The US Presidential Candidates: How small business friendly are they?

The 2016 USA presidential election has been one of the dramatically covered and most attention-grabbing in recent history. And never before has the nation supported such an ideologically diverse group of candidates. The top performing two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, each assume a unique stance foreign policy, counterterrorism, macroeconomics and Wall Street/income distribution.

But what do they envision for our country's small businesses? Typically, promoting small businesses is the first item on any political agenda. This year, however, a convoluted geopolitical struggle in the Middle East and North Africa and the future of the Affordable Care Act have taken much of the conversation.

Although certainly important, the foreign policy and affordable care act discussions do not address the concerns of the over 28 million small businesses in the United States of America.

Let's see how the two candidates stack up when it comes to small business.

Donald J. Trump (R)

Let’s start with the man who has, to say the least, taken center stage in the 2016 Presidential election. Mr. Trump, the flashy business-mogul-turned-reality-TV-star is currently the frontrunner among American small business owners. Though a polarizing figure, a Manta survey reveals that Trump has been successful in appealing to his fellow businessmen, as 38% of small business owners feel that he would best represent their interests as president.

The pundit of real estate plans to revise the federal income tax to a four-bracket scheme (0%, 10%, 20% and 25%) and intends to bolster a corporate tax rate of 15%. Trump does not favor an increased minimum wage, wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and intends to hand health insurance over to the national marketplace, according to CNBC. Trump proposes a cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and aims to impose a 15% tax for outsourcing jobs and a 20% tariff on imported goods.

Hillary Clinton (D)

The former Senator, Secretary of State and First Lady came in second place among small business owners in the Manta survey. Mrs. Clinton has based her small business campaign around reforming the tax code so that it is less favorable for the financial tycoons on Wall Street. Clinton emphasizes a reduction of “red tape” and bureaucratic obstacles that entrepreneurs have to surmount in order to file taxes and start a new business. She champions a minimum wage between $12 and $15, paid family leave and equal pay mandates.

Regarding healthcare, she upholds that the Affordable Care Act is a workable document and seeks to ensure that every American is given a healthcare plan. Concerning macroeconomics, Clinton has a muddled history with the TPP—once the conductor of the deal’s implementation, she has since rescinded her support for it.

It's important to also note that small business owners are losing optimism and refusing to expand operations in the run up to November’s high-stakes presidential election.

According to researchers at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), America’s Index of Small Business Optimism declined two-tenths of a point in August, settling at 94.4 points.

An unprecedented 39 percent of business owners cited the nation’s unsteady political climate as a reason not to expand. Meanwhile, concerns surrounding government policy and economic uncertainty also hit record levels last month – pushing optimism levels well below the Index’s 42-year average of 98 points.