Let upper-end Bush-era tax cuts expire

By Frank Knapp, Jr.
The Hill’s Congress Blog

September 21, 2011


President Obama’s call for cutting the deficit by $3 trillion includes the roll back of the Bush-era tax cuts on the top income tax brackets, a move expected to bring in about $800 billion over the next 10 years.

As expected the defenders of the wealthiest two percent of taxpayers, such as Speaker John Boehner, trotted out their bogus criticism of the proposal saying that it hurts small businesses, the “job creators”.

First, the data clearly shows that only 2 to 3 percent of tax filers reporting some income from a small business have family incomes of over $250,000 a year, the filers who would be impacted by the proposal. This minority of “small business owners” consists largely of very successful attorney’s, physicians, hedge fund managers, K Street lobbyists, high-powered consultants, Wall Street bond traders and the country’s wealthiest millionaires.  An incremental tax increase on these Americans will not affect the number of employees they hire one bit.

But while the critics of President Obama’s plan are disingenuous as to who it would impact, at least they continue to remind the public that most net new jobs are in fact created by small business.  Now if they would only support proposals that directly target small business for assistance.

When the President announced his jobs plan earlier this month, my reaction was, “Finally, a jobs plan that actually helps the largest jobs-producing sector to create jobs—small business.”

It was not just another trickle-down proposal for job growth.  The American Jobs Act would infuse money into Main Street by putting more dollars in the hands of consumers, cut payroll costs for small businesses to help their bottom line and reward small business with tax credits for hiring the unemployed especially veterans.

Tax credits for small businesses creating jobs is a particularly sound government policy.  It’s not a tax cut for big business and cross your fingers that they will hire.  It’s a tax credit that a small business gets only if it hires a new employee under specific conditions.  No hiring, no expenditure of government funds.  This is a common sense job creation proposal.

Unfortunately, Mr. Boehner did not endorse any of these proposals to help small business in his subsequent speech at the Economic Club of Washington. In fact, Mr. Boehner disparaged the proposed job tax credits for small businesses saying that this would make reforming the “tax code more complex”.

It is time for Congress to put actions behind their loving praise for small business and quit holding us up as a shield to protect the wealthiest individuals and corporations.

Hands-on small business owners are not Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs who received $800,000 last year due to the upper-end Bush-era tax cuts; or Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil who netted $1.454 million in 2010 because of the tax cuts; or Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation who saved $1.2 million last year from the controversial tax cuts.

The CEO’s of the biggest multinational corporations are just some of this country’s wealthiest people who the President is asking to sacrifice just a little more so that the small business owners of the local retail shops, plumbing companies and restaurants can have more customers and create more jobs.

Mr. Knapp is the President and CEO of The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

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