Dear Editor, Jim Hightower's column on SBA contracting (Aug. 4) is a lie [“Hightower Report"]. He takes the SBA to task for awarding billions and billions in federal contracts to major American corporations. Didn't happen. He either totally misread the report he was commenting on, or he is deliberately lying about it to create a lively column. The SBA never, ever said that a quarter of the SBA's contracts went to small business. Not so fast, slick! The SBA report said a quarter of the entire federal government's contracts went to small businesses. The issue is over $314 billion in contracts. The SBA's entire annual budget is less than 1% of that. The SBA report was based on numbers provided to it by the Federal Procurement Data System, a database maintained by the GSA. It collects data that is input by all of the federal governments departments and agencies. SBA didn't award the contracts; it only reported the results. None of the large companies he mentions got contracts from the SBA. Not one. None of those dollars were siphoned out of the SBA. None.
Mike Stamler Washington, D.C.
[Jim Hightwoer responds: This guy’s letter is a joke, right? Let’s check who’s lying. As reported in a front-page article in the July 6 New York Times, the SBA put out a press release last month boasting that it “had awarded more than a quarter of contracts to small businesses,” Bush’s SBA was taking credit for showering this largesse on small business. My point was not that all of the cash came from this one agency, but that SBA’s claim of delivering 25% of federal contracts to mom & pop enterprises is a fraud. Indeed as I indicated in my column, some $5 billion worth of these “small business contracts” went to just 13 of America’s largest corporations, including Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin. The corporations themselves admit they got the money! This is why the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce says, “The SBA’s handling of small business contracting is a mess.” If the agency’s PR flack thinks I’m lying, he might check with SBA’s own inspector general, who issued a damning report last year that declared: “One of the most important challenges facing the SBA and the entire federal government is that large businesses are receiving small business procurement awards.” To keep up with SBA’s funny numbers game, contact the watchdog group, American Small Business League: www.asbl.com/fraud.]