirmation as head of the Small Business Administration. Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends pointed to Mills's saying, "Finally, we must--and I will--act as an advocate for small business across the administration. As Chair Landrieu and Ranking Member Snowe have suggested, I will coordinate with other Agencies, including Commerce, Labor and Energy, whose programs also affect small businesses." In other words, the part of Mills's testimony at her confirmation hearing that didn't concern credit specifically.
Campbell then writes: "When the SBA is mentioned, usually it is in connection with SBA loans. However, SBA loans touch a tiny percentage of businesses. In 2006 SBA loans accounted for just 4% of all small business credit volume, according to the Washington Post. SBA loans simply are not very relevant to the majority of small businesses—those small businesses that everyone is so fond of saying are 'the backbone of the U.S. economy.'"
Instead, Campbell proposes that Mills focus on simplifying regulations that affect (and that disproportionately affect) small businesses; work with the IRS to simply small-business tax issues; fix the small-business procurement system; make sure small business's interests are heeded as health care reform is crafted; and more. In other words, the part of Mills's job that doesn't concern credit specifically.
We agree. Credit is not unimportant. But it is in those other areas that Mills can fail, or can truly distinguish herself and make sure that, as America is remade, small businesses aren't left behind.
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