Defunding police will hurt America’s small businesses

Jim Blasingame

No other single group does more to benefit America than Main Street businesses. And no other has a greater stake in the stability of their communities.

Small business owners anchor thousands of communities by producing half of the U.S. economy, creating jobs and signing millions of paychecks every week, building things you can hold, delivering customized service you can see, and leading with class. President Kennedy had something to say about that last thing: “Class is grace under pressure.”

Surely, JFK was thinking of a small business owner, because no one scratched their head when Gallup reported public admiration for small business owners as number two out of 15 groups. They were right under the armed forces, immediately followed in third place by – the police. By the way, the “media” and Congress are on the bottom – 14 and 15 respectively. Just saying …

By my count, over 100 million people are directly involved in running America’s 28 million small firms, including owners, employees, and supporting family members. Arguably, Small Business America is one of the largest voting cohorts, with the common denominator of being “all in” – pushing all their chips to the middle of the table every day.

Politically, Main Street operators are Democrats and Republicans and cover the liberal-to-conservative spectrum. And yet they’re the least likely group to mount a grievance campaign – protest or lobby – about a policy affront to their interests.  It turns out that when keeping your nose to the grindstone in order to make payroll on Friday, it’s anatomical that you’ll also keep your head down.

Alas, sometimes this is an unfortunate and unproductive political posture.

Historically, when policies negatively impacting Main Street have been instituted – like higher taxes and new regulations – the small business sector was less engaged in the debate than it should have been. And until now, they’ve more or less survived whatever was dealt to them. Until now.

Until in a matter of days, the dystopic notion of defunding the police morphed from an anarchist rant into a dangerous political agenda. Consequently, it’s now urgent that small business owners stand up and speak out today – this hour – against such madness being part of any serious and legitimate discussion of law enforcement reform.

There are no pure organizations. Great or small, all can benefit from reforms. So, yes, let’s reform police department human resources practices that allow an obviously bad cop to remain on the street (union leaders, call your office.) But using the sickening attack that happened in Minneapolis last month – or any law enforcement failure – as justification for lurching hysterically to defund police departments across the nation is something out of a Bizarro World comic book. In case you’re not familiar, in Bizarro World, a vacuum cleaner doesn’t remove dirt from the floor, it spews more dirt onto the floor.  Yes, it is bizarre.

Millions of small business owners – of every race, gender, and background – have risked everything for decades to own their businesses and real estate outright. Millions more keep their noses to the grindstone to eventually achieve that level of success. Defunding the police puts in jeopardy all of that work and sacrifice, as well as their 65 million employees and families.

We can debate racism, systemic or otherwise. We can discuss differentiating a Constitutionally-protected protester with a legitimate cause from a criminal looter or anarchist who should be arrested. But defunding law enforcement is a Rubicon we must not cross. What’s next? “Abolish STOP signs!” Or, “Defund Congress!” Oh, wait …

When the alarm company calls at midnight to report a breach at your business, yours is actually their second call. The first one was routed to a police officer working the night shift, who at that moment reports “10-23” (at your business) still not knowing if he or she will find a door ajar or an armed intruder jacked up on crack. Still not knowing if a third call that night will be to that officer’s family.

Where do we find such people? We’re going to defund that police officer?

Small business owners must use their leadership platform to be voices of reason against this misguided and hysterical lurch toward lunacy. The champions of Main Street must become the champions of the hundreds of thousands of selfless professionals conducting millions of quality law enforcement actions every day across the danger spectrum. We must expose the defunding narrative as a canard for a political agenda that’s more about destabilizing America than promoting better law enforcement.

Raise your head from the grindstone long enough to vociferously speak out against defunding police. No other sector in America has more to lose from the chaos that would ensue if quality law enforcement is not given the financial and moral support it deserves.

Nothing good comes from anything that harms America’s small businesses. Nothing good will come from defunding the police.

Write this on a rock … Will America defund its law enforcement heroes? Not on our watch!

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