Small Business Policy and the American Creed

Small Business Policy and the American Creed

Small Business Policy and the American Creed

Small Business Policy and the American Creed

Synopsis

Sandra M. Anglund examines the American national government's small business assistance policy from the passage of the Small Business Act of 1953 onward. She traces the heritage of the policy and shows how American core values, those often referred to as the American Creed, contributed to shaping that policy.

Excerpt

The American national government is in the business of promoting small business. Government agencies help entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses through a smorgasbord of programs providing financial assistance such as loans; help obtaining government contracts including the set-aside of contracts for bidding by small concerns; and management and technical support. Unlike government programs for farmers and big businesses which are usually invisible to the citizenry, small business aid programs are extremely visible and intentionally so. The nation that lacks an explicit industrial policy not only employs industrial policy tactics to aid small firms, it even has an explicit small business policy. That policy is to “aid, counsel, assist and protect” small business.

Congress declared the policy of aiding small business and launched the contemporary era of small business assistance programs in the Small Business Act of 1953. And in spite of the view that small business was an economic anachronism espoused by economists during the next few decades, inattentive interest groups, major scandals, and often unsympathetic administrations, aid programs expanded, multiplied, and spawned special programs for firms owned by the disadvantaged, minorities, and women. After surviving Reagan administration termination proposals, budget cutting, and other challenges during the last two decades of the century, small business aid had an aura of invulnerability.

This book examines small business aid policy over the forty-four-year period, 1953–1997. It argues that traditional interest group and institutional approaches to explaining policy do not provide a full understanding of small

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