Is Donald Trump Really Good for Small Business?

Take a Closer Look at the Candidate Before You Cast Your Vote

Donald Trump

Despite, or perhaps because of, his brash nature and political inexperience, Donald Trump has found a way to resonate deeply with small business owners. According to a recent poll from Manta, a small-business networking platform, a whopping 60 percent of over 2,000 small business owners polled planned to vote for Trump in the primary elections (with Ted Cruz coming in a distant second among Republican candidates at 16 percent).

Trump continues to claim that his business acumen and negotiating powers will prove useful in the White House, and so far, small businesses seem to agree. Though some participants in the Manta poll said outright that they “can’t stand Donald Trump as a person,” they favor Trump for his proposed tax policies and feel that he can relate to the ups and downs of owning a business.

While Trump may have found ways to survive as a business owner through decades of dramatic highs and lows, does that really mean he’s the best Presidential candidate for entrepreneurs? Before you cast your vote, consider the following:

He’s an Inaccurate Representation of the American Dream

Perhaps the largest reason Trump has become the entrepreneurial favorite in this election is that he positions himself as a successful business owner who has done nothing but win. He’s positioned himself as a straight-talking, relate-able “every man” with a fortune he’s amassed as a result of hard work.

What Trump plays down is the powerful family he was born into and the “small loan” of a million dollars he received from his father to go into business—not exactly a rags-to-riches story. Further, Trump has rebounded from the brink of bankruptcy more than once, and not at his own hands. According to CNN, he has had help in the form of tax breaks, further familial loans and protection from bankruptcy courts. Read more about Trump’s business failures here.

His Immigration Policy Is Dangerous

The most widely-publicized of his positions, Trump has proposed building a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep foreign labor from entering the country and has criticized visa programs that allow employers to hire such foreign workers temporarily. Financial ramifications of what building such a wall would cost aside, let’s instead turn to the entrepreneurs and innovators that would be exiled as a result of such a plan.

According to Forbes, an estimated 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies have been started by immigrants or their children (Apple among them). Additionally, the Fiscal Times reports that in 2011, more than half of our country’s engineering and computer science doctoral degrees were awarded to students who were neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents. With their expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, immigrants make up a larger percentage of America’s small business sector than natural-born citizens themselves, and to exclude them from working in the United States would both hinder economic growth and harm small businesses across the nation.

His Global Impact Could Be Disastrous

Depending on where you do business, a Trump presidency would ensure that any import/export transactions you rely on would be restricted. A vocal “fair trade” advocate, Trump has proposed import taxes of up to 45 percent, according to CNN, on goods entering the country from Mexico and China and doesn’t support the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade proposals. In turn, these policies may cause countries to increase their fees on imported products made in the U.S. With foreign trade supporting about 13 percent of the U.S. economy, according to CNN, starting trade wars with major countries would hurt small and large businesses alike.

He’s Not Thinking About the Country’s Future

Trump’s tax plan, which would decrease taxes for most Americans and businesses, might be alluring in the short-run, but is unlikely sustainable for the future. Though it would create jobs, the Tax Policy Center found that the plan would cost the nation $9.5 trillion over 10 years, causing the government debt to soar.

Trump has assured voters that he could pay off the entire national debt in eight years while slashing taxes, according to The National Review. For this to happen, however, the country would require 24 percent economic growth every year for eight years, or a growth from $17 trillion to $90 trillion. How impossible would this be? The previous record for economic growth was 19 percent in 1942 (the first year of the country’s involvement in WWII). Suffice to say, it’s highly unlikely that we will see such growth in our immediate future.

According to Forbes, Trump has also spoken out about slashing the budget for the Department of Education, which funds such initiatives as the Small Business Innovative Research Program, an awards-based program that “enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.” All small business owners may want to pay less in taxes, but at what cost?

Compare and contrast all of the candidates’ positions, and see how they may impact small business owners, with this useful article from CNBC.


Let us know what you think about Trump’s candidacy as it relates to entrepreneurs. This just might be the most important presidential election of our lifetime.

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