(New York Times) In the recovery so far, small businesses have largely been left behind. Initially, loans were hard to come by and consumers weren’t shopping. Now, small-business owners say, Washington is throwing up additional roadblocks.

In survey after survey, owners of small businesses report unbridled pessimism about the economy. The small-business optimism index from the National Federation of Independent Business — a major industry group for small businesses that surveys a sample of its members each month — is stuck at recessionary levels. In January’s report, released this week, expectations for business conditions six months from now were at their fourth-lowest reading in nearly 40 years.

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