For small business owners and entrepreneurs, you're either on cloud nine or searching for the nearest cold, dark place in which to sob. But no matter which candidates you backed in this week's elections, you've got to be a little nervous.
While some elections have yet to be decided, Republicans cleared seven seats in the Senate and as many as 13 seats in the House, giving them hold over both chambers of Congress and the nation's purse strings.
The Republican Party hasn't held sway over both chambers of Congress since 2006. If you'll recall, at the time, the economy wasn't all roses and puppies. The U.S. was in the middle of a war in Iraq, the housing boom came to a halt, and the federal government was running major deficits. Tack on the financial disaster that was in the works and you're bound to be little dubious of putting the GOP in charge.
Still, if you've been irked by the slow progress of the government lately, this election could be a good thing. It could harbinger a return to action on Capitol Hill. While President Obama has failed to curry congressional favor for everything from political appointments to immigration legislation, in this new Republican-led Congress, he could find more malleable set of legislators--who have an incentive to govern and burnish their party's reputation among voters.
Then again, he could be spoiling for a fight. Even though many suggest that the GOP's sweep of Congress should serve as a referendum on the White House, that isn't how Obama sees it. Presidential aides have reportedly indicated that the he doesn't think the midterm elections should reflect on him. And even with poor polling numbers, the president has maintained his enthusiasm for issuing executive orders that could roil his colleagues in the legislature.
Among other things, he's expected to act quickly on measures regarding immigration. As Inc.com has reported previously, Obama could tweak the green card granting process through an executive order--meaning more green cards to qualified workers.
Rest assured, this won't go over well when latest crop of Republicans heads to Washington in the New Year. Therein lies the rub for entrepreneurs: The gridlock, which has been confounding the country in the last several years, could very well continue.
Small-business owners are none-too-happy. When asked in a recent Inc. survey what issues are most hampering the U.S. economy's performance, political gridlock was the respondents' biggest concern. In the survey of more than 300 of the nation's fastest-growing businesses, which was conducted in late September and early October, close to 60 percent of respondents cited gridlock--more than cited any of the 13 other listed issues, including terrorism or the Affordable Care Act.
And while Obama received a severe chiding from respondents for his role in the gridlock, most of those surveyed blamed the entirety of Congress.
Here's what one survey respondent from California had to say about the government's performance of late: "Although I'm not a fan of President Obama, there has been nothing good from Republicans. No options. No leadership. Just roadblocks. We need to make America more competitive with the rest of the world."
Will a Republican-controlled Congress help turn this wish into a reality? That's still anyone's guess. It is clear, however, that without the GOP standing in its own way, anything is possible.