Your article did a great disservice to the Small Business Administration.
As president of a large, national private-sector business organization and a member of ihe SBA's National Advisory Council under four presidents (representing both political parties), I have seen examples of some of the abuses mentioned in Mr. Richman's article. But I have also seen the agency evolve into far more than a "welfare agency for small businesses" and a "congressional pork barrel." I is blatantly unfair to zero in on one function performed by the agency, its loan function, as though that were all the SBA does. Admittedly the SBA's loan portfolio has had its problems, but its administration is working harder than ever to correct them.
Through its advocacy role, the SBA played a very important part in the White House Conference on Small Business held in 1980. Representatives of thousands of small companies from across the country made recommendations that have since become laws addressing serious small-business problems -- among them, regulatory flexibility for small businesses, equal access to justice, prompt payment by the government, and innovation and research assistance.
The SBA's federal procurement assistance to small companies in 1982 alone meant $28.1 billion in government contracts through the set-aside program. Its managment-assistance division has held seminars attended by over 300,000 small business owners/operators and has held counseling sessions with another 250,000 in 1983 alone. So when you ask the real SBA to please stand up, don't you think you should give it the opportunity to show you more than its wallet?