In April, I did the unthinkable: I swapped my usual work uniform—T-shirt, sneakers, comfortable pants—for formal business attire. The occasion: A hearing conducted by the California Senate Banking and Institutions Committee. The subject: A bill with the very Star Wars-y name of SB-1235. I was there to testify on its behalf.
SB-1235, to put it plainly, would require small business lenders to be more transparent about the cost of their products. No more waiting till the last minute to reveal interest rates, for example.
As I recently published elsewhere, I’m not a huge fan of regulation for its own sake. Running a small business demands the freedom to take risks, and too much nanny-state babysitting can put a serious damper on such enterprise. But what better occasion than the Fourth of July to insist that small business owners have room to improvise and innovate and strive for the American Dream?
It’s high time the veil of mystery be torn from what should be a simple, straightforward transaction between entrepreneur and lender. Nav did a study showing that roughly one in four small business owners who get turned down for a loan are completely in the dark as to why they’ve been rejected. Those numbers need to change, and they need to change soon.
But the Fourth is a day for celebration rather than gloom. It’s a day for applauding the pioneer grit that conquered the seas and carved a nation out of a wilderness. And I do have some happy news: SB-1235 passed the assembly committee meeting 9-0 with only two members abstaining. Fingers crossed that the bill receives enough support from the senate as a whole to become Golden State law, but for now we’ll just be glad that it still has a heartbeat.
There’s another silver lining in all of this, and one that’s significant to the Fourth of July in particular. It was genuinely moving, in our contentious political environment, to see Democrats and Republicans join forces to change American lives for the better. The debates were vigorous, the arguments on both sides well-prepared, but democracy and decorum won out in the end. I’m grateful for that.
I’m also grateful for you. Our country’s economy would come to an utter standstill without your labor, perseverance, and unqualified bravery. Thank you for continuing to fight the good fight. Thank you for your creativity and toughness. Now, go enjoy some fireworks, and know that we’re here for you for as long as ordinary people dream extraordinary dreams.
This article was originally written on July 2, 2018.