Bailout isn't helping out the little guy

Eyes of U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson


Scott Jagow: Today, Congress will grill the Treasury on what small business is or is not getting out of the $700 billion bailout. Again, nothing as far as we can tell. From our Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, Mitchell Hartman has more.

Mitchell Hartman: Small-business owners like Bret Wingert haven't been having an easy time of it. He's a former aerospace engineer who went into the fancy tea business a few years ago.

Bret Wingert: What was difficult before is really impossible now. Even just simple business credit card limits being reduced. Home lines of credit are also being shrunk.

Wingert's actually selling lots of tea these days at his two shops in Phoenix, and he was hoping to open a third by Christmas. But that plan's dead in its tracks.

Michael Christoff works with folks in much worse shape. His company, Omni Financial, helps business owners pay off their overdue tax liabilities.

Michael Christoff: Small businesses aren't able to get the financing that they were six months ago.

Christoff says, if anything, the credit crunch has gotten worse for small business since the bailout began.

One economist I talked to agreed, saying credit is flowing again at the top of the pyramid with big banks lending to other big banks. But it hasn't trickled down to the little-guy economy yet.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.


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