Yesterday the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate ran this article, “Revigor, Platinum Dirt reuse fabric, upholstery.” Revigor is a new company, founded by Lynn Woolsey’s daughter, Amy Critchett, “that takes apart old garments and remakes them into new and better-fitting clothing.” Recycling of any kind is a very worthy endeavor and hopefully Revigor will be a long-term success. However, what caught my eye was the article’s blithe comment that Lynn Woolsey “champions small business.” Really? “Inspiring” her daughter is certainly a mother’s prerogative, but on a broader level, one must question this assertion.
Catherine Bragg, a Marin small business owner, famously told Rep. Woolsey where she fell short as such a champion in the Petaluma town hall meeting on the subject of health care on the last day of August in 2009. If you’d like to refresh your memory, here it is on youtube. Ms. Bragg knows firsthand the problems faced by small business owners, including those impediments placed before them by government, and she knows that many of Lynn Woolsey’s pet legislative projects increase, not reduce, those impediments.
What are some of those pet projects? Let’s look at Lynn Woolsey’s official site and specifically at her page entitled “Labor.” She proposes:
– Increasing the minimum wage and strengthening unions
– Extending Family and Medical Leave Act benefits to part-time workers
– Changing the classification of ten million workers deliberately are misclassified as independent contractors when they should be classified as employees
She also stated touched on some of her labor goals in that ADA speech I mentioned in my March 4th posts, “Union bosses make hundreds of thousands of dollars annually”. Quoting her:
Who believes that organized labor is the foundation of the American middle class, one of our most powerful forces for economic security and upward mobility? And who believes that we cannot stop fighting for the right of more people to join a union by passing the Employee Free Choice Act?
Who believes it’s high time we helped [working families] with paid family leave, voluntary pre-k education, child care assistance and more?
One on-the-ball person responded thusly to the text of ADA President Woolsey’s speech in the comments section:
Is this the whole speech? Where were the parts where they support American entrepreneurial spirit and pledge to strengthen opportunity in the market place? Where was the dedication to preserving the independence and free choices of individuals and every human’s right to chart and navigate their own destiny? Where was the pledge to restore regional control to government and fight against the trends toward centralization and totalitarianism ? Oh, I forgot. This is the ADA. They don’t believe in those things.BY Edwin Loftus on 06/14/2010 at 13:14
Right, Mr. Loftus. Not a word about supporting entrepreneurs and business. Labor and management must work together if our nation is to reduce unemployment, climb out of the recession, and rebuild our capacity for producing good here in the USA. Yet, Rep. Woolsey generally only looks at one side of the two-sided equation.
Oh, sure, she makes a few noises about helping small business owners on occasion. For example, she has written that “Small businesses are the engine of job creation” and says that is why she
voted for H.R. 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act, which was signed into law on September 27, 2010. This law created a loan fund to boost lending to small businesses looking to hire and expand operations.
If you read further there, she cites further examples of her “pro-small business” attitude. She also periodically gets publicity at local business enterprises such as the ZAP Electric Postal Vehicle Project (see a video of it here).
However, when taken as a whole, Lynn Woolsey’s efforts as a member of Congress have often done more harm than good for small businesses (and I don’t just mean the owners but both management and labor) in our area. As noted on the website The American, “Small Business, Big Regulatory Burden,” small businesses bear the brunt of regulations more than larger companies:
Federal rules cost $10,585 per worker in businesses with 19 or fewer workers, but only 73 percent of that amount for businesses with 500-plus workers.
And what is important about the last few years in Washington? Lynn Woolsey’s party — the party that believes regulations solve just about everything — has been busy churning them out in the Pelosi House and the Reid Senate. It will be interesting to see the same graph when 2010 can be added. And as noted above, Lynn Woolsey is all for further regulation of business (small and large). She refuses to see that placing more and more constraints on business inhibits their ability to expand and hire more employees.
Perhaps now that her daughter is a small businesswoman, Ms. Critchett will experience the limitations that federal and other regulations put on private enterprise. Perhaps –dare we hope — the daughter will tell the mother that the stifling red tape, mandates, and taxes that said mother works to impose should be eliminated. Wouldn’t that be refreshing? Even more refreshing would be if the mother listened and acted on that advice….