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The Importance of Deregulation for the Future of Small Business
By Robyn Sachs, President & CEO, RMR & Associates, Inc.
I recently had a very unique, special opportunity – a personal invitation from the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to attend a special session on the dangers of over-regulation and the damages that a clunky, convoluted system brings to small businesses across the country. I attended the “Cut the Red Tape” event in the East Room of the White House, followed by a second session at the Department of Labor. In the East Room, I had the opportunity to listen and share insights – with the benefit of a very special vantage point right behind First Daughter, Ivanka Trump.
The President’s chief message was simple – his administration will always champion, and never punish or inhibit the prosperity of the American people. And thus far, President Trump’s disruptive – and admittedly not always popular – approach to evoking real, sustainable change has hit a number of early successes: 1.2 million new jobs created, a GDP now over 3%, a surging stock market, and an anti-red tape commitment that centers on getting rid of every single outdated regulation for maximum clarity, efficiency, and an overall net reduction of regulations overall.
The goal? Freedom. The freedom of all Americans to prosper and succeed, and unlock and nurture their innovative powers for a brighter future than ever before.
As I listened to the Vice President’s speech and there were a few key points that stood out to me:
- Regulations as they stand currently are weighing America down – literally. Right now there are about 13,000 regulations required for every man, woman, and child in the country – a processing cost of more than $14 trillion.
- This era of over-regulation, resulting in fewer jobs and opportunities overall, is OVER! The current slashing of regulations is to be the largest to date in the nation’s history.
- The passage of Executive Order #13771, passed by President Trump in January, 2017, was groundbreaking for its deregulatory potential and motivation for change in this critical area. The rule is simple:
For every new regulation passed, two must be eliminated. Since the Order’s passage, 860 outdated regulations have been slashed so far
The impact and significance of EO #13771 was unmistakable when we attended the follow-up session at the Department of Labor (DOL)’s headquarters shortly following the White House meeting. There, the new administration is taking swift and decisive action to eliminate unnecessary regulation – an effort many could easily describe as Herculean at best.
Another very interesting part of the afternoon was the segment featuring officials from the Small Business Administration (SBA), including its administrator, Linda McMahon. Not only did I find Linda to be very dynamic and energetic, essential elements to bring life and change to a difficult transitional period, I also appreciated her approach to her job so far. Linda acknowledged the tremendous economic power of small businesses, which collectively create about 68 million jobs across the country, and underscored her key goals: to only keep regulations that NEED to be there, and to make government operations more efficient and effective overall.
Since taking office, Administrator McMahon and her team have traveled the country, hearing opinions and sharing stories to guide their efforts from the small business community. Some key concerns I heard from small business owners in the room were:
- Overtime rules.
- Additional costs associated with paid sick leave and FMLA.
- The layered costs of Obamacare on small businesses.
I shared a personal story and concern of my own related to internship programs and the unintended consequences of DLLR regulations that are actually disincentivizing employers to bring on paid interns because of the requirement to hire them as staff. These restrictions largely inhibit opportunities for professional growth for young people.
Another major observation that emerged from these discussions was from a woman who owned a chemical company in Southern Virginia. She hit on a key point that I could relate to – businesses are looking for certainty. The issue? Changing program names as administrations come and go typically require businesses to recertify (at vast expense, i.e. tens of thousands of dollars) regardless of the fact that the programs themselves and their provisions remain unchanged. Her point? Simply put, don’t change things just to change them — and don’t make companies have to jump through hoops to comply.
All in all, I spent a gorgeous, inspiring day in a beautiful place just brimming with history. The intimate setting in the East Room created an inspiring, close-knit feeling to the event, and it was a truly memorable experience to sit in close proximity to the vibrant, dynamic Cabinet members and directly behind the gracious and classy Ivanka herself.
I feel renewed and re-energized, both as a person and a small business owner. Trump is a disrupter, and, like him or not, he is effecting change that will be significant for our country in the weeks and years to come. While change is hard and often uncomfortable, it’s necessary to drive the success, wealth, and innovative spirit of entrepreneurship that sets us apart as Americans and makes us the unique, dynamic, country and world leader that we are.