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July 16, 2010

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But I thought businesses passed on all taxes to their customers, so what's the problem?

I suppose all of this is perfectly factual, however, the number of small businesses that WOULD be effected is 650,000. That is not an insignificant number. We diddn;t get an actual number for the estate tax in the article, just the percentage.

It is true yhat if you count all sole proprietorships you get millions of home based businesses that, in general, don't make money and provide tax benefits to the owners in the form of EITC's. Most of them are actually designed to get the tax benefits.

These businesses also don't typically hire people, occupy commercial real estate, spend significant business to business funds, or participate in economic growth in general.

So the tax cuts don't impact them and increasing the top marginal rate doesn't impact them.

So, we will be get $678B out of 650,000 small businesses? Seems like that might actually have a negative impact.

I suppose all of this is perfectly factual, however, the number of small businesses that WOULD be effected is 650,000. That is not an insignificant number

Actually, not if you look at the total number of small businesses. Which is the proper metric.

We diddn;t get an actual number for the estate tax in the article, just the percentage.

Not sure what you're getting at here. There were actual numbers.

So, we will be get $678B out of 650,000 small businesses? Seems like that might actually have a negative impact.

Huh?

No, we will get $678B out of all the people that have to pay the slightly higher marginal rate - and included in that group are the 650K small businesses.

Adding, from Drum's piece:

"The Office of Management and Budget estimates that the 10-year cost of these upper-income tax cuts is $678 billion, the vast majority of which hits wealthy individuals, not small businesses no matter how you define them. That's a fair chunk of change for anyone concerned about the deficit."

650,000. That is not an insignificant number

Adding, again, that this is not even the number. As the Drum piece and the report show, roughly half of that number are not actual small businesses, but passive investors. So it's closer to 350,000.

Actually Eric asserting that the proper metric is everything that is defined is as a small business is incorrect.

The proper metric is the small businesses that create jobs and pay income tax. The millions of small businesses that are designed to allow people to write off their houses and cars so they can get an EITC don't have an impact in either outcome.

Actually Eric asserting that the proper metric is everything that is defined is as a small business is incorrect.

The proper metric is the small businesses that create jobs and pay income tax. The millions of small businesses that are designed to allow people to write off their houses and cars so they can get an EITC don't have an impact in either outcome.

So, Marty, the actual number is much smaller than 650K, as per your point.

That is supposed to help your argument that there is still a significant number of small businesses affected? How?

"Adding, again, that this is not even the number. As the Drum piece and the report show, roughly half of that number are not actual small businesses, but passive investors. So it's closer to 350,000."

Ok, I'll work with 350k. Do we want to make it harder for that 350k number to grow? Isn't the mantra that small business is the key to growing the economy? Isn't the vast majority of new private sector employment generated by small business? Wouldn't it be great if that number were 650k?


That said, increases in the top marginal tax rate of 3-4 percent aren't horrible, it's just not accurate to assert that it will have no impact, or that someone is lying when they say it will. 350k businesses may find it harder to grow or hire that next person.

The definition of "small business" used in the report linked is essentially meaningless (as the report itself points out) so I'm not sure this discussion is useful at all.

For example, according to the report I'm a small business owner because I received some income from a partnership, despite the fact that I have never run or owned a business of any size, never hired employees, never filed a business tax return, etc. etc. etc. Yet I pay the top marginal rate so I am one of the affected 350,000 "small business owners"

And note that it's not 650,000 "small businesses", but 650,000 filers who paid the top two marginal rate who reported "small business income," which is defined ridiculously broadly.

So Drum effed up and made the number seem bigger than it actually is. He should read what he links to.

I guess I have a question here.

If I understand this correctly, we're not talking about taxes levied on businesses. We're talking about personal income taxes, which are taxes levied on an individual's income. Specifically, earned income, exclusive of capital gains.

So the scenario is that if you are small business owner and you're taking more than a quarter million dollars out of the business in *salary income*, the marginal rate on that income above a quarter million will go up by a low single-digit percentage.

In Eric's example, if you take a half million dollars in salary income out of your business, you may be liable for about $5K more in income tax.

Is my understanding correct?

I personally am not currently self-employed, but my wife is, I have been at other times in my career, and I know lots of people who either are or have been.

From what I know of self-employed small business people, if the conditions exist for them to grow their business -- primarily, if there is a growing and reliable demand for what they do -- they are going to make the investment and grow the business.

The marginal differences in the tax liability on *earned income* that we are talking about here are, frankly, just not that large. Nobody I know would choose to pass on a real business opportunity because of a 3 or 4 point bump in their top marginal rate.

They'd b*tch about it, sure, but if the opportunity to grow is there, they will take it.

That said, increases in the top marginal tax rate of 3-4 percent aren't horrible, it's just not accurate to assert that it will have no impact, or that someone is lying when they say it will. 350k businesses may find it harder to grow or hire that next person.

IANATL, but I think it's important to remember that we're talking about personal income taxes. These are taken after the small business has invested in growth, paid its employees, etc. This is only on the money that the owner has decided to take out of the business as profits.
Now, that might mean that the owner takes out a little bit more to pay for the taxes and keep their income stream at the same level, depriving the business of that capital. Or, they might choose to forego that last 5k USD of their usual 500k USD income and leave the business to operate as it was before.
But what this does, effectively, is make money that's left in the business to grow it slightly more advantaged than taking it out (where it would have a slightly higher tax than before).
And, along the lines of what russell said- if investing the money grows the business, then unless the investor needs the larger income stream many will choose to reinvest regardless of small variations in the tax rate. Or, contrawise, if opportunities aren't there (or if the owner isn't interested in growing), then it would take some huge incentivizing to make them put money into the business rather than take it home.

Second, I dont think it's useful to have a conversation about taxes like this in a non-quantitative manner. ie all taxation is drag on the activity that's taxed. But the magnitude of that drag matters much more than merely observing that it exists, especially considered that we must collect taxes, ergo must put a drag on the system someplace. So it's important to weight the various impacts against each other, not just say "this is a tax and therefore it has an impact".

"small business income," which is defined ridiculously broadly.

You mean "assets less than $5 million"? What would be a better definition?

For small businesses the degree of uncertainty in anticipated earnings is much larger than with large businesses, too. So where a large business might (not necessarily accurately) have an idea down to a percentage point or two what the return on a given investment will be, the small business owner is more likely to be doing back-of-an-envelope calculations that amount to "make a bunch of money, or go broke".

In those cases the anticipated gain or loss of a few thousand dollars at some point is hardly going to stand in the way of a promising opportunity, as russell suggests. Will it have that effect in aggregate even if not in specific cases? I'm not sure that's true either, for the same "boom or bust" reasoning; and of course under normal conditions the increased government revenue & decreased deficit ought to lead to lower interest rates and therefore more return on investment, again in aggregate.

These aren't normal conditions, but I support the return of the old rates for straightforward distributional reasons: wealthy people have too much money that they are sitting on, it's one reason why the economy is not responding well to stimulus. The caricature version of that is: why invest in a company planning to sell a mass-market consumer product when unemployment is at 10%, when you can invest in a company planning to sell an ultra-luxury product to the wealthy, who after all are the ones with the money? Again, in aggregate that decision is exactly the one that is being made all across the country (and has been for some years, in fact).

So Drum effed up and made the number seem bigger than it actually is. He should read what he links to.

But the definition is overly broad, that only highlights the point that very few actual small businesses will be affected!

Further, I believe the definition is derived from the tax code itself.

Not this zombie vampire ghoul of an argument again :(

"Personal income tax rates" apply to personal income. That's the salary the "small business owner" receives from his business. Why the hell should the $500K salary he gets from his "small business" be taxed differently from the $500K salary the next guy gets from some "big" business?

I am NOT asking about the LEVEL of taxation on either guy. I am challenging Marty to explain why there should be a DIFFERENCE.

--TP

You mean "assets less than $5 million"? What would be a better definition?

The 650,000 number is the number of income tax filers in the top 2 marginal rates that reported "small business income," which Drum then conflates into 650,000 "small businesses," which is not correct.

The $5 million number is used for estate, not income, taxes.

That said, increases in the top marginal tax rate of 3-4 percent aren't horrible, it's just not accurate to assert that it will have no impact, or that someone is lying when they say it will.

No one said it will have "no impact" - just a nominal to negligible one.

And no one accused anyone of lying. But there is misinformation afoot.

But the definition is overly broad, that only highlights the point that very few actual small businesses will be affected!

True dat.

Further, I believe the definition is derived from the tax code itself.

Per the Appendix to the CBPP report, "the Internal Revenue Code contains at least 24 different definitions of small business," none of which are cited in the report (or at least not cited in the footnotes). They claim to be using the Treasury Department's definition of small business income, which they point out includes fees CEOs receive for sitting on corporate boards.

"I am NOT asking about the LEVEL of taxation on either guy. I am challenging Marty to explain why there should be a DIFFERENCE."

Well, first a large portion of income from small businesses is taxed as personal income, depending on how the business is set up, so the general assumption is often wrong.

Second, I am not sure where I said it should be taxed differently.

Third, for Eric, sorry I misinterpreted "eviscerating that GOP misinformation", my bad. I should have said there is no misinformation here, there is only an opinion on the impact, and importance of that impact, on at least 350k small businesses.

what CW and russell said.

this personal tax / small business conflation always seems disingenuous to me.

if i was afraid of paying the increased personal income tax on the income, i'd spend the money in the business which seems to be exactly what this country needs right now.

Third, for Eric, sorry I misinterpreted "eviscerating that GOP misinformation", my bad. I should have said there is no misinformation here, there is only an opinion on the impact, and importance of that impact, on at least 350k small businesses.

Right.

Because the GOP usually goes on about how it will only affect 1% of small businesses. They make that abundantly clear.

And even then, not much of an "impact" at all, as you can see, since the increased tax burden is negligible. For most, a few thousand dollars on the personal income side. You missed that part.

Well, first a large portion of income from small businesses is taxed as personal income, depending on how the business is set up, so the general assumption is often wrong.

I really don't understand what Marty is saying here. Does anybody else?

--TP

"Because the GOP usually goes on about how it will only affect 1% of small businesses. "

And the Democrats always note that the 3M "small businesses that may not be affected currently pay no taxes".

And while it is nice to say that the average would be 5k it is not substantiated in the numbers anywhere about the 350k businesses you boil it down to.

In the end it is another example of, gosh here is a place where we can get 638B dollars and no one (that matters) will miss it.

Tony,
perhaps he's referring to S-corps.

with an S-corp, the company's income shows up on the shareholders 1040s (and are then taxed), even if it's not explicitly paid out as income or dividends.

In the end it is another example of, gosh here is a place where we can get 638B dollars and no one (that matters) will miss it.

completely true. they won't miss it. that's one great thing about making $500K: it makes a man able to spare a few $K to help pay down the deficit he keeps bitching about.

"Because the GOP usually goes on about how it will only affect 1% of small businesses. "

And the Democrats always note that the 3M "small businesses that may not be affected currently pay no taxes".

Can we debate the truth value of this one thing? If we stipulate that sometimes liberals have also said things that might be untrue, and that we can examine those cases some other time?
Otherwise, we've no chance to evaluate an actual proposition. Tu quoque ought to be against the &%^$&%$ posting rules.

*bangs head against desk*

It's not 650,000 or 350,000 "small businesses," its 650/350K "filers" who reported some amount (no matter how little) of "small business income." Small business income is defined as "any tax unit that receives any income (or loss) from a sole proprietorship, farm proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, or rental income."

So, for all we know it could be a single small business with 650,000 owners.

Again, I blame Drum for confusing everybody.

And the Democrats always note that the 3M "small businesses that may not be affected currently pay no taxes".

Huh?

Not sure what you're getting at here. The increase in the top marginal rate would only apply to people that claimed personal income with income amounts above that marginal rate threshold.

So if you made $250,000, while you pay a lot of taxes, you don't have to pay any taxes at the higher rate. But, to repeat, you still pay taxes.

If you make $500,000, you have to pay an additional $5,000.

In the end it is another example of, gosh here is a place where we can get 638B dollars and no one (that matters) will miss it.

Yes, actually. If you're making $500,000 a year, it is hard to argue that you'll be seriously deprived by paying an extra $5,000.

Which is the rate you were paying up until 2001, when Bush cut your taxes. So you have to go back to the miserable days of the 1990s. Yes.

And while it is nice to say that the average would be 5k it is not substantiated in the numbers anywhere about the 350k businesses you boil it down to.

If you're paying more than $5K, that's only because your income is higher than $500K, personal income.

At which point, you could afford the slightly higher than $5K amounts with all the money above $500K you're pulling in.

So, really, percentage wise, this is a minimal impact.

Again, these are the rates that prevailed during the 1990s.

So, for all we know it could be a single small business with 650,000 owners.

Again, I blame Drum for confusing everybody.

Ugh, I get you, at this point I think we're just using the number for the sake of the argument.

Even if the number is as high as 350K, which seems unlikely for the reasons you provide, it still isn't a big deal.

In the end it is another example of, gosh here is a place where we can get 638B dollars and no one (that matters) will miss it.

It's more like "is this a good place to raise this revenue without having a significant impact on individual personal welfare or creating economic inefficiencies".
Because we do need to have taxes. If you don't disagree with that, then I think you should stop saying these sorts of things & say more specifically- we ought to raise X revenue via such-and-such means, and/or cut Z and Q programs. "taxes are bad" isn't a policy prescription.

CW,

My point was not in fact a tu quoque. I don't define the Democrats views as misinformation. I define the discussion as pointing to a subset of a much more complex set of facts and using the talking points to make your case. Basically, it is how politics work.

For ugh,

What I can get out of the reading and Eric's point is that the 650k is reduced to the 350k by taking out the "filers" that we shouldn't count because they only invest in the small business, they don't run it.

I am not sure why we don't like people who invest in small businesses, consistently defined by both sides as the heart of our economy, but I conceded the point out of hand. 350k is enough for me to believe it impacts people who "matter".

And if we get 638B from the top 3 or 4%(5M people?) paying $5000 more then how much would we get from the other 50M paying say $150 more a year? By the "they won't miss it" test I struggle to believe that most people that actually pay income tax would miss that $12 a month.

So what criteria should we use?

Why is it that our businesspeople like to portray themselves as the toughest, cleverest, most innovative, crucial, and irreplaceable duckies in the jungle, but the instant any possibility of them having to pay more in taxes (if they're wildly successful) rears it's head, they turn into Chicken Littles, screaming about how this will doom, Doom, DOOM American businesses FOREVER!

I should have said there is no misinformation here, there is only an opinion on the impact

This is precisely right.

And in my personal opinion, FWIW, the number of people who are going to either be unable to, or will refuse to, expand businesses they operate because their top marginal rate is going to go up by 3 or 4 points is vanishingly small. Virtually noise.

If you grow your business, you make more money. Otherwise you don't bother expanding. *Assuming that the opportunity is actually there to grow the business*, refusing to do so because your tax liability is higher is crazy. At least, when the increases are the kinds of numbers we're talking about here.

There are lots of other reasons that might prompt people to not expand their business. They might not want to put in the extra hours, or take on the added responsibility. They might not want to deal with any of 1,000 legal or regulatory hassles that might come with expanding. They might be at a point in life when they'd rather just take it easy, go fishing, and hang out with their grandkids.

A 3 to 5 percent increase in their tax liability on personal, earned income over $250K just doesn't seem like it would be very high on that list.

To be honest, this argument seems like another one of those hypothetical textbook Econ 101 things.

Hypothethetically, the increase in taxes will induce some actor on the margin to decide that it's just not worth growing his or her business if their top rate goes up.

In real life, the number of people who will actually make that decision for that reason is going to be dwarfed by all of the people who will, or will not, grow their business for any of 1,000 other reasons.

It's noise.

Deja vu all over again...and again....

$250,000 is so last decade. Maybe 1993?

The top tax bracket threshold for 2010 is $373,651, not $250,000.

What I can get out of the reading and Eric's point is that the 650k is reduced to the 350k by taking out the "filers" that we shouldn't count because they only invest in the small business, they don't run it.

I am not sure why we don't like people who invest in small businesses, consistently defined by both sides as the heart of our economy, but I conceded the point out of hand. 350k is enough for me to believe it impacts people who "matter".

The CBPP report does state that "many of the roughly 650,000 filers with small business income who face one of the top two tax rates are merely passive investors who have nothing to do with running the business." But this tells us nothing about whether their purported "small business income" comes from a business that is "small."

Just read the first Appendix, which states that "the Treasury definition of "small business" included . . . 86,000 companies with gross receipts over $10 million."

In sum, we have no idea how many of the 650,000 or 350,000 filers earned income from a business that we would all agree on as "small."

In any event, russell makes the essential point:

Hypothethetically, the increase in taxes will induce some actor on the margin to decide that it's just not worth growing his or her business if their top rate goes up.

In real life, the number of people who will actually make that decision for that reason is going to be dwarfed by all of the people who will, or will not, grow their business for any of 1,000 other reasons.

It's noise.

I am not sure why we don't like people who invest in small businesses, consistently defined by both sides as the heart of our economy, but I conceded the point out of hand. 350k is enough for me to believe it impacts people who "matter".

Again, huh?

Of course we "like" those people. We "love" them in fact! That, of course, has little to do with tax rates.

And why "matter" in quotes? Who said they didn't matter? It's just that, in the grand scheme of things, that's not a lot of people, and the impact itself is negligible.

And if we get 638B from the top 3 or 4%(5M people?) paying $5000 more then how much would we get from the other 50M paying say $150 more a year? By the "they won't miss it" test I struggle to believe that most people that actually pay income tax would miss that $12 a month.

So what criteria should we use?

We should use the criteria of how to best establish a balanced economy, with our consumer class able to consume.

We can use Adam Smith as a guide, noted proponent of progressive taxation. Teddy Roosevelt too FWIW.

In this country, disparities of wealth are at an all time high. The wealthiest among us are vastly wealthier than the vast majority of others. Wealth is being accumulated by a few, and that is distorting our economy and causing negative effects.

Compared to other western industrial nations, our overall taxes are low and our top rates moreso.

Returning our top rate to the rate that prevailed during the 1990s on incomes above $373,651* seems like a reasonable step, since we know that this rate was not high enough to hinder growth.

(*thanks and apologies JanieM)

The increase in taxes very straightforwardly increases the incentive to reinvest in the business. Reinvested income compounds without paying taxes; taxed income that is invested elsewhere has to pay much higher returns to keep up. Similarly higher taxes encourage executives to take options linked to long-term company performance rather than more cash now. This is true even if capital gains rates are equal to income tax rates.

I have not heard a compelling argument against this idea, which seems absolutely obvious, and it seems to me to explain a great deal about the effects of taxation on investment. High taxes mean reinvestment, and reinvestment is economically efficient because business owners are in a better position than the stock market, VC funds, etc to ensure that investment money is spent effectively.

The top tax bracket threshold for 2010 is $373,651, not $250,000.

Hey Janie, that is correct, however Obama's recommendation is to increase both the highest and second highest brackets to 39.6% and 36%, respectively, and also to lower the threshold for the *second* highest bracket to $250K, see here.

So, folks making between $250K and not-quite-$400K would see 3% increase in their tax liability on income above $250K.

Of course we "like" those people. We "love" them in fact!

My guess is that some few folks here *are* those people, and I'm not just talking about the conservative voices.

My guess is that some few folks here *are* those people, and I'm not just talking about the conservative voices.

I am one such person. And note: I still feel liked, loved even, by myself and others ;)

Eric, you're good enough, and smart enough, and by golly people like you!

The increase in taxes very straightforwardly increases the incentive to reinvest in the business. Reinvested income compounds without paying taxes;

Do you mean that if a C-corp reinvests its profits rather than distributing them to shareholders there won't be the second level tax on the dividend income? Cause the profits at the corporate level are still subject to tax.

Let's also not forget that we're talking about taxable income. People whose taxable income is over $373k are making a shatload more than that. Let's also not forget about the lower rates on other income like capital gains, which higher earners get far more of than lower earners.

It's not that I don't like high-earning small business owners or rich people or whoever has to pay higher rates. It's just that they have the money to pay the higher rates. It's not a matter of picking out certain people based on what someone thinks of them. We're talking about levels of income independently of who earns what. Frankly, I'd be tickled pink to be subject to the highest tax bracket. That would be great fun.

So, Marty, do you agree that going back to the previous tax rates would deal a serious blow to small businesses in this country or not? Do you think it's possible to discuss facts and number in good faith? Do you think it's impossible for people to make crappy arguments that ignore facts and numbers, or that it's not possible to examine those arguments and discuss them? Are we back to everything being a "narrative" as on a previous thread?

My comment may be repetitive or obsolete. Somehow I walked away from my computer without filling out the captcha, only to find it waiting several minutes later. There are risks on the blogs.

Nah, still relevant. Shoot, that one could probably be republished next century and still be relevant (with appropriate name changes)

cleek: perhaps he's referring to S-corps.

Perhaps, but how does that matter? Is there some substantive difference between S-corps and sole props or partnerships for purposes of my original question?

Marty: Second, I am not sure where I said it should be taxed differently.

If not differently, then the same. And I agree: a $500K personal income ought to be taxed the same, whether from a "small" business or a "big" one. So why all this brouhaha about "small business"? Incidentally,

I am not sure why we don't like people who invest in small businesses, consistently defined by both sides as the heart of our economy

is a bir silly. If taxing people means "we don't like" them, then we have a much bigger issue on our hands than this "small business" question. In any case, it's not "people who invest in a small business" that we're talking about. It's people who earn high personal incomes. If you make a $500K salary from a "big" business, you can invest in a small business with after-tax dollars -- just like the guy who reports a $500K net profit on Schedule C.

But the thing I most want to challenge is the "heart of our economy" shibboleth. I don't care which side mouths this piety more. It just can't be true. When I look at my personal contribution to GDP on the expenditure side, I find a very small fraction of my money going to "small" businesses. Maybe I'm totally atypical, but I seriously doubt it. If most of us spend most of our money buying goods and services from big businesses, then those are "the heart of our economy".

"Small businesses create all the jobs", I hear you cry? Maybe. But how many jobs do small businesses terminate? How many people do small businesses lay off? In my immediate neighborhood, I've seen small businesses come AND go. The ones that have been around as long as I have lived here have been pretty damn steady in total employment.

--TP

Is there some substantive difference between S-corps and sole props or partnerships for purposes of my original question?

actually, i guess there isn't. all those are pass-throughs; business income turns into owners' personal income for tax purposes.

LLCs too, IIRC.

Is there some substantive difference between S-corps and sole props or partnerships for purposes of my original question?

Probably not for that purpose. You could always set up your small business as a C-Corp, in which case income from the business would be taxed to the corp and not as "personal" taxes.

"Do you think it's possible to discuss facts and number in good faith? Do you think it's impossible for people to make crappy arguments that ignore facts and numbers, or that it's not possible to examine those arguments and discuss them? Are we back to everything being a "narrative" as on a previous thread?"

Sure, when you don't start the discussion by saying someone "neatly eviscerated the other sides misinformation". That seems to start the discussion on a different level than that good faith discussion of the facts you seem to want.

Then, yes, we start with the narrative on one side and devolve to the narrative on the other, talking past each other while trying to score points, much to CW's frustration.

However, in this thread I read the material and, with ughs help, questioned the clarity of the evisceration and then asked a serious question on what we defined as the criteria for an amount of money that "wouldn't be missed".

I also pointed out that small businesses don't typically get to hide money by leaving it in the company.

I specifically said a 3 or 4% tax increase wouldn't be horrible, and I meant for everyone over say 60k, across the board.

Sure, when you don't start the discussion by saying someone "neatly eviscerated the other sides misinformation". That seems to start the discussion on a different level than that good faith discussion of the facts you seem to want.

This I don't understand.

The "family farms" meme was misinformation. Drum, with fact, not narrative, eviscerated it.

What about that wasn't factual?

Similarly, the claims about small businesses getting hammered ala GOP talking points is misinformation. Equally debunked.

Sorry if that upsets you, but it doesn't render it in bad faith - as long as the facts line up, it is factual.

Drum was responding to this:

"To those who are pushing the higher marginal rates," thundered Sen. Chuck Grassley (R–Iowa) earlier this week, "I say the burden is on you to show that you are not harming our primary job creators, small business."

Grassley's comment here seems to be a fairly clear, if indirect, statement that increases in the marginal rates would inhibit job growth.

Drum's response was an analysis of the facts of the situation, with a (to me) a fairly persuasive refutation of the idea that the actual tax increases planned would have any significant negative impact on job creation.

So, no, it's not one "narrative" vs another "narrative". It's an assertion, followed by an analysis of facts in hand, leading to a refutation of that assertion.

Also, the question of the amount of money that "wouldn't be missed" is really not relevant here. To some set of people, fifty cents will be missed, and I'm not talking about poor people.

The question is not whether small business owners will *like* paying higher taxes or not. The question is how they will respond.

Specifically, the relevant question is whether the actual tax policy changes that are under discussion will hinder employment growth through some negative impact on small businesses.

And that would be net/net. In other words, not that NO small business owners would not go through with a new hire due to tax changes, but that any such negative effect would be outweighed by the benefits of increasing revenue.

What russell said.

"I say the burden is on you to show that you are not harming our primary job creators, small business."

And Drum certainly didn't do that, except to assert that the harm wasn't worth considering in his hypothetical 5k world.


Chuck Grassley must think he's fooling somebody with this:

"To those who are pushing the higher marginal rates," thundered Sen. Chuck Grassley (R–Iowa) earlier this week, "I say the burden is on you to show that you are not harming our primary job creators, small business."
but I don't know who that might be. It can't be anybody old enough to remember that THE HIGHER MARGINAL RATES ARE IN THE LAW THAT REPUBLICANS RAMMED THROUGH ON RECONCILIATION IN 2001.

So is Chuck Grassley trying to fool grade-schoolers, or what?

--TP


Ugh: if a C-corp reinvests its profits

I'm more thinking if they never get to be "profits" in the first place. You hire more people or buy more equipment or do more advertising or spend more on R&D and you don't make a profit.

Am I wrong in thinking that's possible? Tax applies to net profits, not to total revenues, right?

Isn't the tax treatment of different types of corporations sort of academic? I mean, whatever brackets those claiming income from small business are in now will be the same brackets after the old marginal rates come back into effect, regardless of the type of corporation the income has been coming from. The point is that the rate changes aren't that big a deal.

"I say the burden is on you to show that you are not harming our primary job creators, small business."

And Drum certainly didn't do that, except to assert that the harm wasn't worth considering in his hypothetical 5k world.

If you take "harm" to mean "take any money from". Im reading "harm small businesses" as something that would significantly hinder their operation, ability to generate employment and economic growth, etc.

JD - yes, net profits, though not everything you spend $$ on is immediately deductible (equipment, for example).

"I say the burden is on you to show that you are not harming our primary job creators, small business."

And I say the burden is on Charles Grassley, among many other blowhards left and right, to show that small business is our primary job creator before they go about it.

Is it permitted to ask for some actual data to support this assertion, or is "small business" in the same category as "family farm," in that one is not really allowed to ask questions about numbers and so on?

I write this as someone who has been involved in small business for most of his adult life.

Ugh, as I understand it you can BUY a milling machine or you can LEASE a milling machine. (Or a building, a car, a jet, etc. etc.) Leasing costs are expensed, i.e. paid with pretax dollars, in the currrent year.

If you are a business, big or small, that chooses to spend $1M of its own after-tax money this year to purchase a milling machine outright, you don't get to "expense" the whole thing this year. On the other hand, you still own the milling machine next year. It's contributing to your top line, next year. But that contribution is not all taxable profit, next year. Next year, you get to deduct another piece of the the $1M from your top line -- even though you do not actually have a real expense next year.

In times like these I'd be willing to allow any business, big or small, to "expense" plant and equipment it buys with its own cash, this year. Once "expensed", of course, the equipment is no longer a tax deduction in the future. If you buy a $1M milling center today, and expense it this year, then the incremental revenue it generates for you next year or in any future year is pure, taxable profit. The government loses revenue this year, but gains revenue in future years.

Naturally, Chuck Grassley would call this a "tax increase" next year.

--TP

Marty,

And the Democrats always note that the 3M "small businesses that may not be affected currently pay no taxes".

And while it is nice to say that the average would be 5k it is not substantiated in the numbers anywhere about the 350k businesses you boil it down to.

In the end it is another example of, gosh here is a place where we can get 638B dollars and no one (that matters) will miss it.

Unless I misunderstand, the tax increase will hit everyone above a certain income level, businessmen, athletes, movie stars, corporate executives, and so on. It's just wrong to pretend that the evil Democrats are out to extract $638 billion from small business.

In times like these I'd be willing to allow any business, big or small, to "expense" plant and equipment it buys with its own cash, this year.

From this discussion of the HIRE Act, signed into law last March:

Another item of interest in this federal jobs bill is to permit small business owners to write off equipment investments of up to $250,000 this year, instead of taking years to depreciate. This in a doubling of the previous amount of $125,000.

Doesn't cover "big or small", and doesn't specify "with their own cash", and it's limited to $250K, but the writeoff provision is there.

So Obama et al are giving some love to the small business community.

So Obama et al are giving some love to the small business community.

but the GOP talking points are still: Obama has raised our taxes to crippling rates and is driving small businesses out of existence.

it's hard to compete with such a beautiful fantasy

I've commented here last March about my experience with the effects of unemployment benefit reductions on small business formation. If you are trying to encourage small business formation, that seems like a more significant problem to worry about.

Coming to this thread late and reading it all at once, what jumped out at me was this:

Right off the bat, Marty wrote apparently in all seriousness: "So, we will get $678B out of 650,000 small businesses? Seems like that might actually have a negative impact."

Of course, as others immediately explained, that was just a huge misreading of the story. OK, we all read too fast sometimes.

But when you put those numbers together it's hard to avoid doing the math and seeing that that would mean one million dollars per business - or, since the $678B was a ten-year figure, then $100K per business per year, which is almost as ludicrous. That might reasonably lead someone to conclude either -
a) Whoa, THAT can't be right, maybe I should go back and read again before I try basing an argument on that; or
b) OMG, Obama has gone completely insane and wants to destroy the country... what are we doing sitting around here nit-picking about taxes?!

And yet somehow Marty settled on (c), which was more or less "this is an unwise policy that will have more of an impact on small businesses than you think it will." And, when his error was pointed out, he just sort of shrugged and moved on to other arguments, including the idea that Eric had preemptively sabotaged good-faith discussion by using loaded words like "misinformation." And everyone kept trying really hard to engage him constructively. This is one of those times (like every 10,000th iteration of ObWi vs. Brett: "taxation is theft / no it's not") when I wonder if the noble experiment in bipartisan civility here might just be encouraging everyone to waste their time.

I mean, the equivalent 10 years ago would've been if I said "Bush wants to invade Iraq because of WMD, but that's a really bad idea because you can't make people celebrate Workers' Memorial Day by force. That'd be against the spirit of Workers' Memorial Day. And anyway, that'd be really hypocritical given his laissez-faire attitude to workplace safety"... and wasn't joking. And then after someone very politely pointed out my error, I just said "Well my larger point still stands, which is that Bush is a hypocrite."

Sorry Marty, I do think you're trying to have a real conversation here and not just playing games, and I know I've seen you admit error before, but this kind of thing just blows my mind.

Er, by "10 years ago" I meant "8 years ago".

The Office of Management and Budget estimates that the 10-year cost of these upper-income tax cuts is $678 billion, the vast majority of which hits wealthy individuals, not small businesses no matter how you define them.

I read this too fast. Then I bolded some of it.

HOB,

I am actually pretty good at math, I thought I put the numbers in there that made it clear that all 638b couldn't come from small business. If you follow the math I figured about 200B tops.

And I actually picked d) neither Drum nor anyone else actually made a point about how that would impact small business. He actually tried to make the point that there wasn't enough small businesses to care.


My dispute, and thus my comments, was with the thesis statement of the post that somehow Drum had made some eviscerating point proving the GOP was spreading misinformation. I don't think he came close to that.

The family farm thing was just silly, we killed them 25 or 30 years ago.

I still feel...loved...by myself

As long as you respect yourself in the morning.

My dispute, and thus my comments, was with the thesis statement of the post that somehow Drum had made some eviscerating point proving the GOP was spreading misinformation.

Right. By showing that the expiration of Bush's tax cuts would only have a small effect on probably less than 1% of ALL small businesses, Drum didn't eviscerate the GOP's misinformation on same.

Sigh.

You know, Marty, when you're not being overly defensive, you usually concede to reasonable and rational fact based evidence. Perhaps here?

Eric,

Becaause 1% of small businesses is a significant number. The 350k you keep talking about is NOT insignificant. Keeping in mind the number of large businesses is around 20k. You keep saying 1% but you don't seem too understand that is still a large number of businesses.

First of all, 1% is not a signficant number. It is only one percent out of one hundred percent. By definition, small.

Second, the marginal rates for these small businesses go up 4% for income above a certain threshold.

That is not a big spike, nor will it seriously hamper a significant number of small businesses going forward. Even you conceded upthread that this is not a big increase yet...the GOP is still right that it will seriously hamper a huge number of small businesses.

Riiiiigggghhht.

Sorry Eric, 1% is not a number of businesses and not "by definition" insignificant. I would suspect if something impacted 1% of the worlds population then you might think it significant, even though it was 1%.

Look, we all know that there were very few small businesses in the nineties when these marginal income-tax rates were in effect. When Bush cut those rates, the number exploded. Now we're going to go back to the way it was, when a few percentage points on the upper brackets made or broke (mostly broke) so many small businesses. How can someone stay in business when his or her personal income above $373k is taxed at 39.6% instead of 35%?

This argument is so idiotic on its face to anyone who understands what's being said that the only response to it is to show those who don't understand it, but who are capable of understanding it, what is actually being said. Once they understand it, they will know it's idiotic, whether or not they're willing to admit it, even to themselves.

Beyond that, it's pointless, IMO.

Looks like the wives of farmers are going to crack their windshields on the way into town as farmers and down-trodden small businesspeople in rural America cut off their pork to spite their piggies.

From the Washington Monthly:

"THE STONE AGE.... In 21st century America, we could be investing more in infrastructure, but that's expensive. It's cheaper to simply move away from paved roads.

Paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue. State money for local roads was cut in many places amid budget shortfalls.

In Michigan, at least 38 of the 83 counties have converted some asphalt roads to gravel in recent years. Last year, South Dakota turned at least 100 miles of asphalt road surfaces to gravel. Counties in Alabama and Pennsylvania have begun downgrading asphalt roads to cheaper chip-and-seal road, also known as "poor man's pavement." Some counties in Ohio are simply letting roads erode to gravel.

The moves have angered some residents because of the choking dust and windshield-cracking stones that gravel roads can kick up, not to mention the jarring "washboard" effect of driving on rutted gravel.

But higher taxes for road maintenance are equally unpopular.

Of course they are. The WSJ noted one North Dakota resident who voted against a ballot measure to raise taxes to pay for paved roads, right around the time she wrote to the governor, urging him not to allow a major road in her area to be converted into gravel."

hsh,

What doesn't make sense is the argument that taking some 100's of billions of dollars from small businesses, who are likely to spend it to grow the private sector, and giving it to the government is accepted out of hand as good for the economy.

Sorry Eric, 1% is not a number of businesses and not "by definition" insignificant.

Marty, you're being pedantic now. Yes, if there is a tax/revenue question, and someone says that option A will only impact 1% of small businesses, then that would be viewed as a relatively small number. Relative to, say, 99% of small businesses. Which is a much larger number.

I would suspect if something impacted 1% of the worlds population then you might think it significant, even though it was 1%.

That depends. I might. The current question is, how the government is going to generate enough revenue to cover its operating expenses. The money has to come from somewhere. If someones says we can slightly raise the upper rate on personal income, and someone says that, yeah, by doing so we might impact - slightly - 1% of small businesses, while leaving 99% unaffected in toto.

That would seem like a RELATIVELY insignificant concern.

Likewise, if there was a way to improve some global condition that would benefit 99% of the people, but slightly negatively impact 1% - it would look like a pretty good deal.

But even then, it's not analogous, since the benefits of government revenue positively affect more than 99% of small business owners. Much, much, much more. So even then, the 99% to 1% ratio is off.

What doesn't make sense is the argument that taking some 100's of billions of dollars from small businesses

Wow. Do you have a citation to the claim that $100s of billions will come from small businesses? If not, how can you make this statement and claim that you are also arguing in good faith?

who are likely to spend it to grow the private sector

Do you have evidence of this? If not, I repeat my question.

Marty,

The 100's of billions are coming from people in the top two brackets over ten year. That's not the same as small businesses. And, again, why is it so different now than it was in the nineties? This isn't some experiment with new tax rates. It doesn't even approach the highest marginal rates we've had. You're arguing against the empiricism of history with an unexplained theory. My advice to you is to give it up. It looks silly.

hsh,

I would expect that the statistics of this would bother you. Eric keeps saying 1% over and over, which just keeps redefining which small businesses we're talking about.

It certainly is no different now than in the nineties, it would have been better to tax small business less then, I don't even understand this line of argument. What empiricism of history am I arguing against? Were all of the other factors in the nineties identical?

I don't have an unexplained theory, both sides of our political spectrum keep talking about how new jobs need to come from the private sector, and that small business expansion is the the most important goal. That isn't GOP politics, it is one of the things they all agree on.

The 638b comes from the top earners, some subset of that, which I have tried to get from reading Drum, Eric et al and concluded would be around 200B by the numbers they want to use, comes from small business. All of that comes from the 1% that make money.

If you don't agree with my numbers, ok.

But it isn't "silly" and it is important to have more clarity on than is provided anywhere in the referenced material.

Eric keeps saying 1% over and over, which just keeps redefining which small businesses we're talking about.

Not "just." It also makes the point that, RELATIVE to the overall number of small businesses, we're talking about a very small number. Very small.

On the other hand, the GOP is deceiving voters by claiming that the number is RELATIVELY large.

Drum eviscerated this claim. My pointing out this obvious fact really bothered Marty. So be it.

The 638b comes from the top earners, some subset of that, which I have tried to get from reading Drum, Eric et al and concluded would be around 200B by the numbers they want to use, comes from small business.

How do you get $200B?

Let him who raises his voice against the teachings of St. Laffer of the Napkin be cast into the flaming pit, for the rich are the Elect in His eyes and none shall touch an additional three percent of their income which exceeds five times the median, even as they increase the deficit and lament its size.

So sayeth Supply Side Jesus.

Amen.

It certainly is no different now than in the nineties, it would have been better to tax small business less then, I don't even understand this line of argument.

Why would it have been better to tax small businesses less then? Better for whom and for what? If we take some category of people or entities, X, and say, "It would have been better to tax X less" what would it mean? Ultimately, that it would have been better not to be collecting taxes at all, because, for any given X, it would be better for X to be taxed less.

The empiricism you're arguing against is that there's nothing that shows small businesses were overburdened with taxes on their owners' high marginal income when the rates were what they will go back to being when the Bush cuts expire.

I don't have an unexplained theory, both sides of our political spectrum keep talking about how new jobs need to come from the private sector, and that small business expansion is the the most important goal. That isn't GOP politics, it is one of the things they all agree on.

The small-business part is populist baloney. Yeah, jobs need to, at least in part, come from the private sector. How much comes from small-business expansion means crap. But what do these marginal income-tax rates have to do with any of it? If anything, it's targeted government spending that will get businesses hiring by boosting demand. How does the continuation of tax cuts in the top two brackets increase demand?

All of that comes from the 1% that make money.

You know what? I don't give a rat's ass if it's 1% or 50% or 100% of "small businesses" that are "affected." The point is that the effect of this change in marginal income-tax rates in the top two brackets will be negligible to the overall health of the small-business community.

The argument that these particular rates are somehow a blow to small businesses is one that relies on the audience's ignorance of what's being discussed (as opposed to their really understanding it very well).

I asked you before:

So, Marty, do you agree that going back to the previous tax rates would deal a serious blow to small businesses in this country or not?

Well, do you? Seriously?

Marty: It's a 4% increase in their marginal tax rates. They won't even notice.

You do know how marginal tax rates work, right?

How is increasing, from 32% to 36%, their tax burden on net income above 250,000 dollars going to screw them over?

I make a LOT less than 250,000, and a jump from 32% to 36% -- I'd probably not even notice it in my withholding, and I'm way to close to the "paycheck to paycheck" lifestyle than I want to be.

You're railing against....an increase in the top marginal rate. Not an increase to something like 90%. An increase from 32% to 36%.

Not only that, but that "increase" was the status quo not 10 years ago. When the economy was just fine, and small businesses flourished and the rich still lived lives of luxury.

This, from an article on small business writtne by a former Wall Street Journal reporter and published at US Gov.com.

Today, large and small enterprises appear to have reached some kind of equipoise. The small business share of the U.S. gross domestic product, for instance, which was 57 percent in 1958, has hovered at around 50 percent since 1980. If Calvin Coolidge were still alive, he might view such figures and stand by his belief that the business of America is business. But he might add that business in America comes in all sizes, large to small.

57% in 1958? When the top marginal tax rate had been 91% and would remain so for several more years?

And then 1980? The small business contribution to GNP has remained at 50% pretty much since then?

That can't be.

Unless something else happened.

Question: What has killed more small businesses in this country since 1958 -- tax rates, at any rate, or Wal Mart?

I don't know the answer to the question.

hsh,

Not that you need reminding, but taxes on high personal incomes are going up in 2011 because THE REPUBLICANS VOTED IN 2001 to sunset their treasured Bush tax cut.

So Marty really ought to go complain to the GOP for having voted to place this intolerable burden on the 1 American in 1000 who is both a small businessman AND successful enough to take home something like $350K per year.

Incidentally, one way a small businessman takes home $350K a year is by NOT hiring people. I have yet to meet a small businessman whose GOAL is to hire people. Hiring people is an expense -- a business expense. You take home (and pay personal income tax on) what's left after expenses. If a bit of an increase in your personal income tax motivates you to lay off a worker to cut expenses, why would you not have laid that worker off already?

--TP

Here is what we are talking about.

If you make a million dollars a year in salary income, your marginal tax rate from $250K to about $400K will go from 32% to 35%, so you'll pay $4500 more in taxes on that.

Your marginal rate on income from about $400K to a million will go from 35% to, let's say for simplicity's sake, 40%, so you will pay $30,000 more in taxes on that.

Net/net, make a million bucks in earned income and you'll pay $34,500 more in taxes.

That is an effective tax increase of 3.45%.

The argument here is that that change in personal income to a guy making a million bucks a year is going to make a significant change in his investment behavior.

Sufficiently so, and across a sufficiently broad cross-section of high income earners, that the growth of the small business sector will be suppressed, along with the jobs it might create.

So, feel free to call me an idiot, but that doesn't seem credible to me. It just doesn't.

If people can make money they will. There is a point at which truly punishing tax rates will make people give up (or, more likely, disappear into a corrupt or off-the-books economy), but a three-and-one-half percent change in effective tax rate for a million-dollar earner just doesn't seem to qualify.

The argument here is that that change in personal income to a guy making a million bucks a year is going to make a significant change in his investment behavior.

Not just that, but that no one else will bother taking up whatever business it was that the million-dollar man decided to forego. Maybe some small-business owner who only makes $150k would pick up the slack. By Marty's logic, it might actually help the smaller businesses to raise the highest marginal rates, since that would be such a disincentive to the larger ones.

pay $34,500 more in taxes.

well, that's the difference between a Porsche 911 Cabriolet and the more manly 911 S Cabriolet. are you sure you're comfortable asking someone to make a 5% sacrifice in horsepower just to satisfy your statist agenda ?

"That is an effective tax increase of 3.45%"

Well sure. On top of an effective tax rate on the first 400k of (rounding) 30% so thats 120k. Plus the other 36% he's paying for the next 600k already, about 220k. So in your example the 34k is coming out of the 660k he has left so it's something around 5%.

And, no, that won't make people stop trying to run their business. But net, across all of these small businesses it would have an effect overall.

IMO, here is the only realistic counter argument in the thread (from hsh)

If anything, it's targeted government spending that will get businesses hiring by boosting demand

That is the Democratic argument, government spending that money is better than small businesses or their owners spending it, or simply the assumption that they won't they won't spend it.

Ok, I disagree, but at least now we have an argument with two reasonable sides.

Russell:

That's a good argument, if the other side (skip Marty and cut to the chase -- to the tax-haters actually running for Congress this fall, along with the tax-hating Republican creatures in both Houses already stealing money from me for their health insurance) was arguing in good faith about the economic give and take of a tax hike.

That's no longer the argument. As John Birch thug stupidity has infested and overtaken the maggoty zombie corpse of that former "Party", the argument is that taxes are THEFT.

The $34,500 you provide as example will be stolen from them by a black kid from Chicago breaking into their house in the middle of the night.

Thus the threats of violence through Second Amendment remedies coming from, I repeat, thug candidates and thugs holding high positions in the Republican Party and the so-called media, not people arguing good-naturedly about minor changes in marginal tax rates at the Obsidian Wings salon.

To which I respond, then, under their terms, every cent of tax, all taxes, every marginal percentage of tax, including the first one percent I pay is theft, and if the anti-American Republican beast takes over any part of my government next Fall and henceforth, they've got 30 days to stop the THEFT completely and get my taxes to zero, at all levels of government.

I had better never be stolen from again.

A virulent, dangerous tax revolt demanding zero theft, or else, against all Republican Party thug gummint, at Federal, State, and local levels, is the only way this argument ends.


That is the Democratic argument, government spending that money is better than small businesses or their owners spending

no, it isn't.

the argument is that we are in such financial trouble thanks in large part to Bush's irresponsible tax cuts that the best course of action is to let those tax cuts expire as planned and start to dig ourselves out of this hole that the GOP put us in.

can't you people see past the edge of your own wallet pockets ?

"the argument is that we are in such financial trouble thanks in large part to Bush's irresponsible tax cuts that the best course of action is to let those tax cuts expire as planned and start to dig ourselves out of this hole that the GOP put us in."

No, that is not their argument. They plan to spend every dime of it. So it does really come down to who you believe should/could spend it to best economic benefit.

In the end, digging out of this hole requires lots of growth in the economy. We can't save or tax our way to even. The best way to create that growth is the only meaningful argument.

That is the Democratic argument, government spending that money is better than small businesses or their owners spending it, or simply the assumption that they won't they won't spend it.

Given the number of people without jobs, I don't think there's an assumption so much as an observation regarding private spending.

It's also not a matter of increasing taxes to fund the spending. They could spend it anyway and have a larger deficit. Letting the tax cuts expire is about the size of the deficit, which is what conservatives are upset about (now that there's a Democrat in the White House).

The point is that private demand is too low and the economy is operating well below capacity. The government can either employ people directly, giving those people jobs and money to buy stuff in the private economy, which will give other people jobs; or the government can buy a bunch of stuff or services from the private economy, which will then have to employ more people, giving those people money to buy stuff in the private economy, which will give other people jobs (and so on), or some combination of the two. Either way, it's spending, be it on public employees doing guvvy stuff or on private companies providing the stuff the government needs to do guvvy stuff.

In any case, the stuff should be worthwhile. That shouldn't be a problem, since the people commenting on this blog, all by themselves, could come up with a very good list of worthwhile stuff that is almost exclusively public in nature. (But we tend to be interested in good governance, so our way of thinking may be irrelevant.)

So it does really come down to who you believe should/could spend it to best economic benefit.

we've tried trickle-down before. didn't work.

the rich will be fine. don't fret about them.

So it does really come down to who you believe should/could spend it to best economic benefit.

The Republicans think that would be a tiny minority of extremely rich people.

There is no evidence that they're correct.

If you tax and spend on high-employment public works, that spends the money to the best economic benefit, and improves the crumbling infrastructure. Win-win.

" Letting the tax cuts expire is about the size of the deficit, "

The size of all of the tax cuts in this year accounts for about 300B, going out it gets smaller, then bigger due to the growth projections making the cuts bigger. However, over ten years it looks like 4 Trillion, so it isn't as big as the deficit any year. from here

Of course, I used a Daily Kos graph that attributes all of the deficit to non-HCR spending, etc. So I don't necessarily agree that all of the deficit impacts are included, but it is the closest thing to a number I could find for the Bush tax cuts over time.

Good governance line was unnecessary.

Good governance line was unnecessary.

It wasn't directed at you, Marty, if that's how you took it. I just don't always have a ton of confidence in what our public servants in DC might come up with. The priorities seem askew. I would expect you to agree, even if for different reasons.

Also, you're in the "we," Marty.

cleek,

I am a little tired of your "worry about the rich" baiting. I am not rich, I don't worry about the rich, I worry about the economy that is necessary for me to be employed for the next ten or fifteen years and my kids long after that. The "worry about the rich" narrative is good populist politics, not so good economic discussion.

I actually think John is right to ask about the impact of Walmart, and of course large corporate farming, offshoring manufacturing and, lately, offshoring anything that can be done by telecommuting as better reasons for our the problems of our middle class and small businesses than any tax rate policy.

Those are results of really bad policy allowing corporations (BIG business) to maximize short term profits and anticipate where the bigger markets might be once those offshore economies have become the consumer drivers, replacing the US. If you want to complain about protecting the rich and global corporate entities then complain about those and I will be right beside you.

BTW, those are the companies that benefit from massive government spending. It is interesting to sort through the cognitive dissonance of complaints about Halliburton, et al and then the drive to do "infrastructure" spending that almost always goes to those kinds of companies.

But nothing I am putting into this thread has anything to do with protecting the rich.

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