PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES AND SMALL BUSINESS
Editors' note: The editors of this publication asked each of the candidates to give his views on the small businessman in our economy. These are published as submitted to us.
Senator KENNEDY. Probably no man in America
today is better qualified to testify to the wry results of a policy of
economic retrenchment than the American small businessman.
In the 8 futile years of Republican economic repression now coming to a close, the rate of small business failures in America has doubled.
In the past 2 years alone, more small businesses have failed, more independent operations have gone bankrupt, than in any 2-year period since the great depression.
Each collapse of a small business, each failure, meant men and women out of work, incomes and buying power destroyed, products and services never offered to a nation in need of them.
Each collapse meant the collapse of hopes and dreams of carving one's independent niche and of providing security for the future and it meant the heartache of failure.
There has been much talk and recrimination in our country over the past several years as to what we could or could not afford in the economic sphere.
Let me say I am quite sure we cannot further afford the sacrifice of the small business of America to policies of retrenchment, stagnation, and indifference.
America cannot afford the costs of lost jobs, lost wages, lost purchasing power, lost production, and lost hope and faith in the future, that foundering small businesses throughout our country represent.
America can afford the initiative, the energy, and the work to bring the country's small businesses back to sound health, to bring the economy as a whole back to healthy growth on a widely diversified, competitive base.
History is not likely to give us much more time to ponder. I think we had better put our shoulders to the job. We must get moving again.
We must reverse the high interest, tight money policy which has shut off the flow of vitally needed money to businesses who need a tie to the future, who wish to expand, who need funds to hold on during the first years of competition with the older and bigger fellows.
We must expand the sources of long-term credit necessary to establish the foundations of truly sound economic development.
We must increase the base of our defense industry, include the small and the independent producers as well as the large, and the areas of labor surplus as well as those where the market may be in relative balance.
And we must attend to vigorous enforcement of the antitrust laws. These past years of Republican administration have seen the greatest period of merger and amalgamation in industry and banking in our history. We must make certain that the competitive independence of the small businessman, his freedom to survive, is vigilantly preserved.
The traditional friendship between the Democratic Party and the small businessman has been a product of long years of cooperation and trust. I know it will endure and grow as we move forward together again.
Vice President NIXON.
The fortunes of small business have a strong personal interest for me.
I grew up in a small business family, and I know the problems of small
business at first hand. I know the risk, the frustration, and the worry
of it. I know the climate that small business needs, in order to thrive
and a build up its resources.
Prosperity for the American people is inseparable from prosperity for American business. We cannot raise the floor of security unless we first raise the ceiling of opportunity. The best way to improve American living standards is through policies that promote extensive business growth.
We should encourage this growth through a thorough readjustment of our tax structure.
I am a firm believer in the value of a tax revision to encourage the growth of American business. I believe that we must look forward to revising our tax structure to create greater incentive for all business.
In these days of rapid technological change, there is no question that we need more liberal treatment of depreciation for business tax purposes. Only in this way can we stimulate risk investment in new plants and equipment.
We should also consider the potential of downward adjustments in business taxes. There are strong reasons to believe that the stimulating effects of even a small cut in the corporate tax rate of 52 percent would improve, rather than diminish, our revenue return.
Consideration must also be given to a complete overhaul of the present hodgepodge of excise taxes. The imbalance of some of these taxes amounts to discrimination against certain types of business operations.
In the area of personal income, I am convinced that risk-taking is discouraged, and tax-avoidance encouraged, by confiscatory rates in the highest brackets. I believe that the small loss of revenue that would follow the reduction of some of these rates would inevitably be offset by new investment and business expansion.
Unleashing new capital for private venture would not only provide more and better jobs for our people, but in the long run would produce more revenue for needed Government services.
Today, the business climate is favorable. Credit has eased, jobs are at an alltime peak, real income is the highest ever, no materials shortages plague the scene, there is labor-management peace.
This Republican administration is operating well-established basic programs to help small business remain strong. Since it was set up in 1953, the Small Business Administration has helped over 20,000 small firms to borrow nearly a billion dollars of loan capital when they were unable to secure credit from their own banks. Another 9,000 firms have been helped with low-interest disaster loans amounting to $100 million. Through SBA-licensed small business investment companies, loans up to 20 years are available. Nearly $150 million has thus been channeled to date into the small business money market, though the program is only 2 years old. In the area of Government contracts, a special "set-aside" program has made available over $5 billion worth of Government business for the exclusive bidding of small firms. And these are only a few of the programs currently operating to help the small businessman.
Small business is the lifeblood of a free economy. Small business has a far better chance to survive and to grow under an administration that is dedicated to keeping Government interference and controls at a necessary minimum, rather than under one that is determined to increase them.
We must make certain that the private businessman and the small investor are assured of every opportunity to exercise their abilities and their enterprise to achieve the success and prosperity they so justly deserve.