By Frank Knapp Jr.

Small businesses are paying the price for an economic crisis they didn't create. To find solutions to this crisis, our government needs to listen to small-business owners, not the financial behemoths that caused the meltdown and then passed the buck.

When Tom Ledbetter became facilitator of training programs for entrepreneurs and small-business owners in Columbia, S.C., graduates typically would be able to take action to achieve their goals. Not anymore. Now, classes are smaller and graduates routinely are frozen out of financing necessary for them to pursue their dreams.

More and more small businesses are being rejected for loans. It doesn’t matter what the business is; whether it be a glass company in Charleston with 80 employees, an auto parts company with orders in hand from Honda, a Greenville cabinet-making business with large orders pending, a multi-generation Columbia business looking to diversify by putting up $2 million and prime property, or a Hilton Head construction supply company that had never missed a loan payment—all have been rejected by lenders.