Facing the prospect of a shellacking for his party in the upcoming midterm elections amid high inflation and gas prices, President Biden is touting a "small business boom" coming out of the pandemic and releasing a four-pillar economic strategy for small businesses.
"Through the American Rescue Plan and the equitable implementation of emergency relief programs, President Biden and Vice President Harris fostered the strongest recovery for Main Street on record," the White House says in a one-pager on the plan. "In 2021, Americans applied to start 5.4 million new businesses—more than 20 percent higher than any previous year on record."
The White House also touts an increase in entrepreneurship amid racial minorities, celebrating the fact that Hispanic Americans started new businesses at the fastest rate in more than a decade and 23% faster than pre-pandemic levels. The White House notes that small businesses with fewer than 50 employees created 1.9 million jobs in three of the quarters of 2021, "the fastest start to small business job growth in any year on record."
The White House report claims that "the Biden-Harris agenda laid the foundation for this small business boom."
"By focusing on combating the pandemic, providing Americans with greater financial security, and delivering more than $450 billion in emergency relief to small businesses, the Biden-Harris Administration has helped create the conditions for unprecedented business and job creation," the report claims.
The report contrasts Biden's plan with the GOP proposal put forward by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. The White House is also releasing a state-by-state analysis of the Congressional Republican tax plan, claiming that the plan "would raise taxes on nearly half of small business owners (6.1 million people), including 82 percent of small business owners making less than $50,000 per year."
Biden's plan consists of four pillars: expanding access to capital by offering more than $300 billion in loans and equity investments through the end of the decade; making it easier for entrepreneurs to access federal small business programs; using federal infrastructure spending and research and development funding to support small businesses; and reforming the tax code.
The White House claims that Biden's agenda "would deliver tax cuts to more than 3.9 million entrepreneurs and only raise taxes on those making over $400,000. That means 97 percent of small business owners would not face any income tax increases, and, in fact, millions would be getting tax cuts."
Scott released his plan in February, advocating for 128 specific policy ideas to serve as an agenda for Senate Republicans if they win the majority in November. He based his plan on his years as a health care executive, his eight years as governor of Florida and his years in the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., criticized Scott's plan, claiming that it raises taxes, a claim Scott denies.
"That the most unpopular president in recent history is spending more time lying about Senator Rick Scott’s plan than addressing the myriad crises he’s created says everything you need to know about Joe Biden and this White House," McKinley Lewis, Scott's communications director, told FOX Business. "Joe Biden could learn a thing or two about governing from Senator Scott who cut taxes more than 100 times and balanced the budget as Governor of Florida, and is proposing common-sense solutions to rescue our country from the Democrats and their disastrous agenda."
Meanwhile, the Job Creators Network, a conservative small business advocacy group, launched a Great Opportunity Project to highlight free-market reforms that JCN claims have fueled impressive growth.
"In contrast to the failed liberal policies being pushed in Washington, D.C., many states have achieved impressive growth by empowering small business owners and the private sector," JCN President Alfredo Ortiz previously told FOX Business. "The Great Opportunity Project will put a microphone in front of the leaders who enacted those policies and the small business owners who are benefiting from them. Our goal is to change the broader national debate over the economy."
Critics claim that Biden's economic policies, particularly the influx of cash from pandemic relief programs, have pushed inflation to record highs (it reached 8.5% in March) and pushed gas prices higher.
"Bidenomics, characterized by out-of-control inflation, artificial labor shortages, over-regulation, and a hostility to entrepreneurialism, is making it virtually impossible for small business owners to succeed," former Papa John's CEO John Schnatter wrote for FOX Business. "It’s hard enough to get a new business off the ground without the heel of Big Government on your neck. Trying to get helpful policies from the federal government is as difficult as it ever has been."