The nation's debt crisis could leave the country in terrible shape for future generations, but small businesses could help guide the nation back into recovery, 10th District Congressman Robert Dold told a group of suburban businessmen Monday.
Dold, a Republican from Kenilworth, spoke during a meeting of several North and Northwest suburban chambers of commerce in Northbrook. He said the federal government deficit will put a greater burden on businesses and people as more federal dollars are directed to paying off debt.
"With the rate that we're going right now, I'm fearful that we may be the first generation that doesn't (leave a better nation for the next generation)" Dold said. "That, to me, is completely unacceptable."
However, Dold said one solution to help reduce the debt lies with the nations' small businesses. Dold is himself a part-owner is his family's Northfield pest control business, Rose Pest Solutions. Giving these businesses breaks and incentives to grow would spur job growth and productivity that would get the economy back on track and put the U.S. in a good position in the global marketplace, he said.
"Small business is the real job engine," he said.
Dold noted that there are 29 million small businesses in the U.S., and two-thirds of all hiring comes from them.
"If half of those businesses created one more job, just think about where we'd be now," he said.
The first-term congressman outlined a five-step plan he said would help small businesses prosper. Under his plan, government would reduce the regulatory burden; change the tax code to encourage job creation; increase competition for U.S. manufacturers; maximize domestic energy consumption to develop an energy policy that promotes it; address the skills gap; and promote the 10th District as a good place to do business.
In addressing the skills gap, Dold praised the efforts of Wheeling High School and Principal Lazaro Lopez, who has focused the school's curriculum in teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills to students.
"Education is absolutely critical in everything we do," Dold said. "We need to make sure we're exposing our students to STEM education."
The event was sponsored by the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce and supported by chambers from Buffalo Grove, Wheeling/Prospect Heights, Lincolnshire, Deerfield/Bannockburn/Riverwoods, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Highwood, Winnetka and Wilmette.