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Business owners want to hire more people, but they can't get credit to create more products so more people can buy their products and stimulate their bottom line because consumers can't get credit to buy more products because their home equity lines have dried up because banks are tightening their credit lines because they can't get short-term loans from other banks that have also tightened their credit lines (even with each other) because too many of them made too many loans that consumers aren't repaying because housing prices are falling because they were overheated to begin with in many areas because people were willing to pay whatever sellers asked because they could get easy access to too much credit because banks were loaning insane amounts of money for mortgages because they could sell the mortgages to other financial entities that then repackaged the mortgages as investments because investors wanted investment products that promised big returns because more money meant they could buy more real estate and more products because our economy depends on consumers buying goods and money men moving paper around and because of deregulation or because of CRA because risk is bad unless it's good all because people want to start new businesses and hire more people but they can't because they can't get enough credit because...

Circle of life? Chicken or the egg? Who's on first? The crisis in a nutshell (with padded walls).

mccain-ent.jpgCampaigning in Toledo, Ohio, over the weekend, Sen. John McCain continued to hammer Sen. Barack Obama on business, repeating that the fellow presidential candidate plans to raise taxes on Main Street entrepreneurs.

The Republican hopeful again invoked the symbolism of Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, an Ohio man who last week confronted Obama about his plan to increase taxes on those top 3 percent or so of Americans who earn more than $250,000 annually. Wurzelbacher, who reportedly does not have a required license to be a plumber in his hometown, said the Democrat's plan would prevent him from buying the business where he works because its annual profits exceed $250,000 and would trigger what he argues would be oppressive taxes.

"He wants to spread the wealth around, my friends," McCain said of Obama at a rally Sunday. "The attack on Joe the Plumber is an attack on small business all over this country."

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With my favorite markers in hand, I stood at my easel, ready to write my business plan. It had to be just right, so my parents would accept my proposal and buy all of the groceries for my restaurant.

The problem was that I was a 6-year-old hell-bent on being an entrepreneur. I wasn't even sure what a business plan was or what the flaws could be. [For a nostalgic trek back to the glory days of childhood imagination and a recap on how I made it to the business plan stage, see my last (wildly exciting and adorable) entry, "Why My First Business Succeeded (Part I - Starting Out)"]

benz-cclass.jpgAs if the economy, consumer confidence and tight credit lines aren't enough of a headache for budding business owners, Detroit and global automakers have started to rein in their car-lease programs. Some automakers have even eliminated them altogether. Entrepreneurs in the market for new car leases are stuck: Many independent business owners rely on such financing to provide reliable, late-model automobiles at affordable monthly payments that can be written off, at least partially, come tax time.

Chrysler shut off its in-house lease financing in August, and GM and Ford followed with announcements that they are cutting off their own lease-finance programs for SUVs and light trucks.

Forgive my annoyance, but as I watch the fragile threads of our economy unravel, I can't help but wonder--Wall Street, Washington, Mickey, Donald, Goofy--what the hell were you thinking? I just don't get it. Now the mind-numbing excuses only serve to redirect blame.

Truth is, there are many to blame for this 700-billion-pound gorilla in the economy (who knows what the final tally will be?). Small businesses certainly aren't to blame, but that overgrown simian is sitting right on Main Street anyway. As Streeters and the wonks in Washington attempt to mop up this historic mess, it will be the small business-owning, non-Fortune 500, economy-driving entrepreneurs that will cover their tails.

I was an entrepreneur in my younger years. Yes, it's true. Sure, I'm a blogger now. Sure, you could say that I did the whole thing backwards, I suppose. But I was a businessman once.

Long ago, I was very much the creative type: I painted, I danced, I wrote songs. But I still wanted to run a business. My friends didn't understand. My teachers kind of understood. My family understood, but didn't know how to help me.


Know what bothers me every day? It's the everyday misuse of every day. The everyday instances of it should have rendered me immune to it by now, but every day I find myself offended when every day is everyday and everyday is every day--though the latter rarely happens. At least not every day.

On days when I'm feeling a little snarky and someone asks me how I'm doing, I might respond with, "Just living the dream." But when Gar Ryness says it, it's the gospel truth.

Ryness is living proof that you can turn anything into a business. Since he was a kid, he's been getting laughs with a unique talent--he can mimic any baseball player's batting stance, swing and any other idiosyncracy a player might bring to the plate. He calls it the least marketable skill in America. But back in April, he discovered otherwise when his video clips became instant viral hits, prompting him to start a website that now has corporate sponsorship and paid advertising.

The American entrepreneur took center stage at the presidential debate last night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., when "Joe the Plumber," a.k.a. Joseph Wurzelbacher, was mentioned 26 times by candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

McCain sought to use the 15-year-veteran of the porcelain-and-pipes business as an example of the kind of middle-class American Obama's tax plan would affect. Over the weekend, Wurzelbacher confronted Obama on the campaign trail, complaining that the Illinois senator's proposal to increase taxes on the top three percent or so of American income earners would hurt the worker once he buys the business he works for, as he hopes.

Sen. Barack Obama may have a pretty nice lead going in the polls right now, but with less than a month to go, he's not looking to run out the clock just yet. In fact, his latest move shows he's looking to run up the score--and he hopes online gamers are, too.

Video game company Electronic Arts has confirmed that the Obama campaign has purchased advertising space in several of its most popular games for the Xbox, including "Madden NFL 09." The ads appear as billboards or stadium signs and are downloaded when players in key battleground states log in to play the games online. Of course, this isn't a route that the average small-business owner can afford to take, but the lessons to be learned are as obvious as some of John Madden's color commentary.


The Bush Administration today said it would begin a direct infusion of $250 billion into the American banking system in order to get credit lines flowing again. As part of the plan, "unlimited insurance coverage for non-interest-bearing deposit transaction accounts" will be instituted by the federal government, according to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation statement.The move is seen as direct relief for entrepreneurs using bank-based accounts to cover payroll.

"The FDIC is taking this unprecedented action because we have faith in our economy, our country and our banking system," states FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair (pictured).

At 9:30 a.m. Oct. 2, hip hop artist and serial entrepreneur Russell Simmons rang The Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange. But beyond just signifying the start of another day of trading on Wall Street, it represented the official launch of the Race to BE., a national competition aimed to encourage America's youth to leverage their artistic abilities in film, music and fashion into entrepreneurial endeavors.

"We want to encourage young people across the country and around the globe to think about how their ideas can become a reality," said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, to a roomful of competitors, entrepreneurs and reporters at a press conference immediately following the ringing of the Bell. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a national sponsor of the Race to BE. along with the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence.


Some Los Angeles-area dining establishments usually bustling with moguls, agents and stars are starting to see a downturn in patronage as a result of the slumping economy, according to a report in today's Los Angeles Times.

At Melisse, one of three Michelin Guide two-star restaurants in Southern California, the flow of diners slowed down almost overnight. "Just in the last two weeks you get the feeling that everything has changed," chef-owner Josiah Citrin (pictured) told the paper


The U.S. Federal Reserve on Tuesday vowed to buy short-term debt in order to unlock the credit flow that business owners rely on for quick loans, but today it's still not clear exactly when the relief will come or whether the move will indeed trickle down to the everyday entrepreneurs who need help the most.

The buying spree was designed to grease Main Street businesses and to impress the stock market, but so far it has done neither. Under the plan, the fed is vowing to purchase an unspecified amount of quick-turnaround "commercial paper" that's issued by major corporations and financial institutions. It's usually bought by institutional investors, but those big spenders are skittish about backing just about anything these days, including loans and stocks.


At last night's presidential debate in Nashville , both candidates addressed the impact of the economic crisis on business owners. Democratic Sen. Barack Obama mentioned the word "small business" eight times; Republican Sen. John McCain said it six times. Obama brought up the topic first, stating that the tight credit market is hindering entrepreneurs who need short-term loans to make payroll -- causing a snowball effect throughout the economy.

"Right now, the credit markets are frozen up and what that means, as a practical matter, is that small businesses and some large businesses just can't get loans," Obama said. "If they can't get a loan, that means that they can't make payroll. If they can't make payroll, then they may end up having to shut their doors and lay people off."