Donald Trump's wide-ranging, generally decorous address to Congress promised to float all (American) economic boats but paid scant attention to small business in particular. The president focused on the role of large corporations in creating new jobs and referred only generally to a reduction of regulations that he has framed as making small-business owners' lives easier.
The president's sole specific reference to entrepreneurs was his mention of a bilateral initiative with Canada to support women entrepreneurs announced two weeks ago during Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Washington visit. In one of the few statements that drew bipartisan applause, Trump said the new council will "help ensure that women entrepreneurs have access to the networks, markets, and capital they need to start a business and live out their financial dreams."
Otherwise, Trump touted promises by large corporations, including Ford, General Motors, Lockheed Martin, Sprint, and Intel, "to create tens of thousands of new American jobs." He mentioned the executive order to eliminate two regulations for every new one, which he signed in January during an Oval Office ceremony, surrounded by small-business owners. But he followed that immediately with pledges to reduce the burdens on coal and other big energy sectors.
Later, he introduced Megan Crowley, the young survivor of a rare genetic disorder, using her example to call for streamlining the "slow and burdensome approval process" at the Food and Drug Administration. "If we slash the restraints, not just at the FDA but across our government," said Trump, "then we will be blessed with far more miracles just like Megan. In fact, our children will grow up in a nation of miracles." Swifter government action, not just on new drugs but also on emerging technologies of all kinds, would be welcomed by the entrepreneurial community. (Although they might have preferred the word "innovations" to "miracles.")
The president reiterated his promise to deliver "historic" tax reform that will be "a big, big cut" for American companies. And he promised again to replace the Affordable Care Act, which remains unpopular with many in the small-business community.
Trump cited, in passing, what he hoped would be bipartisan efforts to ensure paid family leave, an issue on which small businesses are divided.