I’m basically using this space to get my thoughts together. Since I’m representing small business on the panel, my first priority is putting to the lie to Republican claims that increasing the taxes on the top two percent of Americans will “kill jobs” or “hurt small business.” If you have anything to add, or catchy turns of phrases – I’m all ears.
Small business hiring and firing has nothing to do with the top marginal income tax rates. It has to do with demand. A tax regime that shrinks the economy through “austerity,” (cutting vital services and holding back investment in public infrastructure) hurts demand much more than giving Paris Hilton a tax cut helps demand. I was fortunate to be able to go to the White House last spring as a part of the ASBC small and sustainable business summit and informing the administration in one voice that tax cuts hurt small business was a major agenda item. Small business people like myself view government as a kind of silent partner in our business that provides fire and police protection, roads, bridges, schools, and to act as a kind of referee to make sure there is a level playing field. Do we want to make sure we are getting a good return on investment for our tax dollars? Of Course. Do we think the government is some evil, greedy beast that needs to be “drowned” in a bathtub ? No legitimate business person, small or large, thinks that.
When the GOP cries “small business” they aren’t even talking about small business in any conventional sense of the term. They are talking about any “pass through entity.” So lobbying firms that take in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, hedge fund managers and even giant Agra-business concerns like Cargill, are “small business” according to John Boehner because they are “S corp” which means the profits pass through the company and are taxed on the shareholder level.
And that brings up another part of this Republican fallacy about “small business” being hurt. It is the PROFITS that get taxes, not the revenues. Taxes are paid or not paid long after hiring and firing decision have been made. I suppose it would be possible for wingnut business people to intentionally make bad business decisions in order to avoid paying taxes, but they wouldn’t be in business too long. For the bulk S corp filers it would be impossible for taxes to “kill jobs” because the very fact that they are paying taxes means that their business was profitable. If anything, low tax rates incentivize wealthier business people to NOT invest in growing their business.
There are just a bunch of lies at the heart of the GOP position that need to be unpacked, (the biggest and most pernicious is that tax cuts HELP the economy when they’ve had just the opposite effect for the past 20 years). I’d also like to remind everyone that the whole “fiscal cliff” contraption was invented because Republicans wanted to prevent tax rates for resetting to a more rational level for the top 2% of Americans. The very heart of this whole conversation is a national debt that was built by Republicans because they thought that the wealthiest Americans should have the lowest tax burden in the entire industrialized world AND we should put two wars on the nation’s credit cards while slashing tax revenues.