By "Small Business" We Mean "Charity"

While watching the seventh game of a really good World Series, I just saw a commercial for a Starbucks marketing push called createjobsforusa.org. It goes like this:

Starbucks is teaming up with Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN) which is a group of community lending institutions set up to provide financing to community businesses that need our help. In donating to OFN, 100% of your donation will help create and sustain jobs in underserved communities. To launch this project, the Starbucks Foundation is donating the first $5,000,000. As a thank you for your donation, you’ll get a wristband to wear proudly as a symbol of your support.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but if a business needs donations in order to operate and hire people, then it’s not a business, it’s a charity. And if a business financing organization needs donations in order to make loans to businesses, then it’s not doing a very good job of choosing which businesses to lend to.

At least we’ve gotten to the point where everyone is having to acknowledge the fact that jobs come from private businesses and not the government. But it looks like we’re still not totally clear on what private businesses are for, and why they have to be profitable and self-sustaining. Ah, well… baby steps.