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Entrepreneur

Economic Expectations Versus Reality

By Tom Irmen

According to the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) Index, small business optimism has continued at historically high levels now for more than six consecutive months. NFIB President and CEO, Juanita Duggan, said that this “remarkable surge in optimism that began last year right after the election shows no sign of slowing down.”

But indexes, like sentiment, can be disappointing to small business owners who were hoping for a “quick fix” to the economic doldrums that our economy has been languishing in for the past decade or so. Not to say that there hasn’t been bright spots, because there has been. But just where is the growth that entrepreneurs had grown accustomed to after prior recessions?

Today entrepreneurs need to balance expectations with reality. Much of the positive economic news being reported on today is forward looking. Like the stock market, where values are a reflection of anticipated future results, economic indexes are an attempt to gauge future economic activity.


But there’s a catch, because much of today’s positive financial news requires that Washington or, more specifically, the new administration act to put into place the requisite fiscal policies needed to stimulate future economic growth. And it’s here where expectations meet reality. Policy changes such as personal and business tax cuts, infrastructure spending, and renegotiated trade agreements will take time to enact and even more time for their impact to be felt. DC is like a Kabuki dance, where there is always a great deal of drama but oftentimes little in the way of measurable results.

Small business owners who are accustomed to making quick and decisive decisions are understandably frustrated by Washington bureaucrats who move at the speed of a sloth, if even that fast. And the fact that we have had to live with this decade of slow or no growth makes us even more impatient for action.


Change has occurred, albeit slowly. Change will continue to occur, and our nation’s economic engine will once again reward you for your efforts, perseverance, and, most of all, patience.

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