In this third and final debate, the key issue was the economy, primarily the clarification of the tax plan of each candidate. The key was not those impacted among individual employees, but how businesses would be impacted, specifically small businesses.
Obama, while saying he will only increase taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year, includes American business in his cross hairs. And while $250K seems like a large sum, most small businesses operate well in excess of that amount and will be severely impacted. The distribution of the tax will be uneven and specifically unfair to those businesses that are more capital intensive and have more employees.
In response to our original article, many expressed concern because Obama did not state clearly whether he was speaking of taxing gross or net business income in the debate. Some believe Obama is trying to be intentionally misleading on the issue, so we decided to clarify.
What we have found in our research is that Obama does say, buried deeply on his website, that the amount to be taxed would be the business’ net profit, not the gross receipts. If it had been gross receipts, that would have shut the doors on many small businesses in America overnight.
Still, there is a major concern with his plan, because what Obama qualifies as a small business is totally suspect. Small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration, have average incomes in the millions of dollars and can employ hundreds. This site provides a summary.
So, if the Small Business Administration data is correct, how can Obama claim that 90-98% of American small businesses would be excluded from his tax increase? The lie in Obama’s plan is that he is including sole proprietorships which aren’t really businesses; they are just individuals filing taxes that are not on a W2. That includes the maid, a lone painter, etc. These are businesses by tax qualifications only, not true businesses in any sense of the word. They do not employ anyone, and they do not provide the same benefits to the nation as real businesses which employ people that also contribute to the tax base.
Let’s examine this.
First, Obama attempts to delude people that make less than $250,000 that they will benefit under his tax plan. The plan, at first, does seem beneficial for the person in a normal job working for a US-based company. It is true that most of those people do not make more than $250K, so they would get a tax cut. Great plan, right? Think again. How many of these people work for small businesses? If you do, you definitely should consider how Obama’s plan to increase your employer’s taxes could cost you a raise or even your job.
Second, and most importantly, when Obama speaks of taxing only those that make more than $250,000, he groups in what he claims are small businesses that have a net profit of over $250,000. He has often referenced statistics stating how this applies to small businesses in America. These statistics are not only misleading, they are an outright lie and the cornerstone of Obama’s campaign.
Obama states that at least 90% of small businesses make less than $250K, but the huge flaw in that statistic is it includes the sole proprietor. These people are not making more than $250K on average any more than the average person does in any other job in America. They are not considered a “business” for any other reason than they do not get paid via a W2 (with automatic deductions). They do not operate as a true business, they do not employ others, and they essentially are not a business at all in any real sense of the word.
Joe the Plumber and Small Businesses
What we are most interested in are small businesses that provide jobs, and how those businesses will be impacted. We want statistics that isolate small businesses that employ people, genuine small businesses.
The expert on small business in America is the Small Business Administration. This SBA does a great job at summarizing the incomes and employment limits for many businesses to qualify as a “small business”. None are as low as $250,000, some employ hundreds, and all would pay significantly higher taxes under Obama’s plan.
Obama claims that the companies, even though their taxes will rise sharply, will pay lower taxes than under Reagan. That is a lie as well. The rate could potentially be well north of 50% if you count Social Security contributions (a point that Obama conveniently glosses over). Then consider the added expense of health plans (which Obama wants to force upon all businesses). It is the highest tax rate since the Carter years, and we all know how that turned out…record unemployment. Tack on the cost of health care and you have a small business disaster waiting to happen.
Why is this dangerous and why is it easy for Obama to mislead the average citizen? The concept of taxing a business based on its net income sounds good to the average American when you throw out what seems like a large number to most of them. Most don’t earn that much money, so we are just taxing the rich, right?
Wrong, a company’s net income is not what the proprietors take home. It is extremely different from earned wages. It is the money left after expenses for the prior business year, such as salaries paid, equipment depreciated, etc. Most businesses reinvest large portions of their profits to grow the business, or in some cases, to just keep up with inflation. If there are no profits, there is no money to invest.
In addition, the distribution of the tax does not take into consideration that businesses are vastly different from one to the next. Some are more capital intensive, some employ more than others and others operate in areas with a significantly higher cost of living (New York versus Mississippi for example).
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