Kelly Rohrs, media representative, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-819-4852
Barbara Pruitt, Kauffman Foundation, 816-932-1288, email@example.com
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) March 17, 2009 – Americans want to see more initiatives that aid small businesses, like the $15 billion package unveiled by President Obama Monday, according to a new poll released today by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The survey, conducted by pollster Douglas Schoen, reveals a stark and fundamental gap between the agenda to date in Washington and the attitudes and beliefs of the American people—pointing to a key and unrecognized reason as to why the public has not been satisfied with the overall stimulus package.
Consisting of a random national sample of 2,000 Americans, the survey points to strong public sentiment that the government should be doing more to encourage individuals to start businesses and create jobs, which is ultimately the long-term solution for the country’s economic woes. Three hundred of the 2,000 respondents are entrepreneurs and 300 are aspiring entrepreneurs.
By 63 percent to 23 percent, survey respondents prefer giving individuals the incentives they need to start their own businesses as opposed to allowing the government to create new jobs directly or through big corporations. Further, as a means of leading the country out of the economic crisis, 63 percent of respondents say the United States government needs to encourage the creation of new businesses, which will create sustainable, long-term employment opportunities and economic growth, while only 22 percent favor the government creating new jobs in the public and private sector.
”These two statistics—which produced similar results—underscore the public's deep and abiding belief that the government should facilitate entrepreneurial activity by creating the conditions and policies that make it easier for individuals to take a risk, as opposed to the government itself creating jobs,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “Monday’s announcement to free up more loans for entrepreneurs and small business owners is a step in the right direction, but more can be done to encourage current and future job-creators.”
Other key findings from the survey include:
- 79 percent of respondents say entrepreneurs are critically important to job creation, ranking higher than big business, scientists and government.
- While Americans narrowly support the initial stimulus package, 51 percent to 44 percent, only 33 percent of entrepreneurs support it.
- Only 21 percent of all survey respondents say that the stimulus package supports entrepreneurial activity overall, and 33 percent believe it will retard entrepreneurship.
- 53 percent of Americans say that a better stimulus package that creates more jobs could be crafted, while 25 percent say the current stimulus will create sustainable jobs.
- While 78 percent of survey respondents say innovation is important to the health of our economy, only 3 percent say they believe the stimulus package will encourage innovation.
- Americans think the government does little to encourage entrepreneurship, despite its importance; 72 percent of respondents say the government should do more to encourage individuals to start businesses. Almost half of respondents think the laws in America make it more difficult to start a business.
- When asked what would jump-start the recovery and end the recession, 37 percent of respondents say cutting payroll taxes, 19 percent say to first pass the stimulus package, and 16 percent want to rescue the financial system through bank bailouts.
- Two thirds of survey respondents favor less costly alternatives to the stimulus package, such as reducing legal barriers and red tape for new business development.
- Despite the collapse of Wall Street, 89 percent of Americans say that capitalism is still the best economic system for our country.
“These results prove conclusively that Americans recognize the policies that free entrepreneurs to innovate and create jobs are ultimately the best stimulus for our economy in the long run,” said Schramm. “Once the fundamental functions of our economy have been stabilized, it will be entrepreneurs who put our country back on the path of prosperity. This survey says loudly and clearly: we need to create incentives for those who create jobs.”