Skip to main content
The Hill

Fact-checking Biden’s impact on small businesses

By December 6, 2023No Comments

(This column originally appeared in The Hill)


recent survey shows that President Biden’s approval among small business owners is at a “new low,” with only 30 percent of the 2,000 business owners polled saying they approved of his policies, and 56 percent saying they “strongly disapprove” of the way he’s been handling his presidency.

Some say it’s because of high inflation, regulations and, of course, his age. And yes, these are some of the factors. But there’s another more significant reason why we don’t approve of the president: his credibility.

Even over the past few months, Biden has made statements that either significantly stretch the truth or are simply just not truthful. Here are some of the things he — and his administration — have said, and why they’re misleading.

“All told, we’ve added 13.5 million jobs since I took office — around 800,000 of them manufacturing jobs. We created more jobs in two years than any president ever created in a four-year — single four-year term. We did it in two years.”

Any business owner understands the falsehood in this statement. These jobs weren’t “created.” The economy lost tens of millions of jobs during the pandemic and the jobs “created” by the president since he took office were merely a recovery of already existing jobs as people went back to work.

“When the Inflation Reduction Act was passed a year ago today inflation was at 8.3 percent. It’s now down to 3.2 percent, and it’s going to go lower.”

True, the rate of inflation has been declining. However, inflation is still significantly more that it was when the president took office and, overall, small businesses (and consumers) are struggling with prices of core materials from industrial chemicals to HVAC equipment to utilities. Also, interest rates are anywhere from ten to forty percent higher than they were just two years ago.

“The White House will invest $50 million of American Rescue Plan funds in over 10,000 small businesses. The Administration will also issue $50 billion worth of small business loans this year, including large increases for underserved businesses.”

This statement is partly true, but it’s not all thanks to the president. This money comes from the State Small Business Credit Initiative, which was actually established in 2010 for $1 billion and then reauthorized in 2021 for $10 billion as a response to Covid and under the American Rescue Plan Act. The reauthorization effort goes back well before Biden took office; he is merely overseeing the distribution of funds. The loan numbers are not actual issuances but rather mostly guarantees of loans made by banks and backed by the Small Business Administration.

“On Thanksgiving two years ago, 100 container ships were waiting to dock at U.S. ports. This year, there were less than 10. So, as families start their holiday shopping, shelves are stocked. And that’s no accident — it comes down to supply chains.”

The Biden administration played a very small role in unravelling the supply chain mess that was created by the pandemic. Most of these issues resolved themselves as shipyards got back to normal and a worldwide economic slowdown, mostly in China, gave shippers the chance to catch up.

“On Small Business Saturday, the Biden-Harris Administration celebrates the hardworking Americans who run our small businesses and keep our economy moving. We’re committed to helping them grow and succeed.”

Since the president took office, his administration has passed or proposed rules to increase minimum and overtime wages, reclassify more independent contractors as employees, make it easier for unions to organize, mandate minimum wages and paid time off for government contractors and make it easier for employees to sue employers for their colleagues’ behavior both in and out of the office. All of these regulations — and countless others expanding the reach of government agencies from environmental to agriculture to safety — place hurdles in the way of small businesses growing and succeeding.

The last two years have been “the greatest for small business.”

Unfortunately, most small business owners don’t agree with this either. The National Federation of Independent Businesses reported that small business sentiment registered its 22nd consecutive month below its 50-year historical average, with respondents overall saying they are “not growing their inventories as labor and energy costs are not falling, making it a gloomy outlook for the remainder of the year.”

“Under President Biden, we’ve achieved the fastest growth in Black business ownership in over 30 years.”

I’d like to believe this, but I have looked long and hard for data about Black business owners since the Biden administration has taken office, and yet the most recent information only comes from Census Bureau dating back to 2020. Pew Research recently reported that “while Black-owned businesses in the U.S. have grown significantly in recent years, they still make up a small share of firms and revenue in the country.” Pew found that Black-owned businesses accounted for only 3 percent of all U.S. firms, even though Blacks make up more than 14 percent of the American population. Even the SBA’s most recent data dates to 2018. One thing that irks business owners like myself is when outsiders cite information without any credible resources to back it up, and I can’t find anything to back up the president’s assertions.

“There were a record 14.6 million applications filed to start businesses under the Biden administration.”

Actually, new business applications were higher during the Trump administration and have been declining compared to then. It’s important to also note that most of these new businesses are side gigs or freelancers who started a business out of the need to make extra money to make up for higher inflation — and because it’s much easier to do something on the side while pretending to be busy working from home, instead of under a supervisor’s eye in the office!

Ask any manager and they’ll tell you that everything about running a business depends on trust. When you don’t trust someone, you’re less likely to do business with that person. This is President Biden’s core problem with small business owners. He makes misleading and inaccurate statements.

We don’t trust him. Can you blame us?

Skip to content