In response to the July/August article, Outside the Big Box: Who speaks for small business? by Nicole D. Kazee, Michael Lipsky, and Cathie Jo Martin, I am compelled to point out a significant gap in the coverage of small-business advocates. The story focuses on the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the authors’ conclusion that there needs to be a national alternative to NFIB, yet completely fails to even mention the oldest small-business advocacy group in the country—the National Small Business Association. Founded in 1937, NSBA has not only been the leading voice of America’s small-business owners, we have done it in a staunchly nonpartisan way.
For more than seventy years, NSBA has been a strictly member-driven organization, crafting our priority issues through a democratic process open to every member. We do not accept grants or funds from outside organizations with hidden agendas, and govern ourselves by one policy: do what is best for America’s small-business community. While our nonpartisan stance can, at times, force us to work harder without the alliances inherent to a more party-affiliated group, it is that independence which underscores our sole allegiance to the small-business community, regardless of what party affiliation one may have.
Further missing the mark, the article focused a great deal of attention on health care, an issue on which NSBA has been scrupulously independent, and nearly four years ago produced a broad reform proposal with components that have been embraced by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. In examining the Association Health Plan debate, the writers failed to mention that NSBA created and led the small-business coalition opposing AHPs, commissioned two widely cited reports on the problems of AHPs, and played a key role in educating Congress on the ills of AHP legislation. Conversely, NSBA was the first national small-business group to endorse the Fair Tax. NSBA looks at each issue, just as small-business owners do, for how it will impact small business—regardless of who introduced the bill in Congress.
Unfortunately, and, frankly, to the detriment of America’s small-business owners, the article took an “either-or” look at small-business advocacy, leading your readers to believe their only options are conservative-leaning organizations like NFIB, or liberal-leaning organizations like American Small Business Alliance. This simply is not the case. Oversimplifying the small-business advocacy arena, as this article has done, provides your readers, and small-businesses nationwide a great disservice.