leadership

Small business scores an unlikely win in the first presidential debate

Colin Benjamin /

Mitt Romney talked about his five points to a stronger economy: energy independence, bolstering international trade, training for American workers and building the skill sets they need to succeed, balancing the budget, and championing small business.

Within the first two segments, Romney did reference food stamps as he discussed his priority for putting people back to work:

“We’ve got 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work in this country…when the president took office, 32 million people on food stamps; 47 million on food stamps today; economic growth this year slower than last year, and last year slower than the year before. Going forward with the status quo is not going to cut it for the American people who are struggling today.”

Obama attempted to turn the debate around to concessions to the top end of town, pointing to former Massachusetts governor Romney’s view that there are a whole bunch of millionaires and billionaires who are small business owners that deserve tax cuts:

“When I walked into the Oval Office, I had more than a trillion-dollar deficit greeting me. And we know where it came from: two wars that were paid for on a credit card; two tax cuts that were not paid for; and a whole bunch of programs that were not paid for; and then a massive economic crisis.”

Following the pattern of many incumbents who went on to a second term after supposing to have lost the first debate, Obama refused to get into a personal attack on his challenger.

For example, he did not talk up the Small Business Administration‘s role in creating millions of jobs and saving millions more through tax credits, or the prosecution of Wall Street bankers who manipulated the market at the expense of small business investors.

He also refused to comment on Romney’s assertion that 47% of the voters were not part of his constituency because they claimed some form of government benefits.

Dr Colin Benjamin is an entrepreneurship and strategic thinking consultant at Marshall Place Associates, which offers a range of strategic thinking tools that open up a universe of new possibilities for individuals and organisations committed to applying the processes of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Colin is also a member of the global Association of Professional Futurists.

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