Op-EdAppeared in Breitbart on June 27, 2024By Alfredo Ortiz

Exclusive—Alfredo Ortiz: What Small Businesses Are Looking for in Tonight’s Debate

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 07: Democratic presidential candidate VP. Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Trump administration's recent actions in Iraq at Chelsea Piers on January 07, 2020 in New York City.

There is no shortage of major topics to be discussed at tonight’s presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Foreign policy, the culture war, and Biden’s mental fitness will all figure prominently.

Unfortunately, Trump’s nakedly political prosecutions and the Jan. 6 sideshow will also devour much precious airtime that should be spent on the many pressing issues the nation faces.

But America’s 33 million small businesses are looking for answers from the candidates about who will restore the Main Street economy. By and large, small businesses are worse off than five years ago, and tonight’s debate provides a study in contrasts between these two periods.

According to JCN’s most recent SBIQ poll of national small businesses, inflation remains the top concern of small businesses. That’s no surprise when you consider inflation’s impacts on profit margins and customers. Under Biden, prices of goods and services have risen by 20% — far faster than average wages — and the price of gas has increased by 50%.

The debate moderators should prioritize getting the candidates’ positions on finally taming inflation and the cost-of-living crisis that are destroying Main Streets nationwide. In particular, they should press Biden on how his Modern Monetary Theory of reckless government spending has diluted the money already in existence and led to too many dollars chasing too few goods.  

Don’t expect Biden to apologize for his socialist spending and admit – as Bill Clinton admirably did in 1996 – that the era of big government is over. Biden will almost certainly parry accountability on this issue with South American-style demagoguery about “corporate greed.”

The moderators shouldn’t let him get away with this insult to small businesses. The reality is corporate profits are down and small businesses face runaway input costs that must be passed on to consumers to remain profitable. A major new study by the Federal Reserve also debunks Biden’s claim, concluding: “Aggregate markups have stayed essentially flat since the start of the recovery.”

Other pressing concerns among small businesses include regulations and taxes. The Biden administration is in the midst of a regulatory onslaught, with new burdensome rules expanding overtime pay, banning noncompete contracts, mandating electric vehicle use, and regulating internet access, which hurt job creators.

The moderators should ask Biden if he plans to continue these anti-business regulations and ask Trump if he will continue his record of cutting eight rules for every new one implemented if reinstated to the Oval Office.  

One particular area of concern for entrepreneurs is the extension of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which expires at the end of next year. The TCJA provides small businesses with a 20% tax deduction, immediate expensing, and lower rates, which have been crucial in helping Main Street survive the pandemic and Biden economy.

Biden has promised to let the TCJA expire if reelected. That would be a death blow for many small businesses barely hanging on and violate his promise not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 per year. 

Trump and debate moderators should try to get clarity on whether Biden is willing to throw small businesses under the bus to appease Democrats who want to expropriate Main Street earnings for their own purposes.

Given their size and struggles over the last few years, small businesses may be the demographic that decides this year’s election. The moderators and candidates should remember this fact and make sure to speak to their issues tonight.

Alfredo Ortiz is CEO of Job Creators Network, author of “The Real Race Revolutionaries,” and co-host of the Main Street Matters podcast.