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New Rule: Let's Ban the Term 'Small Businesses' From All Future Debates

New Rule: Let's Ban the Term 'Small Businesses' From All Future Debates | Coffee Party!!! | Scoop.it

by JORDAN WEISSMANN, the Atlantic


There might not be any phrase more useful for muddying up a discussion about taxes than "small business."


Take last night's debate, where President Obama and Mitt Romney rehashed a familiar two-point argument:


(1) Obama: I would like to raise taxes on income over $250,000.


(2) Romney: But you'll hurt small businesses.


When Romney and Obama go on about "small" businesses, they're not strictly talking about size. They're talking about the way that companies are legally organized -- partnerships, s-corporations, and sole proprietorships that pass through their profits to their owners, who then treat it as ordinary income on their taxes. The concern for small businesses sounds persuasive. After all, who doesn't want to protect small, vulnerable, but growing companies run by honest Americans whose income would be hurt by higher taxes?


In fact, the term small businesses is basically meaningless.


First, many small businesses aren't really what you would probably think of as "businesses." They're just ... people working alone. Freelancers, consultants, skilled construction workers, and such often organize themselves as a business for legal and tax purposes. About 78 percent of all companies in America don't actually employ anybody other than their owner. As Jay-Z so famously put it, "I'm not a businessman / I'm a business, man!"*


For sake of argument though, let's ignore all those solo operators. Instead we'll focus only on the roughly 4.1 million companies that are both affected by individual income tax rates and have actual employees on their payrolls. We can call these "actual small businesses." [MORE]


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The Debate We Didn't Hear

The Debate We Didn't Hear | Coffee Party!!! | Scoop.it

by Jo Comerford, NPP's Weekly Roundup


This week was a big one. The first presidential debate came and went, and it was full of sound bites but missing the information voters need, as Mattea Kramer explained this week on TomDispatch.


In case you missed it, here's what else happened this week.


In this YouTube video, Chris Hellman explains what those automatic spending cuts would do to federal programs from education to food safety.


Where Those Federal Dollars Go
Would you or your neighbor notice a difference if big spending cuts took effect? We've got the details on how federal dollars affect your community.


You Ask, We Answer
How was the stimulus spent, and did it work? We explained it on the blog.


32 Days
In 32 days the president, the entire House of Representatives, and one-third of the Senate are up for grabs. Do you have the facts you need to cast an informed vote? Visit Voter Guide 2012 to see fact sheets and a side-by-side comparison of President Obama and Governor Romney on 12 key issues. And pick up a copy of A People's Guide to the Federal Budget. Choice magazine "highly recommended" it, calling the book "an excellent foundation" for understanding our nation's finances.


Stay tuned. NPP cracks open the federal budget for the rest of us.

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