OPINION

Rick Sanchez: To Hillary Clinton, Latino business is just a collection of taco vendors

Hillary Clinton during a campaign stop in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.

Hillary Clinton during a campaign stop in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.  (ap)

There is a new mainstream economy in America. It’s a demographic shift of somewhat seismic proportions that is taking place right under our feet. It will play a large part, if not determine the type of nation we will become — and it looks extremely promising. It will shape us culturally. But most importantly, it will establish our rate of economic growth.

There is a visual script written in the heads of average Americans by politicians of both parties and the general media about Hispanics. We hear it on the campaign trail, in news coverage and the like and it is this: Most Hispanics are recently-arrived immigrants and therefor not really Americans. 

- Rick Sanchez

What I am referring to is something you would think both candidates running for the presidency of the United States would understand and want to embrace. Instead, it’s a reality – speaking in general political terms – known only to a relative few. 

Hillary Clinton is ill-informed and so is Donald Trump. Neither realizes there are two slap-in-the-face cold realities that are reshaping present-day America. One is a digital explosion and the other is a demographic explosion. Let’s focus on the latter. 

Hispanic entrepreneurs are the linchpins to America’s demographic explosion. They are the straw that is stirring economic growth in the U.S. by individually and quietly starting more new businesses and creating more new jobs than any other group.   

They’re called LOBs for short, which stands for Latino-Owned Businesses. Latino entrepreneurs are starting businesses faster than the rest of the startup population and becoming a bigger part of the total U.S. market every day. 

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When it comes to net new business formation, Latino-owned businesses between 2007 and 2012 were up 47 percent, while non-Latino net new business formation was down two percent. 

The unspoken truth is this: Corporate America has been downsizing now for decades. The giants no longer create the jobs, so who does? American businessmen and women who run small to medium size startups. And nobody seems to be doing that better than Latinos.   

Here’s how they’re described in a recently published report by Stanford University Graduate School of Business. If LOB’s continue to grow as fast as the U.S. average, they could add $1.4 trillion to the U.S. economy. 

That’s a tough number to imagine, but here’s some sense of scale: in just one year that equals 40 percent more than Microsoft has made since it was founded in 1975. It would add almost eight percent to the $18 trillion U.S. economy. 

There is a visual script written in the heads of average Americans by politicians of both parties and the general media about Hispanics. We hear it on the campaign trail, in news coverage and the like, and it is this: Most Hispanics are recently-arrived immigrants and therefore not really Americans. 

Here’s the truth: 65 percent of Latinos are native-born Americans and 90 percent of Latino youths are U.S.-born citizens. In fact, more than one million Latinos are turning 18 every single year. And you know where they were born? You guessed it: right here in the good ol’ USA. That’s a demographic explosion.

Latinos on average tend to hold down more jobs — 2.3 and are much less likely to receive any type of government assistance. Their buying power projections exceed 1.5 trillion dollars and if it were a nation, America’s Latino population would rank as the 12th to 15th largest country in the world by GDP. 

Yes, there is a demographic explosion in America that is taking shape in the form of what experts are calling a New Mainstream Economy, and Hispanic entrepreneurs appear to be leading the way. It is based not on assumptions, but on verifiable trends, metrics and facts.

And this is happening while our presidential candidates remain clueless about a group that will soon represent nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. Both presidential candidates seem willing to base their knowledge regarding America’s future on hasty and ignorant assumptions. 

To Hillary Clinton, Latino business is likely nothing more than a collection of taco vendors. Like too many Democrats, she treats Hispanics in general as a convenient voting block to be protected like children who can do nothing for themselves — until election time, at which time they need to be cajoled while counted.    

Donald Trump, like too many Republicans, makes similar assumptions for perhaps a different reason. His record shows he will hire Latinos only as long as there are maintenance and short-term construction jobs available. And like too many Republicans post-George W. Bush, since he doesn’t believe he can get their votes, why bother to engage or understand their value to America?

As Americans, we should accept and embrace any and all persons, institutions and/or trends that are making us a better country by creating growth and opportunity. America’s New Mainstream Economy appears to be doing just that — now if we could only get Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to understand it, we’d all be better off.  

Rick Sanchez is a contributor for Fox News Latino.

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