The Plank

Politico Hearts The Gop Business Lobby

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Why do so many business articles in Politico tilt conservative? Is it an ideological thing? Or is it all part of a plan to drum up sales by angering liberals? Or are they just lazy?

Today's article--and there's practically one a day, these days--is "Small Manufacturers Cry Uncle," about how small businesses are going to be hit hard by Obama's tax increase on income over $250,000. Many small businesses pay taxes at individual, rather than corporate rates, so the charge is at least theoretically correct. But while the author, Victoria McGrane, lets faux-small business advocates like the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the National Association of Manufacturers (both of which are dominated by big-business lobbyists) roll out unopposed quote after unopposed quote, she makes only a small nod toward a hugely inconvenient fact: Very, very few small businesses actually make above $250,000. In fact, according to a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, only 1.9 percent of small-business owners would actually pay higher rates.

Moreover, McGrane ignores the many other advantages to small business that come with the Obama budget; according to the CBPP:

...the vast majority of small business owners and their employees would benefit from proposals in the budget to cut taxes for middle-class taxpayers, such as extending the Making Work Pay tax credits enacted on a temporary basis earlier this month in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  In addition, most small businesses and their employees are likely to benefit from non-tax proposals in the budget, particularly the President's proposal to reform the health care system by expanding health insurance coverage and making health care more affordable.

This is by no means a new debate; it has been a central GOP talking point since at least the beginning of the Bush tax cuts. Dick Cheney famously rolled it out in his 2004 debate with John Edwards, and was roundly smacked down by budget and tax experts. What's more amazing: that the GOP keeps trotting out the same tired canard, or that the media keeps buying it?

--Clay Risen

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