The Small Business Lie

Marc Ambinder has an excellent rundown of the right's dishonest efforts to label Barack Obama's tax plans as a huge hit to small business owners:

The Republicans and John McCain in particular are trotting out a tiresome and thoroughly debunkable claim about Barack Obama's tax plans -- namely, that could hit as many as 23 million small businesses. The McCain campaign credulously cites the obviously self-interested Chamber of Commerce, which counts as a small business any entity or individual who reports any income under Schedule C of the federal income tax return or anyone who organizes a Subchapter S corporation. Hence: 23 million. As says, that's misleading -- generously put. The real pool of small businesses with employees is around six million, and an estimate of the number of proprietorship paying into the top two income brackets is less than 700,000 -- a lot, but about 2.5% of 23 million.

The Bush campaign did this throughout 2004 and I believe also a few years before that when selling the initial tax cuts and it's just a simple, easily disproven lie. The sort of thing that would, one would think, lose a man his reputation for straight-talk. As far as these things go, it doesn't even really make sense as 23 million is incredibly large relative to the American population -- once you threw in the high-earners who aren't small business owners, and the small businesses that aren't organized as Schedule C or Subchapter S, and the people out of the workforce there'd be nary a waitress or construction worker or chain store manager or professional blogger in sight.