'Fed Up': Nearly 6 in 10 Small Business Owners Say Biden's Economy Could Force Them To Close Their Doors

New poll comes months after Biden said his 'economic plan is working'

A shuttered storefront in Cairo, Ill. / Getty Images
May 15, 2023

Nearly 6 in 10 small business owners are concerned that President Joe Biden's inflationary economy could force them to close their doors, a new poll obtained by the Washington Free Beacon shows.

The poll, which business advocacy group Job Creators Network Foundation commissioned in April, surveyed 400 small business owners across the country. Those business owners are not happy with Biden's economy. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they're "concerned" that economic conditions under Biden could force them to close their businesses, while 70 percent said they expect the nation's small business climate to remain the same or get worse. Another 59 percent of respondents, meanwhile, expressed concern that "bank failures and instability will impact their small business."

The findings come as a rebuke of Biden, who in recent months has repeatedly defended his economy and economic policies. In February, Biden called the U.S. economy "strong," and one month later, the Democrat said his "economic plan is working." But inflation has reached record highs under Biden—food prices, for example, are nearly 8 percent higher than they were last April, making Mother's Day breakfast considerably more expensive than it was last year.

For Job Creators Network Foundation president Elaine Parker, the group's poll shows that small business owners are "fed up" and "aren't buying the White House's economic fairy tale."

"Our latest polling reveals a recurring theme: Main Street is fed up with the Biden administration's tax-and-spend policy agenda," Parker said in a statement. "Small business owners aren't buying the White House's economic fairy tale as inflation, banking instability, and the threat of higher taxes compromise operations. Rather than doubling down on what's not working, lawmakers in Washington need to pursue pro-small business policies that will inevitably benefit everyone."

The White House did not return questions on the poll's findings or Biden's praise for the economy. Instead, a White House official pointed the Free Beacon to a survey that shows small business owners "want decisive congressional action" to avoid a debt ceiling default.

Biden has dismissed the notion that the economy has soured under his watch, saying in an April speech that he "is bringing manufacturing back, rebuilding the middle class, and creating good-paying union jobs." "Folks, it's time to finish the job," Biden said during his remarks, which came hours after the Democrat announced his 2024 reelection bid.

Recession concerns, however, could plague Biden's campaign as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates and banks tighten lending standards, moves that often signal an impending recession. In a February research paper, leading economists argued that the Fed's interest rate raises—meant to combat inflation—cannot come without a recession. "There is no post-1950 precedent for a sizable … disinflation that does not entail substantial economic sacrifice or recession," the paper says. The Fed, meanwhile, in a May report expressed concern that a decline in bank lending could cause a "slowdown in economic activity." And former Obama administration economist Larry Summers said last month that inflation cannot be countered without significant economic decline.

"I think we're going to have difficulty getting near a 2 percent inflation target until and unless the economy slows down substantially," Summers said.

The Job Creators Network Foundation poll also highlights a number of policies that small business owners support to ease inflation. Eighty-one percent of respondents, for example, said the Biden administration should balance the federal budget "to rein in spending and reduce inflation." Eighty-five percent, meanwhile, expressed support for policies that would spur "domestic energy production to increase supply and lower prices" after the average price for a gallon of gas last summer exceeded $5 for the first time ever.