It has often been said that people must speak out in defense of our common land, since it cannot speak for itself. In light of recent attempts to undermine federal protection of public lands, this is true now more than ever. Some lawmakers are pushing for the privatization of federal lands: a recent budgetary amendment would allow states to sell national forest land. But what many policymakers don’t realize is that public lands aren’t just beautiful places to visit or environmental havens—they are vital to local economies and small businesses across the country. While we recognize our great outdoors during National Parks Week, let’s take a look at the role these lands play in the success of small businesses and our economy.
Chronicle business columnist Thomas Lee should be embarrassed to have his name grace “Debunking the moral superiority of ‘small businesses’” — a column clearly written by someone who doesn’t understand small businesses. Our groups don’t always agree on policies affecting small businesses, but we do agree that small businesses are the foundation of our economy, and lumping them into one narrow, ideological box buys into a long-standing myth that many in the political sphere would have everyone believe.
The unfortunate truth is that lawmakers often advance policies that favor large corporations over Main Street. And here’s where Lee missed the boat: the good reputation of small-business owners is often hijacked by these very lawmakers to justify policies that have no benefit to, and in some cases harm, America’s entrepreneurs.
Small businesses are politically, socially and economically diverse. While they want to be heard on the issues that are important to them, they are hardly monolithic in their views. Lee buys in to the false notion that small-business owners are lockstep in their support of policies — a view unscrupulous lawmakers and lobbyists have spent a long time trying to foster.