MEDIUM.COM: Does the GOP tax plan help small business owners? No way

As a small business owner who also works extensively with start-ups and other small businesses, I am a big advocate for real tax reform. Big corporations are able to game our current system, taking advantage of loopholes that allow some to pay little or no tax at all. That hurts small businesses on Main Street, who find it harder and harder to compete on such an uneven playing field. Further, millionaires and billionaires use special-interest loopholes to avoid paying their fair share, while middle-class taxpayers are often left in the dust.

Small businesses make up 99 percent of businesses, employing nearly half of all private-sector workers in the United States and creating the majority of new jobs. Small business is the heart of the American economy, and any tax bill should put small businesses and their customers first.

That’s why I’m so concerned about the Republican tax plan. The Senate Republican tax bill creates even more loopholes for wealthy corporations at the expense of everyone else. It will encourage big businesses to move American jobs and profits offshore, hurting small businesses who can’t take advantage of these complicated new loopholes. It will increase taxes on half of all American families, including two in three middle-income households. That means less money in families’ pockets, and less money to spend at small businesses in turn. It also increases the deficit by an appalling $1.4 trillion — meaning deep cuts to programs small businesses rely on, like infrastructure investment, education, job training, and more.

Even Republicans’ so-called small business tax cuts don’t actually help small businesses. Their tax bill provides the vast majority of breaks to only the richest firms owned by millionaire businessmen like Donald Trump. Many small businesses won’t get another dime.

Here’s the list of businesses these bills hurt:

1 Home contractors and energy efficiency industries. Tax deductions and credits that encourage home retrofits, including energy efficient appliances, solar panels and electric vehicles, could be eliminated.

2 Family farmers. The Republican tax bill forces automatic cuts to critical agriculture programs, which could wipe out the farm safety net, and eliminates deductions that farm co-ops rely on.

3 Technology services and manufacturing support. The tax loopholesthat encourage offshoring and outsourcing will be expanded and made permanent, risking more jobs and profits lost overseas.

4 Disability, education and health care service businesses. Tax deductions that encourage businesses to become more accessible for people with disabilities, allow Americans to deduct significant health care expenses, and provide for tuition grants for graduate students will be gone under the House bill.

5 Research and Development. The House bill proposes taxing academic fellowships and scholarships.

6 Artists. While hedge fund managers get to keep most of their tax breaks, artists would no longer be able to deduct their work expenses.

7 California, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts markets. Both tax plans make deep cuts to the mortgage interest deduction, disincentivizing home-buying in large cities and states.

8. Middle-class business owners. While the corporate tax cuts become permanent, all of the bill’s provisions for individual taxpayers expireafter 10 years. Genuinely small businesses, including small family practices in law or medicine, could be further squeezed out of the market place.

The reality is that the GOP tax plan is designed to help large corporations and high net worth families. While it completely eliminates critical deductions and exemptions middle class business owners rely on, the Trump family could save $1.1 billion in estate taxes alone. Repealing this tax could blow up to a $150 billion hole in the budget to benefit 0.2% of taxpayers. Everyone else seems to be left holding the bag.

Andrew Lachman owns a Los Angeles-based law firm serving small businesses and technology start-ups.

Scripps: Rep.-elect Ted Lieu draws new office with Capitol view

Newly elected representatives went through the tradition Wednesday of drawing lots for their new office spaces. Scripps Howard Foundation Wire followed three new members: Ted Lieu,D-Calif.,Barbara Comstock,R-Va.,and Ken Buck,R-Colo.

WASHINGTON – From sunny California to wintry D.C.,Rep.-elect Ted Lieu,D-Calif.,donned  his winter coat and scarf to attend Wednesday’s lottery for office space for new members of Congress.

Lieu succeeds Rep. Henry Waxman,D-Calif.,after winning the seat in the midterm elections.  Waxman represented the 33rd Congressional District for 40 years.

Lieu wandered the halls with Andrew Lachman,transition aide for the lottery,trying to find an ideal room,but within reason.

He drew 27 in the lottery,and being in the middle meant that the better,spacious rooms in the Longworth House Office Building would most likely be taken first.

Lieu and Lachman went to their second-best options in the Cannon House Office Building,eyeing the rooms on the fourth and fifth floors.

Lieu_0

These rooms had cages across the hall for storage space or side meetings.

“The additional space across the office seems helpful,” Lieu said.

Lieu soon took a keen interest in the fourth floor rooms after seeing the balcony and high ceilings.

“I have a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old,so I want to bring them up here,especially in the summer,” he said.

Lieu’s office in Los Angeles is bigger than the offices he saw at Longworth and Cannon,but ultimately,he wanted to find a space that would benefit his staff.

“These buildings,there’s more history here,” he said.

By 2 p.m.,members were asked to retreat to the Rayburn House Office Building to make their decisions. Despite the distance from most committee offices,Lieu chose Suite 415 in the Canon building,previously the office of Sen.-elect Tom Cotton,R-Ark. It has a view of the Capitol and high ceilings,both of which Lieu favored.

Lieu now faces the challenge of finding a permanent address in D.C. He’s staying a hotel and wants to find a small apartment.

Reach reporter Lorain Watters at lorain.watters@scripps.com or 202-408-1494. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter​.

Times of Israel: Obama’s Support for Israel During Operation Pillar of Defense Gets High Marks

Ops & Blogs

Obama’s unsurpassed support for Israel’s security

NOVEMBER 21, 2012, 9:55 AM

The ink on newspapers touting President Obama’s re-election victory had barely dried when Hamas renewed its rocket attacks on Israel. Actually the rocket fire began in late October with 79 rockets launched into the Negev and Sderot from Gaza following the Emir of Qatar’s inaugural visit to Gaza. That pace picked up and accelerated in early November, along with direct attacks on IDF personnel just as the pundits were writing the obituaries on Mitt Romney’s loss.

If President Obama was the “most anti-Israel President ever,” then this would be the safest time for him to ignore Israel’s call for help and let the Arab nations in the United Nations crack down on Israel. However, that is not what has happened. Read more

Truman Security Project Blog: Romney Speech: Few Foreign Policy Differences from President Obama

Sensing an opportunity to strike after some missteps by the Obama Administration, Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in his speech at the Virginia Military Institute, stepped away from his messaging on the economy to offer what was billed as a visionary speech that would show contrast between him and President Obama.

What was actually given offered no real departures from the policies of the current President other than some rhetorical flourishes.

 

Romney laid out a vision of stronger U.S.-Israel security cooperation between and support of a two state solution (which Romney had recently disavowed in his famous “47 percent” speech).    The problem is that Obama has already done this.   Israeli political and military leaders including Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon have universally praised Obama for increasing the level of security cooperation with Israel, including increased military aid, acceleration of the Iron Dome and David’s Sling rollout, providing advanced weaponry such as “bunker buster” bombs and F-35 fighter planes and signing the bipartisan “US-Israel Enhanced Security Act.”    Since Romney did not say what other cooperation he would offer different than Obama, there did not seem to be any difference from current policy.

In the past, Romney had tried to lay out some differences between himself and Obama on Iran, only to back off pushing for immediate military action in recent weeks.   In this speech, he called for greater sanctions, drawing the line against Iranian nuclear development at the point of assemblage, greater diplomatic efforts to push Iran into compliance with international law while refusing to take military options off the table and sending a message with a strong naval presence in the Persian Gulf.   Again, President Obama is already doing all of these and with strong enough effect that there are riots in the streets of Tehran, and Iran has started to offer some “compromise” gestures (which President Obama has already rejected as inadequate).    Romney offered few specifics here on what he could, or would, do differently.

On Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya, the policies he proffered were exactly the same as President Obama’s.   Indeed, the sole difference, and one of the few specifics, was wanting to get more involved in Syria, unilaterally, if necessary.  This is particularly ironic because Romney had criticized President Obama’s unilateral approach in getting involved militarily in Libya.

If anything, Romney missed an opportunity to further elaborate on how he would balance getting tough on China while continuing to borrow money from them, or how he would help to stabilize the Eurozone crisis that threatens America’s economic recovery or deal with the flow of drugs coming across the border from Mexico.

Some of the lack of clarity may not be deliberate.   There have been several articles noting divisions in Romney’s foreign policy team between the James Baker school (led by Romney foreign policy lead Robert Zoellick) and the Neo-Conservatives (led by Iraq War spokesman and Ryan foreign policy lead Dan Senor).  Whatever the cause, the speech offered no clear differentiated vision that would attract a foreign-policy inspired voter seeking a different direction away from the incumbent.

Andrew Lachman is a Truman Security Project Partner

Gallup Poll Shows Jewish Vote Stays Strong with Obama as Myths Start to Fade

Gallup polls have released polls over the last couple of weeks showing Obama support rising faster than 2008 levels.   In 2008, Obama received an estimated 78% of the vote, growing from 66% in a Gallup poll taken in the August before the election, rising to 69% in September.    The Jerusalem Post reported an unreleased Gallup poll in September showing 70% American Jewish support for Obama (an AJC poll reported 65% support, putting it within the margin of error of the 2008 poll).   What is even more telling is that Romney remains mired at 24% with undecided voters leaning toward Obama 63-27.   The Jewish Republican vote in this country is estimated to be around 24%.  UPDATE: AJC just released two polls showing Obama leading amongst Jews in Florida 69-25 and in Ohio 64-29. Read more