Former Ebay CEO Urges Action on Small Business Issues

Former eBay President and CEO Meg Whitman told small business owners at the National Federation of Independent Business conference Monday that taxes, health care, education and frivolous lawsuits are some of the most pressing issues that must be dealt with by government leaders today.

"We live in a hyperfast and hypercompetitive global business environment," she said. "Our government leaders must be prepared to take those challenges head-on and do what is needed to keep the United States as the best place in the world to innovate and create jobs."

The nation has reached a point where high taxes threaten the prosperity and security of our nation, she said, adding that jobs often go overseas because corporate tax rates make it too difficult to run a business in the United States.

"The top federal corporate tax rate of 39 percent is the highest in the industrial world - some 25 percent greater than our competitors in Europe and Japan," she said.

She lambasted the state of health care: "Health care expenses are killing employers... Too often, when companies are successful, workers see their share of that success swallowed up by higher health care premiums rather than more take-home pay."

As for education, she said there's a dire lack of young people with skills in math, science and technology. Separately, she noted that small businesses shoulder 69 percent of the $143 billion annual costs that the tort system imposes on businesses.

She pointed to firms Google and Craigslist as small businesses that have turned big because "constantly reinventing your business is critical to survival." Whitman said the Internet has made small businesses able to compete on a level playing field with large firms and noted that more than 1.3 million people globally make a significant part of their livelihoods selling on eBay.

About 80 percent of small business sellers on eBay sell overseas, she said. "Today, because of the Internet, a falling dollar does not just help big export giants like Boeing, Caterpillar and General Motors, it is also means great export opportunities for small businesses as well."

Lastly, she urged for tax simplification, saying if states levy different taxes, small firms may go out of business trying to calculate tax for 7,600 different tax jurisdictions.

By Sharon McLoone |  June 11, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
Previous: AARP Helps Small Firms Advocate for Health Care Reform | Next: McCain Courts Small Business Owners in Economic Speech


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Looking at the amount of ebayers that have left ebay (both sellers and buyers)due to Ms. Whitman's innovative ideas and changes implemeneted to the "new Ebay"- I personally don't know she's in a position to be giving any kind of advice or suggestions regarding any kind of business. She was the one that began instilling the first changes on ebay-while advising th present CEo- which has -of which has caused possibly millions of ebayers across the world-to stop selling /buying on ebay and go to other auction sites.

Posted by: Xebayer | June 11, 2008 10:14 AM

Please look at what eBay is doing to their small sellers, the eBay coropration could care less about it's small sellers!

Posted by: Misty | June 11, 2008 11:54 AM

I have to control myself when I read about what Meg Whitman has to say. This women is the reason ebay is failing and eventually will no longer be the place for small business sellers. Whitman is a hypocrite and God help us as she tries to peck her way into politics. What a self serving woman. She speaks of craigslist and is the cause of the law suits between ebay and craigslist. Greedy is also a term to describe Whitman. She thinks of no one but herself and has the capacity to completely ignore people and other business. She is like a giant snow plow, plowing to get her way. Wow, what a shame she is going into the political arena. I hope she is found out before she can get started. ebay was made by small sellers, not Whitman. Everyone in the business and political world should not give her the credit for ebay success or branding ebay with it's identity. She just rode the wave and now we can see she ruined ebay.

Posted by: KD | June 11, 2008 1:00 PM

i agree i spend five year buyer and 1years as seller and i sold few great item but cost listing hurting me in small way there no freedom for smaller seller they ur closing door on small biz owner and focus on large company and that will be end us small mind freelance seller indeed

Posted by: mr.sha | June 11, 2008 4:57 PM

What a joke ! Does Meg not have a clue as to what is going on at eBay today ? I have been supporting eBay for 10 years and they are doing everything in their power to piss off sellers big time ! Ruining many peoples small businesses overnight and yet she goes out and says this stuff ! Hypocrite Why is the USA news not following the destructive actions at eBay . If eBay were a local store it would be out of business tomorrow . Investigate what eBay is doing to their core sellers and you will find a company that has the worst customer service I have ever seen and continues to kick all the sellers in the ass. They do not care . Meg must know what the new CEO is doing and she should also get out and tell them how eBay is going down the tubes . Go to eBay forums

and see what the sellers are saying -- Get the word out -- I have informed everyone I run into about what eBay is doing to sellers -- I can say that many people I know will also spread the word . The US news needs to do a PRIME time special on this one --

Posted by: upset too | June 11, 2008 6:48 PM

Anything coming out of the mouth of Meg Whitman will always be skewed to her benefit. If she decides to go into politics, pity the state of California because she will do more harm than any good for anyone or anything.

While Meg was CEO at ebay, Inc., she groomed her replacement and the two of them must have smoked something illegal to come up with all the new rules and policies that ebay has rolled out since January 2008.

Whatever Meg Whitman does, it is done for her own financial gain. Funny that she says there is a shortage of people with math, science and technological skills. She should know as they are all employed by ebay where their math and my math are not the same, where the science of BS is an art form and where technology can not keep hackers and phishers for your personal info or selling accounts from being hijacked.

In my humble opinion, Meg is a SPIN doctor who goes to the highest bidder.

Beware bidders as she is not significantly as described and you had better act fast and file a SNAD dispute to get your money back through the other cash cow that ebay owns known as PayPal.

Posted by: Mere | June 12, 2008 10:06 AM

mere-"While Meg was CEO at ebay, Inc., she groomed her replacement and the two of them must have smoked something illegal to come up with all the new rules and policies that ebay has rolled out since January 2008."

I sincerely doubt if both or either of them need any kind of chemcials... to some... this insane logic comes natural.. lol...

All that has transpired - would be the making of a great book.. titled...

Posted by: EX-EBAYER | June 12, 2008 11:56 AM

It's dangerous when these people (Meg and her group) try hard to make themselves anew. I have lost ANY faith I might have had in McCain once Meg and her lot joined his supporters after Romney lost. I have NO faith in his sense of corporate governance, TRUTH, even democracy. These eBayers know nothing about small business, or any business at all. Their past records are clear: Smash the small business, buy the garbage, heap it on, issue muzzy mea culpas, stifle competition, use heavy-handed tactics, do whatever profits your monopoly. This shows, without doubt, that Meg and her gang are not in it for people, but to keep the outrageous -- and quite profitanle -- policies of the present administration alive. Can America take more of this and keep small business healthy? I think not. Quite hypocritical amd shameless.

Posted by: An ex-eBayer Too .. | June 12, 2008 1:01 PM

Everything out of Whitman's mouth needs to be viewed as a sales job by a future GOP gubernatorial or senatorial candidate from California. She and Carly Fiorina are what passes for Leading GOP Women in the McCain years: ex-business executives with questionable-at-best corporate records who talk as if they are oracles about how to fix the country. McCain and the GOP actually think women like Whitman and Fiorina can relate effectively to everyday moms well enough to sell them on the GOP. Neither Whitman nor Fiorina have anything relevant to say to these voters, or to offer in addressing this country's real problems. Yet both are effective in spewing mindless drivel without content to the usual rah-rah crowds like the NFIB, who lap this garbage up with relish.

Posted by: Steve Soto | June 12, 2008 3:40 PM

Wow, am I impressed, a presidential candidate who is so uninformed, he would use two of the greediest, corporate bulldozers ever to run American companies into the ground as his business advisors..Not sure who Carly left to mop up, but the business hack Meg Whitman left in place that is Donahue at Ebay is one of the most supercilious self centered fools I have ever seen run a business into the ground. Smashing small businesses overnight is a very profitable business for ebay. Use 'em up, spit 'em out, get rich.
I sincerely hope the good voters of the country or California (my former home state) don't let Ms. Whitman anywhere near politics, It will be kiss your feet (or some other part of your anatomy) goodbye or at least maybe aim them at Canada...Thanks for the opportunity to talk....RatherRuss

Posted by: Russ Ketter | June 14, 2008 10:28 PM

How do you tell Meg Whitman is lieing? Her mouth is moving!

Meg Whitmen Talking about the small business man, now thats about as deceptive as it gets! Meg W. does`nt have a clue about the SBM, she`s a Multi-million dollar CEO for gods sake. In the last year, she has SOLD over 87MIL in stock! What the hell does she know about being a small businessman!

News out today suggests Ebay has been playing the numbers for as long as I`ve thought and is about to implode.

Posted by: Ex Ebay`r | June 27, 2008 11:23 PM

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