'Let's Celebrate the 99.9%!'
by FRANK HILL
September 12, 2012
As in '99.9% of the 'job creators', 'job-sustainers' and 'job-payers' who live and work in America.
Here's one fact that might blow your mind. It should affect your view of 'business' in America and perhaps sway your opinion on who to vote for this fall.
'In 2009, there were 27.5 million businesses in the United States, according to Office of SBA Advocacy estimates.
The latest available Census data show that there were 6.0 million firms with employees in 2007 and 21.4 million without employees in 2008.
Small firms with fewer than 500 employees represent 99.9 percent of the total (employers and nonemployers), as the most recent data show there were about 18,311 large businesses in 2007.'
The attacks against 'big, bad' American business are near about ludicrous as far as we can tell. Truly large businesses represent just .1% of ALL US businesses to begin with. The amount of corporate income taxes collected from all business, large and small, accounts for less than 9% of all federal tax collection each year..and probably 95% of the headaches in business and on Capitol Hill.
It is hardly worth the effort it seems most of the time.
Any attack on business in the US is an attack on the 99.9%, not just the large multinational conglomerates.
Because no one ever knows when a small business, such as Microsoft in 1979, might grow up to become a large business 5 years later or a huge multibillion dollar business 10 years later.
Here's our philosophical, metaphysical question for the day:
'At what precise point does a small business (which everyone says they 'love') become a 'big, bad business' that many people on the left say they 'hate' and need to be regulated to death?'
We love that the debate over whether 'corporations are people' was sparked by the Supreme Court Citizens United case a couple of years ago. If small companies are made up of a 'small number of people', why doesn't it stand to common-sense and reason that a larger corporation is made up of a 'larger number of people' as well?
Let's go through a simple timeline to see if we can determine exactly when Bill Gates' 'little ole Microsoft' became 'HUMONGOUS MICROSOFT' and whether it magically overnight became something 'bad' versus 'good' as a result:
1975 Revenues: $16,005 (that was their total revenue, not in '000's' or millions)
Employees: 3 (Paul Allen, Bill Gates, and Ric Weiland)
1983 Revenues: $50,065,000
1984 Revenues: $97,479,000
Ok. Let's stop the videotape right there, class.
At what precise point in the above progression and timeline did Microsoft go from being a 'small company made up of people' and a 'terrible big corporation made up of nameless, faceless robots that were out to seek and destroy the world!'?
Was it between 3 and 7 employees? 7 and 9? 13 and 128? 220 and 608?
You see our point? Trying to find the precise point in the continuum between when small companies are made of only 'good' people and corporations made of only 'bad' people is like trying to find the precise point when a tadpole becomes a frog. The truth is a frog was always a tadpole before it became a frog.
Large companies all started out as small companies. Microsoft was one of the 6 million small companies in the SBA data long before it became a huge corporation on its way to employing over 30,000 people today around the globe.
What would you rather see happen in America over the next 4 years?
A) Each of the 27 million single proprietorships hire one more person and reduce the number of the un/underemployed people who want to work from 23 million to -4 million (meaning get ready for more immigration)?
B) Spend some more money on more federal programs to support those 23 million people who are out of work or looking for more meaningful work and ring up more debt for your children and grandchildren?
What is it going to take to get those 27.4 million small businesses to hire more people?
For one thing, every small business, as well as large business, is looking for 'stability' to come out of Washington. They want a high degree of confidence that tax rates will stay the same for a long period of time. They want this 'fiscal cliff' to be fixed before the end of tomorrow, not on December 31. They want the amount of federal and state and local regulation to go down, not up as it has done over the past 4 years for sure and generally over the past 30 years.
They want an Administration and a Congress that will look at their investments and many times incredible risk-taking effort in a positive light. They do not like or appreciate any politician from the President on down denigrating what they do on a daily basis to build a business and make enough money to take care of: 1) themselves and their families first; 2) their employees second and then 3) pay taxes to help take care of everyone else.
They should be saluted. And honored. And celebrated. Not penalized, ridiculed, over-taxed and over-regulated.
After all, without them, we wouldn't have the taxes they pay to use for our common defense, provide for a social safety net or build the roads we all say we want.
Keep these SBA figures in mind the next time you hear some politician or candidate rip into business or say someone 'isn't paying their fair share'. They are already doing more than their 'fair share' just by providing the products and services they produce on a daily basis.
We need and want more of them to grow up and become the next great success story such as Microsoft or Apple, don't we?
It is the only way out of the economic mess we are in today.
Contributing Editor Frank Hill ran for Congress at the age of 28 and served as chief of staff for former Congressman Alex McMillan (NC-9) and Senator Elizabeth Dole (NC). He was a budget associate on the House Budget Committee for 4 years and worked on the 1994 Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where he does some consulting and lots of worrying about federal spending issues.