The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is feeling neglected, and it's not because the immigration controversy has made the Latin constituency poisonous (though for the Republican candidates it evidently had been, at least until recently. Rather, it's because they represent small businesses.
"To date, the candidates have focused more on issues that will hurt small business than on those that will grow small business," says USHCC Board Chair David C LizÃ¡rga in a press release received at inc.com HQ. "We hear more about tax hikes, limiting trade policies, and the imposition of draconian immigration laws rather than plans and policies that will strengthen the nation's small businesses. The 2008 Presidential candidates cannot continue to ignore the small business community, particularly the Hispanic business community.
"The presidential candidates and their respective political parties are committing a disservice to all Americans by failing to outline their agendas for the small business owner."
Harsh! But is it true? The key issues for the over 2.5 million Hispanic-owned businesses would appear to be the same as for all the other small firms out there: "less regulation, tax relief, lower health care costs, and litigation reform." As far as I can tell, all those issues have been discussed, though not comprehensively by every candidate. Democrats talk a lot about health care; republicans like regulatory and tax relief.
Yet, in politics as in life, perception is reality, and if Hispanic entrepreneurs feel neglected, they probably are. It's not that the candidates aren't talking about these issues, they're just addressing small business specifically when they do it.