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Statement of the Vice President of the United States, on Small Business, Houston, TX

November 03, 1960

To know small business you must have lived and worked at it yourself. My father and mother worked together to make their livelihood by running a grocery store - a very small business - and the whole family worked hard to make that grocery store survive and show a profit.

Working in that store taught me more than just the grocery business. It taught me much about the problems of small businesses for my father's friends were in other lines and we talked back and forth about their problems and ours.

I am proud that the administration of which I have been a part for almost 8 years has shown a real understanding of small business, its problems and its needs, that my opponent and his followers cannot begin to touch.

For 20 years the opposition had ample opportunity to act in behalf of small business, but the Small Business Administrator himself tells us that more was accomplished in these last 8 years than in all those previous 20.

One of the first things we did in 1953 was to get the Federal Government out of several hundred business-type operations - baking, laundry, cleaning, paint manufacture, sawmilling, and the like - where the Government had gone into many private lines of business and was itself competing with small business.

Also in our first year in office, 1953, we created the Small Business Administration, the first independent peacetime Government agency established for the sole purpose of assisting small business.

The SBA, in the short space of 7 years, loaned more than $1 billion to more than 21,000 small firms - most of which would not be in business today providing paychecks and jobs except for the SBA assistance they received.

Among its major activities, the SBA helps small business to get Government business. As a result, Government contracts totaling $4 billion have gone to the small businesses of the Nation and the Government is today buying three times as much from small firms as it did in the last year under Mr. Truman.

Figures just released show that in July, August, and September of this year alone, 6,456 Government contracts worth $286 million went to small businesses - up about 38 percent over the same period in 1959.

To help bring investors and small businesses together, the SBA sponsored the creation of small business investment companies, more than 145 such companies today finance almost every variety of enterprise, helping to solve the small businessman's toughest problem - raising capital.

Not until President Eisenhower in 1956 created his Cabinet Committee on Small Business had any administration given such top-level recognition to the important role of small business in the American economy. The committee's recommendations - now mostly carried out - were for tag relief, simplified Government procedures and more Government purchasing from small business.

This is an outstanding administration record.

My program for small business will build on these splendid achievements.

First, we pledge to continue a healthy climate in which small business can rise and flourish - a climate of economic stability, a stable dollar, a growth without inflation and progress without boom and bust.

Second, we pledge to expand the SBA so that its assistance is available wherever it is needed. Thus we will step up the SBA's collection and dissemination of latest information on new managerial and technical developments. Using the country's hundreds of business schools and bureaus of business research, we will develop a program - like that of the agricultural field service - for assisting, educating, and training the small businessman, not in some remote place, but on the spot, right where his business is located. Under such a program, hundreds of business experts would be available, first to help analyze small business problems and second to help solve them.

Third, new SBA lending authority will be immediately proposed when required.

Fourth, effective action will be undertaken to give small business an even greater share of the Government business that it can perform.

Fifth, it is my purpose to strengthen small business investment companies, so they will be able to serve small business as effectively as the Farm Credit Administration serves our farmers, as effectively as the Housing and Home Finance Administration serves the homeowner.

Sixth, as soon as possible, consistent with the Nation' revenue needs I want to have changes in the tax laws adopted that will benefit and further the cause of small business.

Finally, I will make the Cabinet Committee on Small Business a permanent advisory group to the President, and I will direct it to devote its efforts to generating new and imaginative ideas for the encouragement and development of small business throughout America.

Richard Nixon, Statement of the Vice President of the United States, on Small Business, Houston, TX Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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