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Memo to Washington: “Gridlock Is NOT Good” for Small Businesses

Aaron Task
Editor in Chief
Daily Ticker

More bad news for President Obama and Congress: Small businesses are increasingly pessimistic and they have "minimal" confidence in the government's ability to stimulate the economy.

That's according to the latest survey of 35,000 businesses owners by SurePayroll, a leading provider of online payroll services to small businesses, defined as 100 employees or less. (See: "Bumping Along the Bottom": Small Businesses Are More Pessimistic Than Ever)

But as SurePayroll CEO and founder Michael Alter tells me in the accompanying video, the issue isn't that small business owners don't have faith in government, per se. It's that they have little or no faith in the current crop of D.C. politicians to get anything done.

"The challenge is: The left wants to go one way, the right wants to go the other," Alter says. "Gridlock is not good for anyone."

For small business owners, the key is "demand stimulation," which Alter says can be accomplished via lower taxes or infrastructure spending that puts people to work, or some combination thereof.

But "right now you're half pregnant" when it comes to federal policy-making, he quips. "It's very challenging if you're not sure which way the world is going to go…so you sit and you wait until you have clarity."

The problem, of course, is that a businesses that is in 'wait-and-see' mode is not a business that is going to invest, expand or add additional workers.

"As a small business owner, you're sitting on the sidelines waiting for the debate to end," Alter says. "Not knowing which way it's going, you don't now which action to take so you sit and watch and let your biz bump along, and you hunker down. That makes it hard for the economy to grow" -- and serves as another reminder why politicians need to stop the bipartisan bickering and get something done.

Aaron Task is the host of The Daily Ticker. You can follow him on Twitter at @atask or email him at altask@yahoo.com