The National Small Business Association released a study in January that found, among other things, small business owners spend an average of $12,000 on staying compliant with federal regulations. Fourteen percent of small business owners, according to the survey, spend 20 hours or more a month on federal regulation.
In a foreword, the NBSA adds, “No surprise, when asked what areas of regulation are most burdensome, the federal tax code and Affordable Care Act were the top two. We also found that the small-business owner is the number one regulatory expert in most business and handles the bulk of federal regulatory compliance.”
Although it is increasingly difficult to feel certain about which direction our government is headed, President Trump has already made good on a campaign promise to decrease federal regulation by signing an executive order on Jan 30. Trump told reporters that if people wanted a new regulation, “number one, we’re not going to approve it because it’s already been approved probably in 17 different forms.” He went on to say that for every new regulation that would be accepted, two old regulations would have to be cut. The Affordable Care Act is essentially surrounded by chaos at the moment, but if Trump’s agenda is an indication, the amount of time that small business owners have to spend on the legislation is about to drop.
It is a surprise to no one that Trump would favor lifting this burden of regulation red tape from small business owners. Indeed, it was a critical part of the message that he campaigned on. Wall Street has largely celebrated Trump’s presidency and the Dow Jones is soaring, but things have taken a dip recently in response to Trump’s travel ban and it’s bungled rolling out.
Business owners large and small might have cause to celebrate Trump’s regulation philosophy if it means decreasing the amount of time and money spent by business owners. If that time and money is put into projects that help grow companies, our economy will grow and all boats float with a rising tide. But these rose-colored glasses leave out the important detail about Trump: for every action he takes, three or four unintended actions become clear. The biggest obstacles for small business owners in a Trump administration will likely be ripple effects from some other policy decision.
If Trump can only keep his vessel right side up, small businesses may sail out of this political climate in a stronger position than before.