Statement by Frank Knapp, Jr., President and CEO of The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce
July 12, 2010.
The last time Margot and I were together pushing for Wall Street reform, it was April 21st of this year in a press conference at the U.S. Capitol with Senators Dick Durbin, Jack Reed and Michael Bennet.
Back then we were fighting against the misinformation coming from the big financial institutions and their mouthpiece, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and we’re still doing it today. Even though we’ve been successful moving the ball down the field very close to the goal line, there’s one more play needed to finish.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce does not represent the interests of small businesses that have suffered because of the irresponsible actions of the nation’s biggest banks. The greed of these financial institutions collapsed our economy and shut down loans and credit lines to our small businesses. I don’t need to recite the statistics to you. We hear macro and micro stories every day about small businesses not getting access to the money they need. And every economist acknowledges that small businesses must hire the employees we need to lead us out of this recession just as they have in the last three economic recoveries.
But ironically the only business sector that is apparently hiring, according to Nelson Schwartz’s New York Times story yesterday, is Wall Street. Greed is still alive and well on Wall Street. And we all know that without passing the reform that is in front of the Senate this week, greed will bring our economy down again and tear apart our small businesses if we can ever get them back on their feet.
Yet, the U.S. Chamber still wants Congress and the public to be afraid. Wall Street reform will dry up loans to small business, Tom Donohue warns. No, Tom, you’re wrong. Your big bank donors are doing pretty well right now and they aren’t doing that by making small business loans. They’re making money on Wall Street.
The U.S. Chamber pretends to be a friend to main-street worried that Sam the Butcher, Joe the Orthodontist and your local car dealer will be regulated out of business. Sorry, Tom, that’s not in the legislation. What the butcher, orthodontist and car dealer want are customers—the customers who lost their jobs because of your buddies on Wall Street.
Small business supports this reform legislation because it will restore balance between Wall Street and main-street through fair and common sense policies and create a stable, transparent financial environment in which community banks and credit unions can once again feel secure in making loans.
We at the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce have been strong supporters of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to better protect consumers, which includes small businesses. We’re not afraid of good regulation that keeps us and our customers safe from financial predators.
We’re in favor of making banks be banks and not gambling houses. We have been strong supporters of the “Volcker Rule” to put the brakes on proprietary trading by banks, the practice that largely is responsible for bringing us to the brink of another Great Depression.
The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and small business organizations across this country want the Senate to pass Wall Street Reform.
Borrowing the line from our former first lady Nancy Reagan, Congress should “just say no”—to the U.S. Chamber. The financial health of our country and our small businesses depends on it.Tags: business, final bill, Frank Knapp, small businesses