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No one likes uncertainty, but Missourians who own small businesses dislike uncertainly more than most – and with good reason.
Our agricultural producers detest the uncertainty of the weather; an ill-timed period of rain can keep them out of their fields for weeks and yet the ill-timed absence of rain can dry up an entire crop. Our small business owners despise the uncertainty of the markets – will they have enough customers each month to meet their expenses? And families hate the uncertainty of not knowing the next big expense to hit their budgets: a medical bill, a truck breaking down, or a big electric bill to keep the house cool.
But add to all these uncertainties one that is being imposed by the federal government – the uncertainty of taxes.
As conservatives including me have pointed out in recent months, the tax policies of this administration have heaped uncertainty at the feet of Americans who own and operate small businesses, threatening the jobs they provide in our communities.
Next year, the liberals’ plan would raise income taxes on many small business owners by three and five percent. It’s not a small problem; some 30 million U.S. tax returns report small business income. Because the business income of these small business proprietors is treated the same as personal income by the Internal Revenue Service, more than half of small business profits in the U.S. would be subject to the tax increase.
The expiration of the estate tax is slated for 2011 as well. For families trying to anticipate the inheritance of a small business or agricultural operation, the reappearance of the estate tax is an unwelcome event in any shape. It is especially unwelcome, however, to know that the estate tax is coming back, but not to know how much the tax will be or who it will affect.
Next, the expiration of tax cuts on investment income, capital gains and dividend taxes, creates uncertainty for two very important groups of people. The first group is employers and, again, small business owners, who rely on investors for capital to run their operations. Private investment is essential to starting up new businesses and bringing entrepreneurial ideas to market. The second group hurt by this uncertainty is made up of Americans who depend on investment income to supplement Social Security and pensions in their retirement. Higher taxes on dividend income and capital gains hurts older Americans most, since this kind of income is a higher proportion of their monthly budget for paying bills, purchasing prescription drugs, keeping the air conditioning going in the summer, and paying their property taxes. For senior citizens, higher capital gains taxes are especially cruel.
Finally, small businesses in particular will be challenged by a slew of new taxes and surcharges from the new health care law as well as the implementation of a cap-and-trade policy of new energy taxes and fees. Not only will these twin terrors of the American small business community prevent businesses from surviving, they will also stop successful small businesses from growing. It’s an economic climate our nation simply cannot afford.
Families who run restaurants, farms, dairies, mom-and-pop stores and family businesses – Americans who start up new businesses and take on risks that end up employing a dozen people in their communities –senior citizens who invest their whole lives in the companies that make our economy go – all these people depend on fair, predictable tax policy. Without it, we are in the same position as the farmer scanning the horizon for storm clouds. We know there will be a tax storm in 2011, we just don’t know how bad the storm will be. Fighting back against the oncoming surge of taxes could just save our small businesses.
ÇHealthy Skepticism for the Planet
After several years of being told that global warming and climate change science are certainties about which there can be no debate, the American people now have more good reasons than ever to be skeptical.
The average adult human being exhales, mostly carbon dioxide, more than 20,000 times per day. That means 300 million Americans “breathe out” some 60 trillion times every day. Sounds like time for the federal government to step in, eh?
Global warming and climate change are now being used to promote new rules at the Environmental Protection Agency to treat carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and to give the agency license to regulate the gas as it sees fit. That regulation almost certainly will include onerous new restrictions, rules, surcharges and taxes on gas, electricity, manufacturers and homeowners B anyone and everyone who turns on a light or starts up an automobile. With the potential to touch every business and family in the United States, the new power of EPA to enforce climate change policies will be an overwhelming hardship for our economy.
The Administrator of the EPA has promised to use her newly-declared power with common sense, but the concentration of authority within the EPA should be a cause for concern among Americans in every part of the country and all walks of life. The EPA already makes it as difficult as possible for members of Congress to conduct oversight and investigations of policies on which we disagree.
More often than not, the desires of the EPA to restrict economic activity, regulate agriculture and industry, and force changes on the American people are in direct conflict with the Congress – responsibility to work in the best interests of Americans and our economy.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of climate change legislation earlier this year; I voted against it. That bill was estimated to cost Missouri trillions of dollars in economic activity and thousands of jobs each year it was in effect. The effort has foundered under pressure in the U.S. Senate. However, EPA could inflict policies and regulations with ramifications just as bad, if not worse, for our national economy.
The solution must be two-fold. First and most importantly, Congress must do more than stop the cap-and-trade legislation from gaining final passage. We must also restrict the EPA from unilaterally implementing new standards for greenhouse gases that go even further than the bad legislation in the House. Then, second, we must make every effort possible through the legislative as well as the judicial branches of government to hold EPA to standards of accountability when they pick and choose scientific findings to substantiate these regulations.”