Olbermann Removes the SMALL {Attention Spans} from “Small Business”

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

The main GOTP argument for keeping the Bush Tax Cuts in place for the Top 2% — pivots on how it will “hurt Small Businesses” if we don’t.

This simple slogan, fails to take into account one VERY SMALL stat.

[Mitch McConnell] says President Barack Obama’s plan to limit future tax breaks to couples earning less than $250,000 would subject 50 percent of small business income to a tax increase, stalling the job creation engine.


McConnell’s 50-%-of-income figure is based on a July 12 finding by the Joint Committee on Taxation, … that 1/2 of about $1 trillion of business income in 2011 will be reported on some 750,000 personal tax returns filed by people who pay the top marginal rates.

He calls those small businesses. Yet the report says the data “do not imply that all of the income is from entities that might be considered ‘small.’ ” Almost 20,000 of those businesses, for example, had receipts of more than $50 million, it says.

Would Ending Bush’s Tax Cuts Hurt Small Business?

Ryan J Donmoyer, BusinessWeek – 09/23/10

Behold the GOTP — Defenders of the $50 Million-aires!

How can a Business be considered “Small” — and still be worth dozens of Millions?

Good Question.

Please review the finer points of what Mr Olbermann posted himself a few days ago, over there, on the DailyKos.  Maybe those Points will stick this time …

“Small Business” – Use Quotes, Please

by Keith Olbermann — Thu Sep 23, 2010

Some calculation done with little dribs and drabs of information – much of it accumulated by the Pulitzer-Prize winning tax reporter David Cay Johnston – tells the amazing story. The tax prep giant H & R Block confirmed to Politico that it has 1,500,000 “Small Business” clients, but that an extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the rich would benefit less than 1/2 % of those clients.

Meantime, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation states that 1/4 % of the country (less than 750,000 people) would be affected by changes in the top tax rate.


According to a footnote – literally, a footnote – in Committee paperwork:

“According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, 94-percent of all U-S businesses in 2007 were S corporations, partnerships or sole proprietorships — “pass-through” business types commonly used by small businesses.”

‘Pass-through’ is accountant-speak for a company that itself files no taxes, because it ‘passes through’ any profits to its owner or owners. The owner or owners report them instead on their personal tax returns.

What this all adds up to is an amazing sleight-of-hand, against which every Democrat, and any honest Republican or Tea Partier in this country, should be campaigning against without cease or respite for the next 40 days: “Small Businesses” are called “Small Businesses” not because they have a small payroll or a small profit or small political influence.

They are called “Small Businesses” only because each business has a small number of owners. And in the cases of  S Corporations, small is anything up to 100 owners!

[all edits and emphasis, added by current diarist, for sake of the scanners in the audience.]

Hmmm?  MOST {99+ %} of those {quote} “Small Businesses” — Maybe are NOT “SOOOO Small” after all, eh?

So it would seem.  “SMALL” is just Accountant-speak for “MORE Corporate Power” — accumulating one “small bit” at a time, day after day, ad infinitum …

Now Take Ten, and listen to how Keith Olbermann continues to drills into the nitty gritty details of that “They’re Just Little Guys” question … that the Republicans love to frame it as.

Hint:  “Ah shucks, they’re Little Guys”  Sells that BS Republicans just keep shoveling …


OLBERMANN: Salon.com reported this week that 91 % of the money for Karl Rove’s new attack ad group comes from billionairesthree billionaires. And in our fourth story tonight: continuing our special report about how the term “small business” is an utter misnomer, the ” Chicago Tribune” is technically a small business, as is the world’s largest construction consortium, Bechtel.

COUNTDOWN has also learned that one of those Rove-funding billionaires is — you guessed it — one of those small businesses whose taxes Republicans want to keep at Bush era levels, is Carl Lindner, who gave Rove $400,000 last month and who made his $1,700,000,000 fortune through United Dairy Farmers, a SMALL Business, with 100 stores and one of the top 15 ice cream brands in the country — number 582 on “Forbes'” list of the world’s billionaires.

Not that far below, number 463, Henry Hillman, whose family bankrolls Pennsylvania Republicans, with proceeds from his small investment business which “Forbes” says makes him worth more than $2 billion. Let’s turn now to MSNBC contributor, Chris Hayes, the Washington editor of ” The Nation” magazine. Chris, good evening.


OLBERMANN: How does the tax cut debate change now that we know what the Republicans mean by small business and to what degree the public has been had?

HAYES: Well, you hope the Democrats hammer on this. I mean, what’s interesting is that even before this, right, even given the messaging that the Republicans were doing in this completely disingenuous small business chicanery that you revealed, it was still — they were still on the wrong side of public opinion. I mean, the fact of the matter is, people understand the number 250,000, right? They understand that we are talking about a group of people that’s very — that’s quite small and doing quite well.

And when you climb up the income scale, I mean you start getting up to incomes that are, you know, hedge fund — they are hedge fund people who are making $1 billion in income in a year. That’s a flow. That’s not wealth. That’s annual income. People understand that. So, this was — they were already — public opinion was already on the side of progressives on this.

The real question is whether the Democrats are going to politically force the issue. I mean, I think something like this, you know, can get rid whatever last vestiges of resistance there are, but it also exposes the political economy of the way this works and the way that upward redistribution has been sold. Not just in this election cycle, but for the last 30 and 40 years.


HAYES: And not only are they worth billions, but they are funding this entire enterprise. I mean, that is the thing that is so insidious about what we see. […]

And then what our government has done is it’s come in and it exacerbated that inequality by cutting taxes for the wealthy. And we’ve already seen it chipped away — you know, even when we’re talking about Democrats, we’re not really talking about a tremendous amount of redistribution that’s even on the table, right? This is really at the upper end, and there’s already things like the carried interest loophole that allows hedge fund people to pay 15 percent. That’s not even the table.

So, we’re barely even getting at this issue, and the sort of small business story has been one of the most powerful stories that conservatives and the wealthy have used to continue to enrich themselves, despite the trends in the economy.

Thank you Chris Hayes, of Salon.com.

People understand “Rich vs Poor” storylineThe Dems need to hammer it home like a ton of bricks!

The GOP gains traction by painting “Small Business”, as just like “you and me”

Hint:  Over 99% of “SMALL Businesses” aren’t Poor — They ARE NOT LIKE “you and me” — they’re freaking Multi-Millionaires! They’re doing quite well, thank you very much.  The Poor Babies!

How BIG is that “imaginary divide” between “Rich vs Poor” anyways?

Once again Keith Olbermann has the guests — who have the Answers …

Hint:  That yawning canyon ain’t SO SMALL!


As promised, let’s bring in Pulitzer Prize-winning tax reporter David Cay Johnston, the author of “Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense.” He’s also a columnist for ” Tax Notes.” David, thanks for your time again tonight.


OLBERMANN: First of all, did we explain what’s going on correctly, and can you flesh it out a little bit for us?

JOHNSTON: Everything you said was correct and it’s actually much worse than this —

OLBERMANN: My goodness.

JOHNSTON: — because in addition to being pass throughs — in addition to being pass throughs, many of these enterprises benefit from all sorts of tax rules that allow them to take money now and then pay their taxes 10 or 20 years in the future. That’s an enormous benefit and a subsidy that ordinary working people who have their taxes taken out of their paycheck before they get it are, in effect, financing for these businesses. In addition, about 900 of these small corporations, it looks like from the statistics, paid no income taxes, even at the personal level of the owner.

OLBERMANN: When we think about small businesses colloquially, or as we would say, you know, using English, we think of small mom-and-pop hardware store, we think of some online company that is run at somebody’s home, some employee somewhere who’s trying to break out on his own and starts his own company selling the proverbial widget. Are any of those kinds of businesses in the range that Republicans are trying to protect in their supposed so-called “benefits” for so-called ” small businesses”?


JOHNSTON: There are people who may own a chain of fast food stores or a successful group of liquor stores. But they’re a small proportion of this. There are about, as you mentioned, 15,000 S corps that have an average revenue of $150 million, and then there’s another 18,000 partnerships that have an average revenue of about $137 million.

OLBERMANN: These rich guys, though, paying the top rates — they’d have to pay a lot more in taxes if the Democrats don’t renew the top Bush tax cuts, right?

JOHNSTON: Well, yes and no. They do, after all, have access to tax shelters. There are all sorts of fine rules. The reason the tax code is so thick has nothing to do with ordinary Americans.


JOHNSTON: Well, economic theory says there should be less job creation when we raise taxes. Well, Bill Clinton had Congress raise taxes in 1993 and eight years later, they were cut, and again 10 years later, under President Bush. During Bush’s eight years, 3.5 million jobs were created. During Clinton’s years, six times as many, 21 million jobs. In fact, during the Clinton years, more jobs were created in those eight years than in the 20 years of Ronald Reagan and both Bushes in the White House. So, I think you have a tough time making that argument. What matters is what the taxes are spent on.

I like it when “Pulitzer-Prize winning tax reporters” make sense.  So I went to the source and dug into David Cay Johnston’s numbers a little further:

Tax Rates for Top 400 Earners Fall as Income Soars, IRS Data

David Cay Johnston, for Tax Analysts, Feb 17, 2010

[well worth a visit]

Here’s the pdf which lists the Super Rich “Gains in income” data, since 1992.

Luckily {for you, the reader} I also like turning dry dusty numbers into a bite-sized pictures — They can really help the “information digestion” process — don’t you think?

Did you know a Million is a 1000 x bigger than a Thousand?

So WHY have those “Crustiest of the Upper Crust” Millionaires — in recent years seen their Taxable Income grow at a multiple of 10,000 that of the typically Thousand-aire?

It doesn’t seem Fair — does it?

That should give one pause — no matter which side of the Tax Debate you are on.

Sometimes a SMALL Picture is worth a Thousand-Million words, eh?

Behold the GOTP — Defenders of the $100-Million-aires!


MANY Thanks Mr. Kieth Olbermann, Thank you Chris Hayes, Thanks to David Cay Johnston, for shining a very bright spotlight on those “SMALL” piles of Manure — that Party of Tea, just keeps on shoveling.

you folks sure know how to “Hammer Home” a point.

Now if only the Democrats running for re-election, knew how to listen and actually take a Stand for the real Little Guy.

Hint:  Democrats, Take a Stand … Pick a side, please! … It Sells.



Skip to comment form

    • jamess on September 25, 2010 at 23:02

    what in the world …

    they could do with all those extra Billions in the Coffers,

    if they actually found the courage to Vote to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire

    for the top 2% —  Here’s an Idea!

    Use those “wasted Billions” to fix Social Security —

    like the CBO recommends:

    The ‘Elephant of Debt’ in the Entitlement Room

    by jamess — Aug 27, 2010

    And NOW, another one of those 1000-word pictures, with context:


    Image: Federal Debt Held by the Public as a Percentage of Gross Domestic Product

    Under Two Budget Scenarios — with Annotations implied from Report Text.

    • jamess on September 26, 2010 at 00:05


    [Embedding disabled by request]


    “Tides … that I tried to swim against …”

    “Cursed … missed Opportunities …”

    What Time is it, anyways?

  1. The WSJ still allows you to post comments online without a subscription, and it’s fun to annoy those pigs!

    Left-wing trolls unite! You have nothing to lose except… your marginalized status more or less everywhere.

    So I’m always looking around for ammunition to use on my favorite target, Karl Rove, who posts a weekly column, and even though they always delete my comments after two or three hours, it’s still two or three hours of tooting a raspberry kazoo in their ugly little faces!

    And here’s a lovely item for my next raid, from this excellent diary!

    Salon.com reported this week that 91 % of the money for Karl Rove’s new attack ad group comes from billionaires.

Comments have been disabled.