• Bob Paden

Stop Propping Up Small Business??

Updated: May 9, 2018

Well, this article caught my eye yesterday in the WSJ. The more I read, the more I started to get incensed. And you thought my article on the MEP program got people stirred up. I did a little background check on the ITIF and its president, Mr. Atkinson. Interesting background. Big think tank in DC. And yes, the authors likely write, like many do, to gain a reaction and get traffic to their site or cause or whatever. But wow, what a total frontal assault on "small business". The "subsidies" Mr. Atkinson espouses are in essence tax regulations. Of which both small and big businesses live and die by unfortunately. I won't go line by line and disintegrate his arguments, as I am no MIT grad or PhD and I have no interest in arguing with what I would term a guy who seems to be so smart he can't tie his own shoes.

Of note and ironically, he was named the Small Business Advocate of the Year in 1996 by the SBA! I guess something changes his mind. Maybe, just maybe, it is the source of his funding for ITIF, copied below.

(ITIF contributors have included the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation,[41] the Atlantic Philanthropies,[42] Cisco,[43] Communications Workers of America,[43] eBay,[43] the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation,[44] Google,[45] IBM,[43] the Information Technology Industry Council,[46] the Nathan Cummings Foundation,[47] and Bernard L. Schwartz.[48] ITIF's research has also been funded by U.S. government agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)[49] and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).[50] In September 2010, ITIF received funding from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to study means for improving voting accessibility for U.S. military service members who have sustained disabling injuries in combat.[51])

Also of note, I don't see one bit of real business experience in his background - big or small. So, Mr. Atkinson, thanks for your inputs. But I'll wholeheartedly disagree with your article and continue on without turning my life and that of my client's over the "big business" and just stop because you somehow think small businesses have some huge advantage over big business.

I just always find it curious that think tanks like his, located right on K Street, likely one of the most expensive pieces of real estates in the US, blocks from the White House, are funded by a maze of "grants" from various other non-profits funded by big business to spend their days writing wonderful articles like the one in the WSJ to tell people what they think.

I'd advise Mr. Atkinson and Mr. Lind might want to step outside their high rise bubble from time to time and meet some of the very people who they claim have a "leg up" on large business.


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