Small Businesses are pulling back investment…

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a very ominous sign.

As President Obama and congressional Republicans wrangle over the terms of a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, the likelihood of small business owners making significant investments in their companies over the next 12 months has plummeted, a national survey finds.

The latest Wells Fargo-Gallup Small Business Index, released today, finds small business owners’ net capital spending intentions fell to -14 in November, the lowest such rating in more than two years and down from a level of -1 in July. It suggests business owners’ forecasts about the state of the economy and the tax climate next year are dour enough to prevent them from spending on things like computers, machinery and other long-term investments.

So what? It’s just small business, right? Small business, huge impact.

•    Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
•    Employ more than half of all private sector employees.
•    Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
•    Generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.
•    Create more than half of the nonfarm private GDP.
•    Hire 43 percent of high tech workers
•   Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

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