Obama Looks to Ease Small Business Regulations
President Barack Obama's latest overture to the business community appeared in a place where he is often criticized: The opinion section of The Wall Street Journal.
In an Op-Ed piece for the newspaper, Obama on Tuesday announced "a government-wide review" of business regulations, with the goal of eliminating those that hurt job creation and make the U.S. economy less competitive.
"It's a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades," Obama wrote.
Analysts say it's an attempt to patch up the administration's shaky relationship with American businesses, which has suffered over health care and Wall Street reforms, among other policies. Many observers viewed Obama's recent naming of J.P. Morgan Chase executive William Daley as his chief of staff as a move to get a more business-friendly voice in the White House.
Much of the new initiative is aimed at making regulations easier on small businesses, with Obama asking officials to offer entrepreneurs special treatment, including extended compliance deadlines and total tax exemptions.
"Small firms drive growth and create most new jobs in this country," he wrote. "We need to make sure nothing stands in their way."
But some small-business groups remain skeptical of the President's new regulatory focus, wondering if it is mere political posturing rather than the impetus for real change.
"It has been a long time coming for small-business owners to hear this from this administration, and we will be watching closely to see if today's directive leads to real regulatory reform," Dan Danner, president of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said in a statement.
Though Obama's announcement won support from both sides of the aisle, the move drew criticism from progressive groups, including Public Citizen, a Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy group, which say the President is pandering to business interests.