Saturday, July 24, 2010

When Process is Not Progress But Regress…

By John Sykes

Having earlier read “Obama's Failing Presidency”, I quipped that “Process without progress will bury us!” and asked everyone to read the entire article. What I meant was that this administration’s penchant for misguided and very, very long bills was only “process” because it will only result in “regress”.

In fact, the only thing transparent about this penchant is the political class’s self-aggrandizement. They intend only to impress the gullible portion of the electorate with their amazing efforts to turn out bills that boggle the mind with their length and lack of actual regulations so that bureaucracies can grow and fester. In fact, most of the legislation isn’t needed. Often their expressed aims have already been legislated but not being enforced.

Lorita Doan in “Senate Small Business Jobs Scam” expands on this theme:

The Senate Finance Committee recently announced its latest scam: a small business jobs act that will do little to promote entrepreneurship or create jobs.    The legislation, seemingly designed to give Democrats cover with voters in the fall, is much ado about nothing, for nothing is what the legislation does for small business.  Memo to Congress: no new laws are needed to grow small businesses, just enforce the laws already on the books.

Ms. Doan proceeds to offer fact, not window dressing:

The bill promises a 2% increase in small business contracts, but the law already requires 23% of all government contracting to be awarded to small, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses.  Yet, since this law is inconsistently enforced, in 2009, only one government agency met this requirement. Congress would do far better to enforce the existing law than create a new one.

Small businesses are being crushed in the federal government contracting world, where the government has direct control over contracts awarded,.  Small businesses should have received approximately $181 billion in contract awards from the $787 Billion dollar stimulus—which would have been 100% more than all government small business contracting done in 2009.  Instead, less than 1% of all stimulus spending has gone to small business and most in the form of loans rather than contracts.

Usually, the federal government contracts over $500 billion (exclusive of Stimulus) annually.  Enforcing existing laws would add another $125 billion to small business revenues, which would be a 34% increase in small business sales to the federal government, and far more than what is currently being proposed by the Senate Finance committee’s legislation.  Imagine if Congress enforced the law on both Stimulus spending and annual government spending!

The Senate bill promises to ensure “prompt payment” to small businesses by large businesses.  But, this too is nothing new.  The Prompt Payment Act (and its flow-down clauses) is already a statutory requirement in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), and has been for almost 30 years since 1982,  when President Reagan signed Public Law 97-177.  No new legislation is required. But enforcing this law requires toughness and fearlessness in the face of enormous pressures from big business prime contractors.

So the progressives, having to face the music in any August town halls they have the courage to attend, can bleat about The Small Business Jobs Act which is only statist window dressing. Once again, process is not progress but regress.

Related cartoons

image image image