Payroll tax holiday will help small businesses, too

Millionaires recognize that it makes sense to provide their customers with more buying power by renewing the payroll tax holiday and paying for it with a surcharge on their incomes, even if Republicans don't

Charles Dharapak/AP/File
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., center, accompanied by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters about extending the payroll tax cut on Capitol Hill in Washington. The payroll tax extension helps the millionaires that would pay for it as much as lower income earners, Bernstein argues.

Millionaires apparently get this, even if conservatives in Congress do not.

There are a number of recent stories surfacing of rich people who a) recognize that their fortunes have something to do with the rest of us, b) get that it therefore makes sense to provide their customers with more buying power by renewing the payroll tax holiday and paying for it with a surcharge of 1.9% on incomes over a mil, and c) believe that conservatives in Congress who oppose the above are neither representing their personal nor business interests.

I thought venture capitalist Nick Hanauer nailed these points in an oped last week.  And here’s a great NPR story where they…um…actually talked to some wealthy business folks about this.

From that story:

Senator Thune: “It’s just intuitive that, you know, if you’re somebody who’s in business and you get hit with a tax increase, it’s going to be that much harder, I think, to make investments that are going to lead to job creation.”

Business Owners:

“It’s not in the top 20 things that we think about when we’re making a business hire,” said Ian Yankwitt, who owns Tortoise Investment Management.

“If my taxes go up, I have slightly less disposable income, yes,” said Burger, co-owner of CSS International Holdings, a global infrastructure contractor. “But that has nothing to do with what my business does. What my business does is based on the contracts that it wins and the demand for its services.”

Surtax or no, Schwarz says she hopes to keep hiring.

“We’re going to keep on writing proposals, going after contracts, hopefully winning them, and when we do we’re going to continue to hire people,” says Schwarz.

See also this editorial from today’s NYT re the fact that 99% of small business make less than a million bucks per year.   Here’s the punchline:

Back in the real world of small businesses — start-ups, corner stores, Main Street, small companies in large supply chains — a surtax on high earners that pays for a payroll tax cut would be helpful because that tax cut would put more spending money in customers’ pockets.

Once again, we have a problem–high unemployment and weak demand–a solution–extend the payroll tax cut for another year–and even a payfor–the surcharge.   But conservatives are once again creating a firewall between problems and solutions, and in this case, that’s clearly not in the interest of the businesses they claim to be protecting.

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