Obama’s $30 Billion for Banks or SMBs?

According to the most recent AP-GfK poll

, 78% of Americans report being happy.

Not to be cynical, but I find this statistic surprising. In the capitalist system we’re in, I wouldn’t think Americans are so overwhelmingly happy in light of our economic downturn.

I often talk with university students who dread the prospect of graduating because they have heard how bleak the unemployment rate is. I see reports on the news about the soaring job losses. Thinking about it sometimes bums me out too. Regardless, most are happy anyway.

Being the happy campers we are, 56% of Americans report approving Barack Obama’s handling of his job as president. And good news for all of us, now small business owners might have more to be happy for.

President Barack Obama recently called on Congress to utilize the repaid $30 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program funds (Wall Street bailout money) into a new program to help banks provide small businesses with the finances they need.

While this new plan has potential to help small businesses, it will be up to the banks to follow through and lend. While Obama is optimistic about this fiscal handling, not everybody is.

In a recent CNNmoney piece, Steve Gordon, a small manufacturer from Florida, grilled Obama during a town hall meeting by saying,

“I appreciate the pledge of $30 billion to small businesses. But lending it to the banks to lend to us is not the answer,” Gordon told the president. “You lent directly to the automakers, you lent directly to the banks — why can’t the government make [loans] available directly to us?”

Gordon makes a great point, and expresses what the majority of small business owners feel. They don’t matter like the big boys that Congress helps out directly. While this program has the potential to help the growth of small businesses, I would like to see a more heartfelt effort from the President and Congress. After all, in 2008 there were 29.6 million small businesses in the USA, according to the Office of Advocacy. That’s huge.

With just over half of the U.S. population working for small businesses, I wonder what effect this policy will have on Obama’s rating in the polls.

With the current data showing that the majority of us have remained happy individuals, even amongst recession and imperfect legislation, I would venture to guess that we will remain so.

 I know I will, but only if my bank approves my next SMB loan.

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