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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Small Business Economic Stimulus Survey

Here are the results of our survey conducted from a pool of 700,000 local business owners spanning all 50 states from 2/19/09 to 2/22/09.

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Q 5 6

Q 7

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Q 10 11

About MerchantCircle

Founded in 2005, MerchantCircle is the largest social network of local business owners in the nation with over 700,000 members. Business owners can utilize a number of free tools to build out their listing page, including: blog, coupon, picture, newsletter, review, and recommendation tools. MerchantCircle is funded by Rustic Canyon Partners, Disney’s Steamboat Ventures, Scale Venture Partners, and IAC.

Sincerely,
Community Relations

98 comments:

  1. This information doesn't make me feel very optimistic, but it seems similar to my own discussions with small business owners (usually in the 5-20 employee range). The sad part is that it seems no one in Congress seems to really care. It's like they are reading a different game book altogether. Many, many small businesses will likely fail this year and next - I'm not sure the new, young entrepreneurs are poised to fill this huge gap. It takes years to build up a small business - so it will be years before we can realize any positive impact from new businesses.

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  2. Thank you for providing this survey. I have shared it at Twitter, FriendFeed and cliKball as I believe more small businesses need to be aware of the current economy's effect on sales. Even very strong online businesses with excellent search engine placement are seeing this decline. We must be VERY proactive and creative at finding new ways to increase sales.

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  3. Well, these results are too be expected. Everyone is feeling the pinch in this economic 'crisis'. And even if a business isn't feeling the pinch, it is hard to escape the depressing news all around us. So, it isn't surprising that most of the results reflect the prevailing negative mood.

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  4. It is very sad to is Obama is doing nothing for the small business owner. It seems he wants to punish people who actually make something of themselves. His new budget has no incentives or relief for us small business owners. The breaks he gave to 95% of the nation is nothing and spent much of the money on BS projects and organizations who helped get him elected! I do believe he is in business to spread the wealth, instead of letting people earn and keep what is theirs. Punish the ones who make something of themselves and reward thoses, who don't want to do nothing is not good for any of us!

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  5. An economic downturn to this catastrophic extreme is going to require small business owners to put on their creative thinking caps.
    For starters, I'm focusing much harder on low cost and NO cost means of advertising. The budget to support my business would not be described as a shoestring ... it's as thin as dental floss!
    Thanks for providing everyone with the opportunity to participate in this survey.
    ~Melanie

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  6. I would have preferred more business related questions but the answers as they appear seem to point to the work that so many business owners need to do in getting their businesses in order to weather the financial storm that has descended.

    Having said that, it is useful to have a business that is functioning at optimum even in good times. A business that is "sale ready" - whether it is for sale yet or just providing a living for the owners. Either way, the best it can be... is the best it could be.

    http://www.designbusinessengineering.com

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  7. I find it interesting that the #1 agenda chosen was "job creation". That is such a nebulous term. Just how should the government do this? There need to be defined jobs for these workers to go to; ones that are productive and actually DO something.

    Seems to me we should treat the repair of our common infrastructure and the development of alternative energy in the same way that WW2 was treated.

    People of widely differing political views seem to agree that our dependence on foreign oil is something that has negative consequences beyond just the price at the pump. This recovery should be a war on foreign oil dependence with the same effort and resources put into building up our "offensive". With this mindset in place there will be a destination for many (millions of??) workers.

    Many economists say that WW2 was the real shot in the arm that ended the great depression. I suggest trying to think about this recovery in this way. Not so much Manhattan or Apollo project (with a single end point) so much as war machine (a widespread, well-oiled machine).

    Sure, you can argue about how YOU would spend a trillion dollars but my feeling is that this thing can be done right if enough people are looking in the same general direction.

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  8. This is a time when small business can flourish if you are innovative and proactive. Be positive with your customers. Nothing shuts a wallet faster than a bad attitude and doom and gloom, especially when you moan it to your customers and vendors all day. My competitors are apparently doom and gloom to anyone who will listen - how do I know that? I'm hearing that from none other than their FORMER customers who are now MY customers spending money at my shop. I'm in the hobby/arts/crafts supply business and I'm up 30% from this time last year. Be innovative and think about how to turn the ecomony to your favor - it just takes a little creativity with your customers. Give them a positive experience, a reason to come back again and always thank them for supporting small business!

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  9. It just seems that small businesses and capitalism in general are being attacked from all sides.Where is the incentive to be entreprenuerial and risk taking when the rewards are higher taxes,higher costs,and higher energy,materials and red tape?I agree with Kelly's comment about Congress but spread it out even higher.So very few elected to national office or in government have ever been small business owners,yet they seem to know what we need?They are clueless.

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  10. We really need to make a bigger stand - there are many of us small businesses and TOGETHER we can make a difference - ALONE, we are alone.

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  11. I'd like to state a missing piece of this is the CPSIA law which goes into complete effect Feb 2010. This will put thousands, and maybe hundreds of thousands out of business.
    I'm all for lead testing of children's products, but this bill has overstepped common sense. According to this bill, thrift stores, libraries, schools, etc. must not use any children's books printed before 1986.
    No one can sell items meant for children under age of 12 unless it has been tested for lead. The testing is VERY expensive, and for those making one of a kind items, it's impossible as testing ruins the item.

    Please look into this further.

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  12. Mirage Productions, InternationalFebruary 27, 2009 at 7:24 PM

    I thought that the survey was interesting in that the results were what I expected. Since we are in the media business, and deal only with businesses, and not consumers, we have noticed some interesting things. We are now getting more business from new clients, who have take the attitude to be more aggressive in their marketing approuch. Initially a lot of companies were cutting back, and our business dropped off. We have offices in Seattle, and Southern California. California is where we have actually lost businesses due to closures. Many are leaving the state for greener pastures. My main worry is the government buying up stocks and shares in many companies, making me a bit worried about forced socialism, and higher taxes in the long run for small businesses. For me, it makes outsourcing to foriegn countries a lot more appealing.

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  13. It is most important that everyone thinks and acts in positive, pro-active ways in regard to their business, their neighbor's business,and their business community,as well as with each new client, customer, or referral. Networking and client satisfaction are the keys to business growth in any economy. You can spend all day talking about doom and gloom, or you can go out and meet a new client, think of a new promotion, or do some act of kindness for others. The world has lived through recessions and depressions before- and we will survive this one as well. But you can choose to do more than survive- you can and visualize and create the opportunities!

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  14. It is quite disturbing to see this new administration moving us more and more into socialism. He's not even moving all that slowly. What's even more disturbing is that so many people are failing to see it, and still think of the new president as a hero. What will it take to wake them up? As long as "American Idol" is still on, and various young stars are doing idiotic things to entertain them, I fear that the majority of Americans will remain blissfully oblivious to what is going on that will threaten their very way of life and the freedoms they so take for granted.

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  15. Patriot Until DeathFebruary 27, 2009 at 8:59 PM

    The people in Washington are not idiots - they know exactly what they are doing. The Democrats are manipulating and deceiving people as they enact completely self serving money grabs to empower the Democrat party. Legislation to stifle free speech is another step to eliminate a problem they have in deceiving people. It is clear that ultimately they want to destroy free enterprise and have government control (Socialism/Communism) over the People. By owning industries, companies, and forcing people onto government money they then have total control.

    There are no Socialist or Communist societies that offer a good life to anyone but the politicians in power. Only fools would support (or not fight) this blatant run at the destruction of liberty, freedom, and capitalism.

    Government is not the answer - it is the problem. Do not be cowered into submission or controlled with political correctness! FIGHT THE SOCIALISTS AND EXPOSE THEIR LIES AND DECEIT!!!

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  16. It makes me glad I'm in Internet Marketing and not dependent on uncertain corporate paycheck.
    Many have said its a source of optimism in a dark time.
    it seems that many are uncertain of the value of the economic stimulus bill.

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  17. How can so many people not agree with what B. Hussien Obama is doing but think he is doing a good job? This is going to be a crazy 4 years. Hope we survive!

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  18. I am a small business owner. This November will be my 20th year in business. I do home Improvements in the suburbs of Philadelphia PA. One of the issues I feel should be addressed in order to stimulate the economy, is credit card interest rates. It has ruined this country from the foundation. The little people who want a better life for their family turn to credit cards for help, and almost always get it without any income verification what so ever. Now this would not be such a bad thing if the credit card companies had limits on their interest rates, and I mean limits, not 33% or 27% or even 19.99%, and then there are the late fees of $30 or $35. This is killing the consumers which in turn is killing the economy. Too much credit card debt, high interest rates, refinance to consolidate bills and improve credit, get more credit card debt and so on until there is very little equity left and then house values come down and then comes foreclosures. This is not just a slow economy this is a disaster. If credit card companies where forced to fix there interest rates just like a car loan or a mortgage, people would be able to budget their income much better. The savings in monthly payments alone would help so many people free up some spending money and help stimulate the economy. I wrote an email to my state governor regarding this issue and so should everyone. Voice your opinion.

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  19. It is amazing that the way this administration is handling the crisis is by printing more money, borrowing money, and working on a ever growing budget deficit. Any business doing these things would be forced to close its doors quickly.
    Why take my hard earned money to bail out organizations that were irresponsible with their own money? It just seems we need to slow down and think things through rather than throwing money out the window hoping it will stop the wind from blowing.

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  20. This survey needs to get out. there are many small business owners that i know would like to see that they are not alone. the bailout money is not helping us at all. In the meantime we continue to dump money into the banks who continue to raise interest rates,most importantly on credit cards. This is really a burden to the small business owner.

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  21. This information echoes what I have been hearing from other small business owners. I don't think this bill was passed with small businesses in mind. Washington has this love hate relationship with wall street, and in my humble opinion this bill was passed mostly to kick start wall street, and the banks again so that they can start lending again. I own a small travel agency, and ASTA (american society of travel agents) is trying to get the travel industry included in this bill. I highly doubt we will see any money though. The airlines pay us 0% commission, and the average consumer makes purchases online, so we are up against a wall. I hope things turn around for the better soon, or else quite a few of us are doomed.

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  22. " HELP, I WANT A BAIL OUT TOO" The Stimulus package will do little to help small businesses in the State of Maine. My two State Senators Colins and Snow sold out for something in the last minute of the vote. They had to get something in return for voting yes. This bill will not help the small business person in Maine. It will take many years to get back on our feet again. This bill is full of pork.

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  23. The economic stimulus package is actually a spending package that does little, if any, to assist the small businesses in this nation. We have had an above average number of small businesses closing in my market. Some shopping centers have occupancy as low as 50% with many running in the 60 to 75% range.

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  24. As a small business owner I really think the Government should be doing more to help small businesses grow. In my town alone I have counted 11 out of the aprox. 50 stores and service businesses have already closed. It is a real disappointment that the Government seems to be focusing on helping big business rather than the small businesses that make up the backbone of America. If small businesses fail that means less jobs and less consumer spending. Luckily we haven't really felt the affects too badly yet but we are bracing for it. I really feel for the businesses that just can't make it in this economy. I am scared to think that where I live Walmart will be the only place to shop for the things we need or want.

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  25. As I small 2-3 person Carpet Cleaning Business in Montville NJ, Clean Impressions Carpet Cleaning, I feel that during this challenging time in our economy, that the herd is being thinned out.
    Unfortunatly I don't beleive any stimulas package will arrive in time to help any of these small business as it takes to much red tape and time to get to where it most needed. The bank keep sending these small business the message that they will not lend money out and if you have LOC out that they are inching up the % rate on us.I have noticed that risk taking is still crucial for the small business owner, we can't afford to make any bad decisions during this time.

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  26. Small business should consider thinking BIG. With integrated Web based technology available they need to be positioned for success. Larger companies are turning to the Web for marketing and revenue, so should most small companies. It is a very challenging environment, and working with the tide and breaking from traditional methods of marketing and management will help level the playing field.

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  27. Hav weyour received your cost for the payroll software upgrade yet? The new money going back to the employee in April required a change in your payroll software. I just purchased our 2009 upgrade the beginning of the year. Now I get to buy another upgrade and it cost the same as the 2009 upgrade. So who is funding the new money back to the people. Small Business.

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  28. Have you upgraded your payroll software for the "new money" back to the employee that goes into effect for April? I just got my notice I needed to purchased the software upgrade. The upgrade for this change cost the same as the 2009 upgrade that I just purchased in early January. So we are getting hit in our small business pocket again for the "money" back to the people. Who is taking care of small business?

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  29. Interesting survey. Results are not surprising. It will be a challenging few years for all of us but I am confident we can get through it.

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  30. How can it be that intelligent government representatives who control the future of this country do not understand simple economics? If you take money away from those individuals who made good business decisions, are not late on their debts, did not purchase houses they cannot afford, actually produce goods, employee workers, pay the highest tax rates and create new industry innovations, then you take away their incentive for growing, crush their entrepreneurial spirit and top that off by rewarding those who make all the wrong decisions, and consume and complain about it, how does that stimulate the economy? $13 extra in someones paycheck is not going to do it. Biting the business hand that feeds the masses will not do it. People need jobs and to increase jobs, businesses need to be able to flourish. Entrepreneurship and innovation must not be discouraged. Bad personal financial decisions should not be rewarded. Consequences of bad choices should be experienced.

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  31. The truth os right in the results!

    People answered this survey the same way they VOTED this year...notice how many siad in the 2nd question that they APPROVED of the stimulus...then in the question about how it is for small biz, they answered "I dont' know enough"...switcehed when they thought about it...Obama wouldn't of been elected if people had THOUHGT about it, and RESEARCHED his past.

    he is the ENEMY of small busienss, and the ENEMY of freedom.

    We're in serious trouble, and anyone who won't admit it is as guilty as congress!

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  32. Thanks for providing the results of this important survey. It seems to me that those in Congress do not understand that small businesses are probably one of the most important drivers in a healthy economy and the creation of jobs. Without adequate support for small businesses to establish themselves or existing ones to expand, I don't believe the unemployment rate will improve dramatically unless it is at taxpayers' expense to fund jobs through government initiatives. Despite this, I remain hopeful that the current situation will improve in the near term.

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  33. YES,IT IS VERY HARD AND ONLY THE FUTURE WILL TELL WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT OR HOW BAD THINGS WILL GET.

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  34. IF ONLY THE CROOKS IN CONGRESS COULD FEEL THE EFFECTS,THEY WOULD HAVE A BETTER FEELING THE PROBLEM,I KNOW I WOULD FEEL BETTER.

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  35. I'm choosing not to participate in the recession. Where you are and where you are going is a state of mind. Whether or not you succeed, in any economy, is no one's issue but your own. It's really helped me to turn off the tv and radio and focus my marketing efforts. I'm planning on having my best year ever.

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  36. No surprise really! Thanks for doing the survey with us as members, though. It allows us business owners to express our opinions as a group. Now if only our representatives would LISTEN TO US...

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  37. I watch CNN all the time and Barack has been very fair and doing a great job. It is interesting how things can get twisted in the media and spread like wildfire to those who are watching biased reports or not watching reports at all.

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  38. When we have 1200 living in tents in our area because of the economic situation,(most of it construction workers and family,I'd say the whole system is failing. It reminds me of Hoovervilles. Small business should be the backbone of every community and it looks like we will be the hardest hit by the so called stimulus plans(s). If the core of the skeleton breaks the whole structure falls, while the whole government lives in a protective bubble. Eventually,though the bubble will burst and then they will know that they have ruined a people, people who just want to contribute to their area, make a decent living and provide for their families the necessities of life.

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  39. I'm confused over the survey results. 78% said the 1st stimulus did not work but only 52% do not approve of the new stimulus. That should be more like 90%. Why would the 2nd go around work any better than the first? Then 35% said Barrack Hussein Obama is doing a good job, about the same % as the ones who say he isn't. Comrades, this guy is a socialist (possibly communist) hell bent on taking over as much of the private sector as possible. Think about it-autos, banks, health care, energy and the list goes on. And, who gets to pay for all these wonderful bailouts? It will be us, our kids, grand kids and great grand kids. He is a very smooth presenter but we better start looking at what he is trying to accomplish. And, where is he getting the money? The printing presses are running 24/7 creating money out of thin air. There is nothing good that can come out of this power grab and printing all that money. Businesses should be allowed to fail. And, based on the survey results, many of us will. Or, are you going to get some of the bailout money? When a major business fails, we absorb the short term effects, let the FREE markets adjust and move on. When GM goes bankrupt (and they will after the government throws more than $35 billion of our money at them) the other car companies will pick up the slack, hire more people, and fill the demand for new cars. We, the little guys will never see one cent from the government. But, they will take plenty from us to bail everyone else out. Now, why again would anyone approve of the 2nd stimulus?

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  40. We, as Independent American Citizens, Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Self Starters, Risk Takers, Employers, Family Providers, and as the Worlds Humans in existence, cannot afford to sit back in any way shape or form, and, wait, or anticipate, that someone else is going to get us out of this dilemma. We, must all form a union of the minds, ready ourselves for bravery, and "Continue Forward", to search for, find, or even create the answer to our own salvation, destiny and most importantly the future of our sanity and well being. Winners never quit, and Losers never Win.

    Santiago Pena PA

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  41. Like most surveys, this is completely unscientific, which is why I always refuse to participate in them or give any much credence to the results.

    Furthermore, if you consider that many of the participants indicated displeasure and doubt don't know diddly about finance, but take their clue from a news source who didn't have a murder to report on that day, or who are pre-disposed to report negatively on anything that anyone less ultra-conservative than they... point being, how much do these reporters know about "The Economy"? Very little. Practically zilch, just like you and me.

    Sure, the economy is in sad shape. My business in in the toilet. No dispute. But to say that this very intelligent gentleman, who has surrounded himself with the best and the brightest has failed before anything has even happened, well, that's ignorance at its worst.

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  42. Unusually well designed and presented survey. And with some surprises, especially the one owner fraction. Agree Congress is back to business as usual. Sad.

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  43. I think this is a bogus survery, everyone I talk to sees Obama doing a great job, we are feeling hopefull after eight years of scamming, lying and bogus military spending, much of which got us into this mess, undertaxing the rich, overtaxing the middles class, health care problems, etc. With the scam based and unconstitutional based actions of the last eight years it is going to take at least eight years to pull this out, and 5 weeks of being in office isn't goint to be enough to even begin judging how Obama is doing. Typical Americans what a blue pill to take care of all their problems. That is what we got from Bush and we now have this current mess. Try not to be so shallow people, we are in for the fight of our nation, and if we don't get behind Obama, and let the Republicans obstruct his success as they are doing, we are in for a big vat of _ _ _ _, much worse than we have now. Grow up and step up, it is now time we pay the price for the last eight years of corruption and quite the whining.

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  44. What surprises me is that of the business owners that answered yes or no (factoring out the I don't know vote) 97% didn't think the 850B was a good idea,70% disapprove of the $787B program, 95% think it doesn't do enough for small business, 87% disapprove of the way congress is working, but almost 50% (49%Y/51%N) approve of what Barack Obama is doing. To me this shows that we are truly a nation of idiots. Not only did the Democrats in Congress drive up the deficit (yes even under the Bush Administration), but they fueled the greatest voter fraud since LBJ was taking names off of headstones for JFK.(see ACORN)and passed both 'stimulus' bills. Still Obama is doing a fine job, so says 49% of the respondents. I say God help us all, and we deserve everything we are getting. Shame on us for being an ignorant society.

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  45. I wish one of the questions was "How long have you been in business?" When 80% of all small businesses go out of business in the first 5 years, it should not be a surprise to see at least 20% of folks thinking they might go out soon. This is normal attrition.

    It is as important to know how much experience in business the small business owner has before one reads too much into the data. Also, comparing this data to similar questions from a year ago would be helpful (not about the stimulus package, obviously, but rather about the state of your business).

    My sales are up in my small business, my credit is solid and I don't think the stimulus package has much for me. Never-the-less, I support the president's efforts and think that long-term, the decision is a correct one.

    BTW: I've been open 7 years.

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  46. The crash is by design. Congress and the administration know what they are doing. It is about collecting power. Wecome to the oligarchy.

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  47. I wonder how many of you realize that congress (all spending!) has been under control of the democrats since 2006?

    Do something about illegal immigration and you'll help the economy.

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  48. I am simply amazed at the number of people/businesses so quick to down the President's plan before they have given it a chance to work. These same people, same congresspersons, who are so negative are taking the moneies to keep from failing. So let just close our creative minds, let the fat take cats take the money,keep it for themselves, keep shouting doom and droom, let small businesses retreat, let our friends and neighbors suffer. What happen to that American's can do Spirit? BE PROACTIVE!!

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  49. good morning, just to add to this, my company has closed, and congress and our state congress and governor here in washington state really do not know how to create jobs without paying for them. also my local gov. helped put me out of business, they have a law on the books that says if you owe someone money and it has gone to a judgment even though you are paying them, that they must take your business license away. you take my license and i can't work, which means i cant make money, which means i cant pay off my judgment or all my other bills now. seems like common sense to me. but they say until you pay off your judgment we will not give you back your license. HOW CAN I PAY IT OFF IF WE CANT WORK? be aware out there. they are not business friendly.

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  50. I am surprised at the percentage of people who answered “unsure.”
    People need to educate themselves on the issues that affect their business.
    More government spending is not the answer. This problem can only be fixed by the working man. Government needs to get out of the way and let the entrepreneurs and the working man get the job done and rebuild our economy.
    The government is not going to show up on your door step tomorrow and hand you a check to run you business. And if they do it will not be your business anymore.

    We elect government. It’s time we had some changes. Some of these senators have been in office over 20 years. You can’t tell me that they still even understand what it’s like to be a working man. The only thing they understand is how to be a politician. Presidents come and go but the congress stays.
    The country voted for “change” I guess that’s what we will get.

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  51. I believe that the only way to help "stimulate" the economy, is to promote business, and keep them in America. That would decrease unemployment, increase the wage base and ultimately, boost the economy. Helping the "low wage earners" is not a bad thing, but it will not boost the economy. They may as well have sent every AMERICAN CITIZEN $ 3000.00 each, and it would have cost them less overall, and people would have spent it - ergo, stimulating the economy. Businesses need to grow, and to grow, costs need to be cut. If the Government can't cut costs, and instead, spend even more than before, how can they expect a business to do anything different??? I say, vote OUT everyone in office, and vote IN new people and new ideas. It is the Congress that runs the country, and we all see how they have done so far!!

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  52. Let's not despair everyone. This economy is going to come roaring back. The important thing to do is scrape by, make sure you use your time productively, improve your infrastructure and and get ready for the rush. Best of luck

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  53. I am saddened to see the results of this survey, because so many small business are simply not going to be able to make it through this economic crisis. This morning's NYTimes is saying that we really are moving into a full blown depression, and Mr. Obama is not going to be able to keep up with it. The stimulus package will do nothing to change the downward spiral that America is now experiencing. I am going to have to close my doors after the summer, in the hope that summer sales help to bring my inventory down as much as possible. What a waste!

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  54. The survey results are interesting. I think about the old phrase, "What comes first, the chicken or the egg?" Then, I think about the economic mess that is now prevalent throughout the world and wonder, "How will we manage this huge stimulus bail out to insure it is spent wisely so we get our return on it?" As much as many of us don't like it, what else can be done to stimulate the economy with people losing jobs and people not being able to or not wanting spend what little reserves they might have?

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  55. The survey is very telling. Small business manufacturing could be a real boost to the economy. Some tweaks to the tax code would help or better yet a flat tax or consumption tax would totally end this recession. Beyond that we have legislators fiddling while Rome burns. They are still in the mentality of BUYING VOTES we we are serious danger of complete collapse. China could collapse us right now if they stop buying Treasury Bonds. Our constitution was written for governing religious and moral people and now there is TOO MUCH corruption in the federal government.

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  56. I think that this survey shows something that I have thought since Bush did his first stimulus. That is, economic stimulus' deals do not stimulate the economy. Maybe a quick blip on the screen but they are not able to sustain any stimulus effect that they do have.

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  57. When Poor people are given money they spend every penny. When tax breaks and benefits are given to the well off, they pocket the money and it does not effect the economy.
    In our business we hire employees when there is demand for their work, not because taxes are lower.
    Trickle down doesn't. The efforts of Republicans to steal from the poor and give to the rich and lack of oversight and regulation are what has allowed the to 2% to remove all the capital from businesses and put it in their pocked. The SEC and other regulatory bodies are gutted of funds and the ability to penalize greedy business wreckers under the "free trade free markets" banner and the work of reversing those years of misuse and abuse always falls on progressives to solve. Clinton balanced the budget and no Republican ever has.
    But sooner or later (and we pray it is much later this time) the fat part of the IQ curve will fall for the flag waving that covers the lies again and the Bush Recession will be forgotten.
    The truth is, our society was attacked in the billfold and people believed them when they said "Iraq did it, lets get um!". The 800 BILLION we spent in Iraq and the tax cuts for the rich + the money stolen by traders and Big business CEOs adds up....
    So, now we know where our counties wealth went and who rolled over and let the terrorists do just what they intended to do. Towers in New York symbolize our economy. And with Bush's cooperation they won.

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  58. I find it interesting that our current President still has such a high approval rating in this survey (about 35%) yet so many respondents have such a dim view about (Q8) the current stimulus bill helping them, (Q9) Bush's stimulus plan and, (Q10) congress. Our current President has, or has had direct involvement in each of these questions as a Senator and as a President. What ever happened to "The Buck Stops Here"? So far, I have seen nothing come out of the new regime that directly affects me, my family or my small business.

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  59. It's incredible that the President, Congress, and the news talks about how small business America employs 80% of the workers in this country. They've talked about small business being the key to our economic recovery yet the new stimulus plan offers little to no help for small business. Instead we continue to take our tax payers money and hand it to Wall Street business instead. New entrepreneurs are not going to risk their money as they watch small businesses fail in droves. I live in a small town where I'm seeing my customer's stores go out of business and feel very uncertain about my company's future. I just don't think that Obama is going in the right direction and many many people will be out of work and losing their homes before things get better. I'm not sure how the $13.00 increase in paychecks is going to stimulate anything but the fast food places and the gas pump. If we only had more lobbyist for small business, we might be heard.

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  60. I'm sure the majority's pessimism will be a self fulfilling prophecy within their respective businesses. When times seem exceptional for small business gov't does too much. But when cyclical declines manifest gov't doesn't do enough. People aren't buying because they haven't the money or feel the need. What is gov't supposed to do. It's berated for it's spending then castigated for either doing too little or not enough.

    If overhead exceeds revenue you're upside down. Do you want subsidies to keep you afloat? Can you trim your expenses? Do you just resign yourself to failure?

    When there is not a market for certain product and/or businesses what gap truly needs filled.

    The survivors or the ones who flourished during other economic downturns were predominately the ones who maintained a positive mental attitude.

    I hear too often the pick yourself up by the boot straps ideology which conveniently ends up displaced by pessimism when the straps feel too heavy.

    Those who maintain a realistic but positive outlook will fulfill consumers needs. The rest (or apparent majority) of chicken littles can fall to the wayside. Maybe their attitudes are what's really keeping them from moving forward.

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  61. "Patriot until Death" needs to get a grip on mental stability here. Government is becoming more responsible and open and trying to help our economy by bolstering it. So get a grip!

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  62. We've been in business for 4 years, and are uncertain what this year will bring. We will be cautious in purchasing decisions, but aggressive in marketing. We want to BE THERE for the ones who are thinking about spending, not hiding in a hole hoarding our money. Make no mistake, though, times are tough and might get a lot tougher. There are so many causes to this mess that it's hard to pick out any one faction to fault, BUT I can say that much of it is due to immoral and unsound practices from the government on down: the business owners, bankers, homeowners, and consumers. ALL groups have been affected and/or infected by greed; do what YOU can do to make your dealings and decisions sound and ethical.

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  63. It appears that the major strategy of the new administration is to use the current crisis as a call to create fairness in the distribution of healthe and wealth. Of course in order to do that someone has to be in charge of deciding what is fair. The way to accomplish that is to remake the government into the decider of everyone's health and economic future.

    The only potential bright spot is that many Americans see through this massive effort to use spending as a way to create power over people in a way the US has never before experiences.

    The next two will likely dictate whether our country and way of life will become a footnote in the history books or whether we will find a way to end this insanity by only electing those who will reverse this runaway train before it destroys the very fabric and only true power our country has had since its inception.

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  64. An Illustration of what our new government is doing. Picture a swimming pool with a deep end and a shallow end. If I ask you to take a bucket, fill it with water from the deep end and then dump it in the shallow end, doing this over and over and over again. What happens?

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  65. I'm confused: How can so many business owners believe in massive government? It seems investors don't. Seen the stock market lately. While the economy is shrinking and you're tightening your belt to run more efficiently to survive, the government is getting larger and larger and larger and larger....massively larger. We have about 50% of our fellow Americans here saying "give him a chance". Let's say it another way: "Give socialism a chance". It ain't gonna work folks. Prepare your family...we have to learn some hard lessons all over again. And it ain't gonna be pretty.

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  66. President Barack Hussien Obama has barely been in office. Give him a chance. Good God people! Nobody can do as bad a job as BUSH. Even his stimulus needs a chance. How can there be so many of you racist jerks out there in this time and place? Don't say you aren't because you are and everybody knows it! If you want change and economic stimulus get off your asses and make it happen!
    It starts with you.! I stole this quote from another comment written here.
    "This is a time when small business can flourish if you are innovative and proactive. Be positive with your customers. Nothing shuts a wallet faster than a bad attitude and doom and gloom, especially when you moan it to your customers and vendors all day."
    STOP THE DOOM AND GLOOM.
    ROBIN

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  67. WOW, good info. I have said it in the past and believe it true. The Biggest Gap that is occurring, and will continue to occur, is between those that can change the way they think, and those who can't.

    See what I mean..
    http://hubpages.com/hub/Financial-Crisis-At-Your-House

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  68. Small business owners, as I am for 23 years now, have to realize war has been declared on their company and it's survival.
    If possible, owners must deversify their clients broad package service needs and invoice in the strictest conservative terms; itemizing discounted pricing where possible. Personally, I make visits to my clients, talk about their needs, extend payment times where appropriate, and am presently discounting our service at about 15% over last year. King Obama is about to tie a millstone around the neck of small business in the trillions of dollars and, any of us out here still in business, know where the monies coming for to pay these outrageous excesses from Mighty Mouse.

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  69. After years of trickle down economics, taking care to see that all the rich benefit and nothing really trickled down, while all our jobs went overseas (Remember Ross Perrot?). We are now seeing the distruction of the US. Remember Reagan saying that if we gave the money to the rich they'd create jobs, but they put it into offshore accounts and fancy homes (I know I built them for them) When I started 30 years ago the rich only made 40 times as much as the average Joe now.....God knows 400-600 times? When Roosevelt throttled back on Gov't spending in '37 we sank back into depression that we were slowly pulling out of. Only Gov't can spend us out of the hole Bush 43, Clinton (NAFTA), Bush 41 and Reagan dug for us. We need to unite behind this President for all our sakes. Please America think for yourselves and don't listen to RUSH and his hatemongers!

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  70. The only drop in business is our Government accounts. Seems they stopped their spending all of a sudden. But thank goodness for our regular customers and the new customers we gain everyday. Everyone is cutting back and their buying habbits have changes, We are seeing more and more people buying our remanufactured products insted of going to the big box store. For that I'm happy to see, because buying our products is also helping our planet too.

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  71. I get complaints and pictures and jokes from people through email all the time about the president. President this, President that, I mean any president, But all he is is a puppet some one to blame. Congress is the problem and congress has control and getting out of control. The stimulus plan is a pacifier for us thats all it is. Do you know why activist get there way? Because they are in a group and work in a group helping each other. People depend to much on government anymore its sad.

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  72. I'm not sure if I'm relieved or alarmed to see that the majority of the responders all seem to be in the same leaky boat we are. For what they're worth, here are some words of wisdom I've run across over the last few months that make good sense. Common sense, really, but still good advice:

    1. Cash is king. Hoard it, conserve it, use it VERY carefully.
    2. DON'T use debt right now to fund your business if you can, or at least cut back borrowing as much as possible. High debt service can kill a small business in this kind of environment. (Yeah, I know, it sounds contradictory to #1: just remember that a lot of debt will chew up cash faster than just about anything, so be careful.)
    3. CUT, CUT, CUT expenses, until all that's left is what is absolutely essential.
    4. Be willing to let your customers dicker on the price--half a loaf IS better than none.

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  73. What everyone needs to realize, is that everything has a cost. We as consumers pay for everything that ever happens. Government programs? We pay in taxes or inflation. Concessions, wage increases, benefits from businesses? We pay in the form of higher costs of the goods or services these businesses sell.

    There are two ways to avoid paying the cost: one, the government forces wealth from some individuals and/or businesses, and redistributes it, AND puts measures in place to prevent them from recouping their losses (such as price caps or worse socialism and communism).

    Two, businesses and/or individuals (and churches too!) open their wallets and hearts, and give "money" in the form of charitable contributions, time, assets, or services to those less fortunate. AND then consider it their moral duty to do so and do not try to recoup that "money".

    Much of what we see happening today is because of greed in the government, the businesses, and the individuals. The way the economy could and should be turned around is by everyone making ethical and moral decisions, and willingly sacrificing their own goals to help others. Note: this is not communism or socialism if it is done willingly.

    A government program will never truly be able to permanently fix all our problems; printing money, borrowing money, redistributing wealth- none of it is going to work in the long term. And by long term I mean a fix that will last for next century.

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  74. It is very good for the small business owner to work together

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  75. As a person, I approve of the job President Obama is doing, so far, to a point. As a small business owner, I really would have liked the bill to address more Small Business Credit Lending measures that would assist us Owners in surviving in this economic downturn.

    Right now, obtaining lines of credit to add employees, meet payroll, improve marketing efforts, add equipment or infrastructure was not addressed in this bill, that I can see. Small business owners are the BACKBONE of improving this economy. When we can start hiring new employees, the financial situation of this country will improve.

    Instead, what I have saw and seen is big bailouts for large corporations that was not run efficiently in the first place. Small business owners, meanwhile, are crossing their fingers and toes to stay alive and afloat; not riding private jets and having luxury getaways on the tax payers dime.

    I hope the current administration will soon address the needs of Small Business Owners. Until something is done to assist us, I cannot see the economy improving.

    -Monica Ross-Williams
    ServiceMaster Building Services in Wayne County

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  76. Truth doesn't lie! Only your predjudice !March 1, 2009 at 4:24 AM

    Obama is now 'O-BUMMER!
    Are you kidding me?
    9,000 Earmarks in the 'stimulus bill'!! (Not an exaggeration but a fact)
    He Bitches about when he 'inherited' non-stop....but OBAMA more than doubled the deficit of the last 8 years in 2 months!
    His comments about Las Vegas and corporate parties(oh but he doesn't mind spending 150 Million for his own ignora-arguration party) will ruin Las Vegas if he keeps it up. We are a town built on tourism AND conventions.
    It is already a 'trend' among companies to AVOID Las VEGAS because of the 'appearance' that it's no longer a business trip but a luxury corporate vacation that should not be allowed.

    Obama, I wished the best for you but....You're ruining the country, and you're ruining Las Vegas!

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  77. Dear Robin,
    In regards to your earlier Comment. Yes Obama has just gotten into office, as leader of America you don't 'get a break.' You do what is right.........

    He has done nothing but almost double the size of government in a few short weeks, this is just the beginning of him 'printing money' without 'evaluating' the proper use of it.......

    Do you think that's a good thing? Is that Wisdom, good stewardship, proper leadership? ...........
    How Dare you try to say it is racist that people disapprove of his actions! White or black, Facts are facts, YOU must be the racist.

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  78. Pauline said
    I feel until the businesses are audited for financial books as to wasteful company spending it could be a disaster. I look back to the Enron corporation where many people lost their retirements from the officials doing underhanded laundering. The mortgage industry should be priority. When you have an adjustable mortgage and all you are paying is interest only who is getting that money. How are you ever going to own a home with interest only loans. They should be outlawed and people should be able to pay on their principle of home ownnership. Hope this will make people think. There has got to be a way people can save money without it being lost. I have 2 relatives who lost thousand of dollars on their investments. Why? This is money earned to retire?

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  79. If government really wanted to help why couldn't small business buy into the health care that all the gov't employee get? I know I'd love to have an less expensive insurance with dental.

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  80. This is exactly why I voted against Obama & why I've NEVER voted for a Democrat even though my state elects 3 of those idiots to the Senate & Congress every time.

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  81. Everyone needs to realize this is worst than the great depression, just in a different time. We have major companies that have closed or maybe closing. The fisrt thing to do is not throw money at it, because as small business owners, we all know, it has to be paid back at some point. I think we all also know that to spend a dollar you need to make 3 dollars. Fix the original problem, which I feel was cheap money and the mortagage mess (remember 5% equity loans). Everyone took that cheap money and went on a spending spree, with the american way of paying it back....low monthly payment. It has now caught up with us.

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  82. The really sad part of all the money spend in the name helping the economy, is that one single
    action by the government, could have turned this ecomonmy around instantly, and solved most of the problems.

    With several trillion dollars towards, this, you could have given evey working family 1 million dollars tax free. They could have paid off their homes, their debts, and still had money to spend as a consumer.

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  83. We as business owners have to really run a tight ship in this uncertain economy. If we can survive this storm, we will be stronger than ever... That is if we can hold back communism/socialism, and revive capitalism and patriotism before it is too late. Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. When freedom is surrendered as it is now, it is never regained in the same generation.

    My advice to everyone is twofold. First, acknowledge God in your life and business; and second, look for opportunities around us that otherwise wouldn't exist in a stronger economy. Good luck to you all in 2009 and the future.

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  84. I beg to differ with your survey.

    I didn't paint a bleak picture for my business!

    I have one business that is booming and another one that is experiencing a slight drop in business which it does every year at this time.

    If you want to buy in to the government's bleak picture, GO FOR IT!

    In the mean time I'll be growing my businesses. I hope you will be growing your BUSINESS.

    My business is not based on the News and Surveys.

    If News and Surveys is the metric you are using for your business, then turn OFF the NEWS and QUIT spending your valuble time filling out surveys.

    Your survey message said the exact same thing in 2 of my businesses that I particapated in.

    What's up with that?

    "You also painted a bleak picture of the health of your businesses during this recession. For a complete look at the survey results, click here to go to our corporate blog"

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  85. wow, good info, i have been in business for four years now, small home improvement co. 4 employees, i have a planned marketing program and business has never been better, i will not let the goverment dictate to my business how much money it will make, when my customers talk doom and gloom i just change the subject and let them let me know their needs. i hope that all small business owners create their own destiny and let the goverment do what they will do, try to make it hard for us, but do not let them.

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  86. I could get the stock market to increase 20% in one day and create tons of jobs. All I would have to say is:

    1. "I will reduce the size of government by 10% in my first year in office!"

    2. And...I will eliminate the capital gains tax for a period of one year."

    3. I will replace the current tax code with a flat tax.

    My God...how many private jobs would that create? How much would that have cost the government (you and me) to do? How much would that have inspired entrepreneurship and investment!

    Were is the next great free enterprise American Leader? Give me liberty of give me death!

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  87. for the poster who said this "I watch CNN all the time and Barack has been very fair and doing a great job. It is interesting how things can get twisted in the media and spread like wildfire to those who are watching biased reports or not watching reports at all." I am suprised that you don't realize what YOU are watching on CNN is baised.

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  88. BHO's policies will BREAK the banks and the insurance companies. The US government is trying to take over both industries make the states totally impotent in regards to having any control over their own destinies and economies. Go visit Europe to see what the USA will look like in a very short time. Talk to the europeans about what they think of the success of their socialist governments. You will be surprised!

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  89. Who is John Galt ?

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  90. To Robin--
    #1 I can not beilieve that you slammed Bush. I am so tired of ppl and the press doing that. The first 6 years!!!! of his presidency he gave us unbelievable prosperus times! Even through 9/11 he brought the economy back quickly. That was an unbelievable feet....and for once I would appreciate it if people would give him a break! # 2 just because ppl don't sign up for the "all hail Obama" doesn't make them racest! Obama is making very bold policies that he obviously believes will help this economy, but just because myself and many others believe differently doesn't make us racest!!!!!!! Just look at his choice to run the IRS, anytime you pigeon hole yourself in saying that is the ONLY person in this whole entire country that can do the job that is COMPLETELY RIDUCLOUS! Again, I agree with most others, Congress and yes THE PRESIDENT need to take responsibility and not just pay lip service to telling us to act responsibility and they do whatever they want...take private jets, have extravagant gatherings outside washington, and the list goes on and on. But yes, we do need to focus and keep ourselves positive, because without prosperous small business, this country will completely fall apart...so even though Washington DC is a mess, we need work harder and smarter to fix this.

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  91. I am copying and re-posting below what a previous poster wrote. I agree totally. It is THE primary issue. The economy can not get back on its feet until the consumer gets out of debt, and that is simply impossible when the government lends the Credit Card companies at less than 1%, yet allows them to charge the consumer 30-40% (plus fees). No one can ever get caught up, and therefore has no money to spend on consumer items. And I too have written to everyone I can think of, and been totally ignored. The Goldman, Sachs clowns who are advising Obama got us into this mess, and just don't get it!

    Here's what the previous poster wrote: One of the issues I feel should be addressed in order to stimulate the economy, is credit card interest rates. It has ruined this country from the foundation. The little people who want a better life for their family turn to credit cards for help, and almost always get it without any income verification what so ever. Now this would not be such a bad thing if the credit card companies had limits on their interest rates, and I mean limits, not 33% or 27% or even 19.99%, and then there are the late fees of $30 or $35. This is killing the consumers which in turn is killing the economy. Too much credit card debt, high interest rates, refinance to consolidate bills and improve credit, get more credit card debt and so on until there is very little equity left and then house values come down and then comes foreclosures. This is not just a slow economy this is a disaster. If credit card companies where forced to fix there interest rates just like a car loan or a mortgage, people would be able to budget their income much better. The savings in monthly payments alone would help so many people free up some spending money and help stimulate the economy. I wrote an email to my state governor regarding this issue and so should everyone. Voice your opinion.

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  92. The biggest mistake made was the Bush bailout that cost us billions with no accountabiity. I am sure AIG an others laughed all the way to the golf course. How much better to have taken some time and realized that the money may have been better invested in small businesses. Bush got us into this mess. It is going to take Obama years to get us out.

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  93. The economic measures taken after the Great Depression only shored up that economy. It took the unifying event of WW2 to get all Americans to work together and return our prosperity. Sadly, I predict it will take another global event to unify our efforts.
    Cheap energy would help everyone, but it cannot be the final solution since it in itself will not create the jobs. Innovation and incentives to achieve are the bottom line. Making it easy for small businesses to grow and sustain themselves is THE key item.
    We must all realize that any R&D efforts for energy could not bring anything to fruition in less than ten years unless efforts similar to the Manhattan Project during WW2 were manifested. This means HUGE R&D expenditures by the government in league with private enterprise. And guess what two items are the target of the popular media? BINGO!
    Right now, the only event that would key a global interest, outside of a a nuclear attack, would border on a Hollywood Sci-Fi movie theme like a emminent disaster from a comet or asteroid. So let's hope that giving small bussiness a clear growth path gets noticed first!
    -John Wyatt

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  94. I can't even begin to really verbalize what I am feeling about this economy and the so-called stimulus package. I am not totally in favor of the package because it did not address some of the real problems the country has, such as exhorbitant credit card interest rates and late fees. I was unable to obtain a business credit card, because my business is only 18 months old right now. So I racked up the start-up debt on my personal card, then I made TWO late payments and my interest rate went through the ceiling. This is a card I'd had for years, always paid up to date, yet two late payments, not missed payments mind you, just late, and the interest went to 21.9% !!! I have heard very similar stories from others trying to make it with a new business.

    My business has been growing slowly despite the poor economy, probably because my products are aimed at high and high middle wage earners. At least it had been growing until this month, now the bottom dropped out, and mine are not "seasonal" products. I personally think it is all the doom and gloom in the media, and frankly from our own government.

    The government needs to pay more attention to getting the unemployment rate down which would create some belief and confidence in our economy and our ability as a nation to pull ourselves out of this mess. Where are all the jobs this package was to create?? I now hear that many financial institutions and even many states are refusing the stimulus money because of all the strings attached. I believe in accountability and transparency, but how can any "stimulus" work or jobs in infrastructure be created when the intended institutions won't even take the money???

    Finally, I think the stimlus package has done little or nothing for small business. I applied for a small business loan early last fall and was declined because of my "bad credit" with the aforementioned credit card company. I applied again just this month and have essentially been told the same thing, except that perhaps if I write a letter and tell the lender exactly how I have "fixed" the problem with the credit card comnpany they MAY reconsider. What crap. The card is up to date and has been for more then 6 months !! I am a 60 year old female, the wife of a disabled veteran. I have been unable to find ANY job because of 1) my age and 2) the economy. Now I cannot even get a small business loan to try to keep my business afloat until I can show any kind of profit. I really don't know where to go next, as I have exhausted my personal savings with this business.

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  95. I read this article regarding small business economic stimulus survey and found it very interesting.

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  96. The so called stimulus money is money well borrowed if it is used wisely. I hope some of the money goes to R and D of alternative fuels. Make it like when we first went to the moon. Make it a nationwide effort.

    Spend money upgrading roads and mass transit. Get cars off the road.

    I would also use it to brighten the spirit of the country. Look at the news these days, it is all doom and gloom. Use the media for good and get people moving again, lift the imaginary burden instead of placing the imainary burden on their shoulders.
    Just my .02

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  97. Never mind the question "Who is John Galt?", I want to know "WHERE is John Galt?"

    Let's face it folks, the real problem is our own unwillingness to deal with tough problems. Want to have things covered for you? Well it ain't free, insurance, credit card charges, etc. etc. it costs money to provide those things. If companies providing those goods and services can't make a profit they won't stay in business either.

    I'm not saying I think those industries have any particular merit over say, the food industry or pharmaceuticals, or car manufacturers. Any company needs to make a healthy profit in order to pay its employees and expenses and don't forget the owners or shareholders also expect some revenue. Why else would there be any reason for a business to exist?

    If you don't follow my point then you may not agree it is a free society where independent entrepreneurial spirit thrives.

    Its how we came to be where we are but we've taken a detour to take "care" of those who cannot manage on their own. Sadly there are too many people all too ready for a handout who could, if the opportunity existed, manage quite well working in jobs now lost to other countries (who can pay their people less, and not provide similar benefits).

    Can we turn this around? Sure, it just takes willingness to get involved, and not give up.

    Laws can be changed, speak up and stand up for your constitutional rights!

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Why do so many people want to come to America? because opportunity is still possible. Maybe not easy, but possible.

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  98. I feel angry that last administration did many things that contributed to this problem. I think that Obama is doing what he can to turn the economy around having enterred office with an overwhelming mess. I'm not sure the administration will be successful but there has been some recent improvement with Warren Buffet acknowledging he's going in the right direction.However, I agree that small business has not been a priority. Big business especially those who helped make this mess are felt to be too big to let them fail. Maybe they should be kept much smaller below what is "too big to fail".Typically, about 1/3rd of small businesses fail. I wonder if it will reach 50%.
    I'm a small business finishing 2 years in a few months. It's been very hard but I will continue by taking a part-time job elsewhere while I have to. I will not alllow any victim thinking into my head. Flexibility like taking this other part-time job,working creatively and long hours and perseverence has always served me well.

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