A West Georgia small business owner has caused a stir on among bloggers and media outlets after a picture displaying his company's policy of not hiring new employees until President Obama is out of office went viral last week.
Bill Looman, the owner of U.S. Cranes, LLC, told a local NBC affiliate, 11Alive, that he put up signs stating New company policy: We are not hiring until Obama is gone on his company trucks six months ago, when he also posted the images onto his personal Facebook page. Until a photo of his sign went viral last week, Looman said the reaction from people was about 20-to-one positive.
However, since then Looman told the source that the reaction has been so extreme - and largely negative - that he has his office phones disconnected because of frequent phone calls and has temporarily shut down his company's Web site.
As of Monday, the phone number for Nov. 28, U.S. Cranes, LLC is still disconnected. The company's Web site currently features a message from someone named Mike Sankewitsch, who calls Looman a veteran, patriot and most importantly, my friend and brother who adds all of you who have been less than kind in your assessment of Bill [Looman] for his practice of that freedom should be ashamed of yourselves.
During his interview with 11Alives, Looman said the signs were not meant to indicate he is refusing to hire employees to make a political point. Rather, he insists policies advocated by the Obama administration make it impossible to hire anyone in the current economy.
The way the economy's running, and the way my business has been hampered by the economy, and the policies of the people in power, I felt that it was necessary to voice my opinion, and predict that I wouldn't be able to do any hiring, Looman said.
President Obama signed the Small Business Job Act in September 2010, a plan the president said would offer small businesses tax breaks and better access to credit.
Now this is important because small businesses produce most of the new jobs in this country. They are the anchors of our Main Streets, Obama said as he prepared to sign the legislation last year.
The bill aims to strengthen small businesses by offering tax credits of up to $4,000 for hiring a person who has been unemployed for at least six months, establishing a $30 million small business lending fund to provide capital to small banks with incentives to create small business lending, increasing loan limits and offering a 50 percent bonus depreciation for 2010, in addition to several other measures.
Despite the plan's intentions, several people have indicated the Small Business Jobs Act has not had the positive economic impact the White House hoped it would. While testifying before a House banking committee in October, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said he was surprised at how few banks applied for the federal funding aiming to boost loans to small businesses, saying the Small Business Lending Fund only dispersed $4 billion of the $30 billion allocated to the program.
Moreover, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., argued the funding program ultimately did more to help banks than small businesses.
With interest rates effectively at zero and deposits at all-time highs, banks have ample capacity to lend, Velazquez said.
For instance, an analysis of Treasury Department data by The Wall Street Journal found that more than half of the $4 billion that was dispersed was used by banks to repay obligations from the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Looman is not the only person who has suggested, however misinterpreted, that small businesses cease hiring until Obama is out of office. In October, Tea Party Nation blogger Melissa Brookstone caused a media frenzy after she penned a blog post titled Call For a Strike of American Small Businesses Against The Movement For Global Socialism, where she suggested that small business owners cease hiring until this war against business and my country is stopped.
Like Looman, Brookstone said her statement was not meant to be taken as a suggestion to improve the economy, but instead said it was meant to inspire Americans to protest the policies of the Obama administration.