We need to create an economy where small businesses can thrive and build up wealth in West Virginia.

By: Cathy Kunkel, Candidate for Congress, 2nd Congressional District

Posted: March 08, 2020 | 06:19AM EST

We need an economy here in West Virginia that prioritizes workers and small businesses, not out-of- state monopolies. That’s why I’m running for Congress in the 2nd Congressional district.

Small businesses are the heart of our towns and – unlike out-of-state corporations – they invest back in our communities. But small business owners often struggle to get bank loans, to attract and retain employees, and to deal with the rapidly rising costs of health insurance. Since the 1970s, the number of start-up businesses in America has fallen by half. Over the same period, income inequality in America has spiraled out of control, until today when just three families have more wealth than half of the population.

The struggles of small businesses and ordinary workers are both rooted in political decisions to prioritize the interests of large corporations over ordinary Americans. By giving up on the enforcement of anti-monopoly and anti-trust laws starting in the 1970s, the federal government enabled a few big corporations to dominate the market in virtually all sectors of our economy, allowing them to hire lobbyists and write laws to continuing rigging the economy even more in their favor. Monopolies dominate our economy in almost every sector, from agriculture to retail to banking.

Monopolies can afford to lower their prices below cost long enough to drive out smaller competitors. Massive retailers like Walmart use their huge purchasing power to compel suppliers to cut wages and outsource production so that they can continue selling cheap goods. This in turn drives suppliers to merge so that they can have greater negotiating power with retail giants like Walmart and Amazon. Amazon is under investigation in Europe for allegedly collecting and using data on third-party sales on Amazon’s platform to undercut those same businesses.

The concentration of many economic sectors into a few large firms has decimated many regions of our country, particularly rural states like West Virginia. Major corporations tend to be headquartered in a few coastal cities, concentrating wealth in those areas. Meanwhile the small businesses and regional firms that used to keep wealth closer to where it is produced have been disappearing.

Even as small business owners pay taxes and re-invest in our communities, they watch as some of their large corporate competitors, like Amazon, get away with paying $0 in federal corporate income taxes.

We need to create an economy where small businesses can thrive and build up wealth in West Virginia. That will mean changing priorities and putting workers and small business owners first, ahead of the interests of Wall Street and giant monopolies.

In Congress, I will support expanding access to credit for small businesses, especially in rural areas. I will support Medicare for All universal healthcare, taking the burden of health insurance off the backs of small businesses and their employees.

We do not need one set of tax rules for wealthy corporations and another for small businesses. We need to close the loopholes, repeal the 2017 corporate tax cut, and require that all corporations pay a 35% tax on profits. And we must enforce our anti-monopoly laws to break up big banks and big tech firms that have amassed far too much power in our economy to the detriment of small businesses.

Read more about my campaign’s vision of an economy that works for all of us at KunkelForCongress.com.

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