News & Politics

Small-Business Leaders Bullish on America

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

At least one group of Americans isn’t fazed by the constant ups and downs of Washington and Wall Street:

Follow the volatile ups and downs of the stock market or President Trump’s Twitter feed too closely and you’re bound to think the economy is booming one minute and heading for collapse amid a global trade war the next. Thank God the men and women who run small to mid-sized businesses aren’t so obsessed. They’re methodically hiring new workers and seeing plenty of green in their future, no matter how intemperate the markets or even the current White House occupant have become.

That was my takeaway after spending some time with about a dozen CEOs and CFOs of these businesses a couple nights ago and listening to what keeps them up at night. The meeting was private; I was asked not to provide names of the companies nor their executives. Still, no one had a problem with me spreading their core message about the Trump economy, and why — for all the noise about trade wars, market zig-zags, Robert Mueller and Trump’s latest Twitter feud — they’re optimistic about their businesses and the future of the US economy.

The pace of the media now, which is pushed every second of the day on platforms like Twitter, literally cannot be exceeded, which means in a short attention span culture, whiplash is inevitable. So we need folks who are able to step back and take a longer view.

They’re hiring more and, for the first time in years, facing some wage pressure. Recall: One of the biggest problems with the post-financial-crisis recovery under President Barack Obama was stagnant wages. Heaping layers of regulations on businesses, as Obama did, didn’t lead to better pay, as small firms responded by looking to cut costs. Higher taxes similarly kept wages low.

The folks I met with say now the opposite is happening: Relaxed regulations, a tax cut and signs that DC is actively trying to spur growth rather than penalize businesses are sparking a rush to find new workers, even at higher wages. How and when this shows up in official growth and employment statistics is difficult to know, but at least anecdotally the business execs I spoke to couldn’t be happier with what’s happening in the Oval Office and Congress, and they say the benefits are starting to trickle down to their employees.

Excellent. If the GOP wants to maintain control of Congress this fall, it had better hope this trend continues.