The Small-Businessman Sham
There they go again.
Republicans are, once again, trotting out the Democrats-are-going-to-devastate-small-business lie. Of course, they do this all the time. And it’s the same every time any issue comes up affecting wealthy corporations: the GOP wants to protect their patrons, but knows that it doesn’t look so good if they come out and say so too much. So they do what they always do, what they have done for a long time now: they trot out the “small business” owner, claim that their tax cut or whatever is going to help people like this, or that the Democratic initiative is going to hurt them somehow. And the claim is always false; when it comes down to it, the Republicans are just as liable to kill something that’s good for small business if it suits them, or to put down small businessmen if the situation calls for it.
Just two months ago, Democrats proposed $30 billion in tax cuts aimed directly at small businesses; Republicans tried to kill it. Naturally. Because they’re the champions of small businesses, right?
Or take the case of the little kid who spoke up for the S-CHIP health program, who the right-wingers savaged in an attempt to claim the program did not actually help people in financial trouble. They blasted the Frost family for not deserving help because, among other things, the family ran… you guessed it, a small business. If they’re swimming in that kind of small-business dough, they reasoned, you shouldn’t ask the government to help you out.
So when it comes down to it, they will just as easily slam the small businessman. But when it comes to passing something for Big Business, for the rich–repeal the estate tax, extend Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy, or stop another minimum wage hike–they always trot out the small businessman and say “we’re doing it for them!”
Bullshit must be called.
The GOP has been hitting the small-business meme again about Obama’s plan to uphold the Republican-authored law not to extend tax cuts for people making over $250,000, thus increasing the tax on income made over that amount by a few percent. (Sounds devastating when put in honest terms, doesn’t it!) “That’s 750,000 to 800,000 small businesses!” Orrin Hatch exclaimed; “That create most of the jobs in our society!” Boehner’s office released a statement which said, “The bottom line is that Washington Democrats’ tax hike would hit 750,000 small businesses across the U.S., which constitute 25 percent of our small business workforce.” But a large number of those “small businesses” they refer to are either “pass-through” businesses–large, billion-dollar firms who hide their incomes with a tax dodge where they claim it via individuals working for them–or are “small” businesses with huge receipts, nearly 20,000 of them with receipts over $50 million.
Only 1.9% of actual small business filers report income over the $250,000 level. Most of them will pay only a few hundred bucks more in taxes, at most. The ones who will get taxed more than that are more than wealthy enough to afford it.
No, “small businesses” will be just fine. The GOP is not trying to protect them. The GOP tried to kill $30 billion in tax cuts for them. The GOP is interested in only one thing: protecting people who are a lot wealthier than mere small businessmen.
I have noted this “small-business” sham many times in the past–because Republicans use it so often. Just a few months ago, I wrote:
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.
Just as I flagged it at the end of last year:
You know there’s a scam afoot when some big entity wants something enacted which will profit them handsomely, but holds up a sympathetic face as the “real” benefactor of the scheme. Wealthy people and corporations do this all the time through politicians–whenever there’s a tax cut for huge corporations, for example, the “small business owner” is always trotted out as the real reason the tax cut is being proposed. But in reality, small business owners end up getting reamed because the real benefactors, big business, become more engorged and able to crush the small business owners.
Just as I did three years ago, when I wrote about the minimum wage:
Their long-standing objection is that a minimum wage hike would hurt small businesses. Now, the term “small businesses,” when used by Republican politicians, should make a lot of flags go up. It is used by right-wingers as an excuse to defend big businesses, the huge corporations and industries that really stand to have their interests damaged. It’s a natural political maneuver; after all, one cannot garner much sympathy by saying that something will make a dent in the huge profits of giant corporations. No one would give a damn. So the small businessman is trotted out to say how he’ll be devastated by whatever new proposal is being opposed. Or he’ll be shoved in front of the cameras to talk about how this new tax cut for the rich will let him keep his business afloat, which would otherwise fall into bankruptcy.
And five years ago, when I wrote about the attempt to kill the Estate tax:
House Republicans passed a repeal of the Estate Tax, with Senate Republicans primed to sweep the bill through just as unanimously among their brethren. Of course, they posit the bill as being aimed at small businesses and small farmers, but we all know that this is utter bullshit: only a few hundred such entities are effected by the tax each year. […] And despite their claimed concern for small businesses and farmers, they did not take the plainly obvious route of exempting just small businesses and farmers. The reason, of course, is obvious: this is not a tax cut for small businesses and farmers. It’s a tax bill for (surprise!) the super-wealthy. The Walton family, for instance, were big Bush and GOP contributors, and they have been pushing relentlessly for the tax cut. By themselves, they will save tens of billions of dollars on top of the many tens of billions they will already get. This is the “small business” that the bill is truly aimed at.
It is commonly pointed out that Democrats get money from the wealthy as well, and vote to protect the interests of big corporations as well. This is true–but only to an extent. Democrats will vote for specific wealthy interests, some of the time–but when it comes to protecting the middle class, the poor, the little guy, the small business, why is it that it’s the Democrats doing this almost all of the time, with the GOP rallied to oppose them, again almost all of the time? And when it comes to cutting taxes for the rich and cutting breaks for big business already making obscene profits, why is it only ever opposed by Democrats?