Will Karen Mills, SBA Administrator, run for the Senate?


Karen Mills, SBA Administrator

  Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration


She’s good.  Real good.  She has got that Washington-speak down pat.  She is a fast learner. I think she has political ambitions.  Perhaps to run for senator from Maine.  You heard it here first.

Listen to this quote from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (pg B4 2/24/2011) :

She says that the Recovery Act Tax breaks not only “helped small businesses keep their doors open, but also put them into a position to drive local economic activity and, in turn, save and create jobs all across the company.” 

Nice.  I am so happy for those business owners who get to save money on their taxes.  Did you notice the adroit use of “save” as in “save and create jobs.”?  You can declare victory whether jobs go up or down.  And turning the topic to jobs. Like I said, nice.  On message.  Add “successful stint running a large public agency” to your resume in a year or two.  Climb on. 

But what about the silent, toiling majority? When you go through a near death experience, you find there is no safety net, and taxes are the last thing on your mind.  You’d love to have to pay taxes – because that means you’re making money. 

I knew something was deeply wrong when told of a CPA firm’s proposal for $25,000 to help a small company claim a TARP related R&D tax credit of some sort.  The net effect is that this is R&D that would happen anyway, and now there is a 25% to 30% overhead added to the cost when viewed by the overall economy.  I don’t think this is good tax policy (too complicated if you have to hire accountants who then value price their services), nor particularly helpful to the entrepreneurs.  Better they should pay attention to running their companies. 

Do you know how tough it is to get capital?  For those who need it?  Just trying to weather a storm.  Get back on our feet.  Move forward as older but wiser entrepreneurs.  I’ve had to shed 6 jobs in the last year in order to sustain my company.  Outside capital has not been an option.  I’m even having trouble pulling equity out of my house.  It has not been easy.  I’ve had wolves nipping at the door.  Lots of humiliation.  Hard to have a lot of sympathy for $100,000 per year government workers during times like these.  It makes me say things in a blunt way when I am normally nice and civil to all. 

So here’s a message to “Clueless in SBA-dom.” 

The entrepreneurs and small business owners who need the money are not paying taxes.  What they need is access to credit.  And on this measure, we are not doing so hot.  From yesterday’s WSJ: 

“Indeed, overall credit to small business dropped 6.2% from 2009 to 2010, according to a study released earlier this month by the SBA’s Office of Advocacy.”

I don’t care how much liptstick you put on this pig, it is still a pig.  Let’s fess up to that fact first, and then let’s talk about what to do about it.

On second thought- forget my plea to act – the credit crunch is good for business.  Smart entrepreneurs squeeze the very last drop out of their precious cash flow by using SurvivalWare to watch it like a hawk.  www.survivalware.com