Eyes of U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
Eyes of U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson - 
Listen To The Story


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.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Mitchell Hartman at @entrepreneurguy