Monday, October 27, 2008

I know I shouldn't be surprised by this. . .

. . .not anymore, at least. But I'm telling you, strolling through Obama's website it absolutely confounds me that this man has a chance to be our next President.

My son (5th grade) is doing a project wherein he has to compare the economic plans of the two major party candidates. I like projects like these, because they actually make me smarter, too (of course, reading the Sunday comics does that also). After I got done teaching him some very basic concepts, we started diving into the "economy" page on the two candidates' websites.

I had a short-circuit of logic when I reached Obama's "Support Small Business" section.

Two points highlighted on his website:

Provide Tax Relief for Small Businesses and Start Up Companies: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will eliminate all capital gains taxes on start-up and small businesses to encourage innovation and job creation. Obama and Biden will also support small business owners by providing a $500 “Making Work Pay” tax credit to almost every worker in America. Self-employed small business owners pay both the employee and the employer side of the payroll tax, and this measure will reduce the burdens of this double taxation.

Okay, I'm no rocket scientist, but does a $500 credit for your employment mean that much to a small business owner? Granted, it's better than nothing--but I don't think that $500 is going to be the difference between a continuing operation and shuttered windows.

And while eliminating capital gains taxes on start-up and small businesses is fine and dandy, color me skeptical that this one will see an Obama signature anytime soon. His entire fiscal platform shows him to be a Capital Gains taxer, and I just don't see him drawing a line at small businesses--which, by the way, HE and he alone will define. I'm just sayin'. . .

Next: Create a National Network of Public-Private Business Incubators: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will support entrepreneurship and spur job growth by creating a national network of public-private business incubators. Business incubators facilitate the critical work of entrepreneurs in creating start-up companies. Obama and Biden will invest $250 million per year to increase the number and size of incubators in disadvantaged communities throughout the country.

EVEN IF these incubators succeed in establishing an entrepreneurial environment in disadvantaged communities. . .am I the only one who wonders just how effectively that $250M will be spent? When I think of Obama and "money for disadvantaged communities", I think of Englewood Gardens in Chicago. Wasn't that a $100,000 earmark from Obama (then a representative in the Illinois government) that went to an Obama supporter that did NOT get spent on its intended purpose? I mean, this is one area where Obama DOES have a track record--a record of throwing money at a problem and not getting anything close to the publicly-announced intended results. I guess I should be happy that $250M is just a drop in the bucket of this guy's budget, right?

So on his own website talking about support for small businesses, he only mentions 3 initiatives: no capital gains tax, a $500 tax credit for workers to ease the burden of payroll taxes, and increased spending on business incubators. Or, as my scorecard plays it: a good idea that will likely fall to his (or Congress') tax-and-spend instincts, a small credit that does little to ease the tax burden on small businesses, and an inner-city slush fund that MAY prove to be beneficial. . .but based on Obama's track record, I wouldn't count on it.

Color me underwhelmed!


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