Home > Right-Wing Hypocrisy > Sticking Up for Small Businesses, Not Sticking Them Up

Sticking Up for Small Businesses, Not Sticking Them Up

July 24th, 2010

Republicans always say they’re the champions of the small businessman. You know, the regular Joe who decides, in the best and most noble tradition of entrepreneurship, to bet all he has and start a business. Pure American capitalism at work, admirable for its courage and for the fact that it employs people and helps local and national economies.

The problem is, that whole attitude is a sham.

Not the part about small businesses–that’s very much true. It’s the Republican attitude that’s a sham.

Take, for example, the goings-on of the past week and a half. Republicans want to extend Bush’s tax cuts–all of them, especially those for the wealthy–but the rationale they put forward is that it’s all about small businesses. From July 14:

Senate Republicans on Wednesday pressed Democrats to extend all the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush, arguing the party’s plan to let the breaks expire will hurt small businesses. …

Republicans said ending tax cuts for the wealthy would dry up the funds of small-business owners and make it harder for them to expand their operations. Grassley warned there would be political consequences for allowing tax cuts aimed at the wealthy to expire.

Get that? The GOP is not behind these tax cuts because they want to give massive amounts of money to people who already have massive amounts of money. It’s small businesses which are the real focus of their work.

Now, keep in mind that these tax cuts, if extended, would cost more than a trillion dollars over the next ten years, and Republicans are not putting forth any way to pay for the cuts. And remember, it’s the small business aspect which is a key point.

Fast-forward one week:

Perhaps the last best hope of Democrats to pass legislation aimed at creating jobs before the November elections seemed to be crumbling in the Senate on Wednesday as Republicans signaled that they would block a bill to expand government lending programs and grant an array of tax breaks to small businesses. …

Democrats were harsh in their criticism of Republicans who held up the unemployment money by refusing to vote for it unless some way was found to keep the costs from being added to the deficit.

So, the Republicans are eager to spend more than $1 trillion, unpaid for up front, going straight to the deficit… but they don’t want to spend $30 billion directly on tax breaks and loans to small businesses unless it is paid for, up front, and not added directly to the deficit.

Like I said, the whole small business thing is an unabashed sham. They don’t give a flying frack about small businesses. They use small businesses as a front whenever they want to give something excessive to the rich, saying that if they don’t get what they want, small businesses will suffer. Similarly, if Democrats want to do something they don’t like, such as raising the minimum wage or strengthening regulations–even when small businesses are made exempt–Republicans trot out small business owners and try to claim they will be hammered by those nasty Democrats and their anti-regular-American-small-businessman ways.

Whenever you hear a right-winger say anything about “small businesses,” let that be a red flag, make it set off your BS detector, and look closely–you’ll almost certainly see a boon to rich people and corporations thinly disguised behind the suckered sap they have gulled up to the press conference podium to stand in as the face of small businessmen.

It is identical to the lie about Republicans being pro-military and the liberals being against the troops. The Republicans are pro-military contractor, and are military hawks (who more often dodged service themselves), while it’s the Dems who are always sticking up for the men and women serving their country. But that doesn’t stop GOP pols from standing in front of the troops or using them as human shields for political purposes.

In the end, when the GOP gets its way, the soldiery gets screwed. Same goes for small businesses, who suffer when the large corporations which the GOP really cares about are allowed to mow them down.

Fortunately, two–though only two–Republicans crossed the lines and voted against their party and with the Democrats to give that aid to small businesses. And, at least for the moment, it seems that the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year are still set to expire.

After crusading to end unemployment benefits, apologizing to BP, trying to extend tax cuts to the wealthy that failed to help the economy, and so many other things that were sops to the rich and sucker-punches to regular Americans, anyone who votes Republican this year believing that will help anyone but the rich and the powerful is, and forgive me if this means you, not thinking straight. But a lot of people do see that fact, and still vote Republican, and often do so because they have bought into the trickle-down fantasy that somehow helping these big businesses will eventually help the little guy. Or else they believe that it’s wrong to tax those who are wealthy and use that money to support those in need, because that would be parasitic–as if the wealthy are not parasitic on everyone else, or as if just that one form of parasitism is acceptable.

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  1. Troy
    July 24th, 2010 at 19:35 | #1

    as if the wealthy are not parasitic on everyone else

    This is the key point, though it would be nice if we could tax this parasitism directly and not just subject everyone in a certain tax bracket to semi-confiscatory taxation.

    If you are familiar with my economic rants you will know I’m talking about profits from land, natural resources, and natural monopolies.

    Tax these 3 and I’d like to think we wouldn’t need an income tax per se, and people wouldn’t be so screwed economically, either, since we’d have more housing at less cost (taxing land encourages wiser use of it), and housing is nearly everyone’s dominant expense.

  2. Troy
    July 24th, 2010 at 19:39 | #2

    Though I have argued in the past that anyone making more than $250,000/yr is clearly not earning wages at that level, but rents of some sort.

    If I sell 100,000 copies of my $5 app, I’ve benefited from copyright laws, but it kinda sucks to be lumped in with the Vanderbilts as it were. The loss of the higher brackets was by design I guess, to give the extreme rich cover among the much more numerous upper middle class.

  3. Luis
    July 25th, 2010 at 03:32 | #3


    I’d like to jump into these economic discussions more, but frankly you and Tim intimidate me–a lot of the stuff you get into is just beyond me. Me, I’m more suited to simple principles and generally stirring up the hornet’s nest. 😀

    As for being classed with the Vanderbilts… well, considering that the higher tax rates only apply to earnings after $250,000, it’s not exactly quite so bad, and as you point out, the more one makes, the more one owes of that to the system that made it possible. not just copyright law, but also–in your case, for example–the electronic infrastructure, regulation and maintenance of the national and world economies, technological research, and I’m sure a lot of other stuff I’m not thinking of, but generally the fact that a lot has to be invested in the country by the government to create the system in which your business can function. How about the fact that if there weren’t a progressive tax system, not as many people would be able to afford the apps or the devices on which they work?

    It takes a village, to steal a phrase, and there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. It’s just that nobody likes to see their money leave their hands. To steal another phrase, it’s the worst system, except for every other system.

    In the end, my take is this: if taxes on income beyond $250,000 is a big problem, then let’s exchange problems. ‘Cause that’s one I wouldn’t mind so much having.

  4. Troy
    July 25th, 2010 at 06:03 | #4

    (heh, resubmitting to avoid the s-word that the spam trap eats)

    Don’t get me wrong — high taxes / high services (eg. Denmark, Germany, maybe Canada) works a lot better than the system we have now.

    Our main problem, or block, is the conservative bloc that has been conditioned to be deathly afraid of 社会主義. This is about 30% of the population, and they have another 20% of the population (religious nuts) that willingly coalitions with them since 社会主義 is also part of Satan’s plan to de-Christianize the west.

    We have a fundamentally dishonest and/or reality-challenged discourse going.


    where 40% or more of the population either have a tenuous grip on reality or have the typical conservative “got-mine-screw-you” attitude towards public policy.

    Over the past 40 years this has resulted in a layer-cake of policy that is often working at cross-purposes, with one party trying to build 社会主義 and the other side attempting to root it out.

    It is a mess.

  5. Geoff K
    July 26th, 2010 at 15:22 | #5

    It’s funny–with my tenuous grip on reality, I see the same dichotomy as you do, only for me it’s one group of productive people working to build businesses and services and another group of lazy people trying to figure out ways to take away their money and mooch a living off of them. I guess you must identify with the moochers but I’d rather be one of the productive folks.

    The whole basis for Luis’ hypocrisy charge is that he sees no difference between cutting taxes and spending more. So a million dollar increase in spending = a million dollar tax cut. But they’re not equivalent at all. Republicans think that we’re already spending too much and, for excellent reasons, don’t want to raise spending any more. But they also believe that taxes are too high right now and that this is depressing the economy. So they’d like to see taxes reduced, not raised.

    Raising taxes almost always brings in less revenue than predicted. And cutting taxes often results in relatively neutral revenue results, since fewer tax avoidance measures are taken.

    I’ll tell you what–let the Democrats in Congress propose reduced spending *and* a tax cut and I’m sure that the Republicans will agree to both. But the Democrats and Obama are determined to tax and spend their way out of the recession. The Republicans are right to try to stop them.

  6. Geoff K
    July 26th, 2010 at 15:26 | #6

    By the way–probably the most damaging tax in America for farms and small business is the Death tax a.k.a. Estate Tax. people hear that it kicks in at a high level and they assume that only sons of millionaires are being penalized. When it’s often the family farm or small business that ends up being broken up by the government. It’s truly a cruelty and the Democrats are totally wrong to support it. Of course, the Republicans oppose it.

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