NFIB data show that small-business owners have been pessimistic for an unprecedented two-and-a-half years and that continued pessimism from usually upbeat small-business owners is hurting the economy as few are willing to embark on business expansions. Decreasing uncertainty will go a long way to increasing small-business optimism, writes Scott Shane, who recommends that lawmakers promise owners that their taxes won't increase and they won't face new regulations until after the 2012 presidential election at the earliest.

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