Americans For Hire
When the coronavirus pandemic struck the world last year and many communities across the nation were forced into lockdown, small businesses experienced some of the most devastating blows. For many businesses that survived the unthinkable and sudden economic hits, challenges have remained amid reopening. And that is because of several concerning factors threatening their recovery and success made worse by President Joe Biden’s misguided policies.
First, just like families and households across the United States, small businesses are faced with the painfully sharp and continuous rise in prices on pretty much everything. In fact, it was recently reported that the Consumer Price Index increased by 5.4 percent last month, which reflects the same dramatic inflationary uptick as just before the stock market crash in 2008. Similarly, the Producer Price Index, another indication of the health of an economy, alarmingly rose by a record high of 7.8 percent. Meanwhile, since real wages cannot keep up with increasing prices, inflation has effectively become a new tax on hardworking Americans, including small business owners.
In addition to the rising costs of buying and producing, small businesses are simply having a hard time filling open jobs and getting people to come back to work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unfilled positions were at a record high at the end of June with 10.1 million job openings reported. Moreover, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that nearly half of the business owners they surveyed recently across the nation had openings they could not fill. However, although more jobs have become available, the Labor Force Participation Rate, which measures the adult labor force as a percent of the population or those currently participating in the workforce, has hovered around 61.7 percent since June 2020. This ongoing labor shortage has made it difficult for Main Street businesses to operate and deliver at full capacity.
Rather than return to work, many Americans have continued to receive the federal government’s enhanced unemployment benefits. While extra unemployment benefits were critical in the early days and months of the pandemic, in helping those found jobless by no fault of their own, these continued benefits are clearly disincentivizing Americans to return to work and creating enormous labor and goods shortages. Fortunately, unlike some states, Oklahoma has created incentives to get people back in the workforce. Earlier this year, Governor Kevin Stitt announced that the first 20,000 Oklahomans on unemployment to return to work would receive a $1,200 incentive using federal funds allotted to the state. For the entire country to recover, it is critical that workers in other states are encouraged to do the same.
Unfortunately, rather than focusing on policies to strengthen our economy, help small businesses thrive and get Americans back to work again, President Biden and Democrats are seeking to revamp the very essence of our society through enormous spending on and creation of socialist-style programs. This is a grave mistake, and it threatens the pursuit of the American Dream – an idea that has flourished for generations due to hard work, personal responsibility and freedom to pursue one’s own path. Before the coronavirus pandemic, our economy was booming and Americans were thriving. We can restore that way of life, but it requires policies that reflect fiscal discipline and protect what America stands for.