Small business became big news in the late 1980s, as massive corporate upheavals sent thousands of bright, talented people into the streets searching for opportunities. Many took an "I'll-show-you attitude" and opened their own businesses, boosting the U.S. small-business count to 17 million.
Small businesses create two of every three new American jobs, train two out of three new American workers and create more than half of U.S. technical innovations, according to Susan Engeleiter, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
"On the whole, 1989 was a positive year for small business, yet we need to build upon our successes in the 1990s," Engeleiter said. She said Congress must maintain a climate that encourages small-business growth.
"In an increasingly competitive global economy, we can't let Washington policy-makers dampen the spirit and success of America's entrepreneurs."
For the first time ever, small-business owners and their various trade associations united to defeat an unpopular measure. Their outcry forced the repeal of Section 89, a controversial portion of the 1986 Tax Reform Act. The section would have required employers to verify that their benefit plans did not discriminate between executives and rank-and-file workers. Tremendous and vocal opposition from small-business owners led to the repeal of the section by President Bush in November.