Tag Archives: Red Herring

On Health Care, Small Business is Every Politician’s Favourite Whore

“Small Business! We have to protect Small Business!!! They’re the Engine That Drives Our Economy! Won’t someone please think of the children Small Businesses?”

Ok, /snark. But to listen to politicians talk for the last six years or so, you’d think we all bunked in the same bed as our employers. And I don’t want to discount the value of small businesses, either. Heavens, no! But the fact is that the “Small Business” thing is a proxy for “how do we as politicians give ourselves the biggest benefit from this bill?” Because many small businesses are owned by investors who don’t even know what they are.. like rich politicians. Does anyone remember the “you want some wood?” comment?

An interesting aside came while Kerry was rebutting Bush’s assertion that the Kerry tax plan would put a tax burden on small businesses. To drive home his point that there were too many loopholes in tax law, Kerry said that both Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, qualified as small businesses. ‘President Bush owns a timber business,’ Kerry said.

Bush blew it. “I own a timber business? You want some wood, Charlie?” he chuckled.

…”President Bush himself would have qualified as a “small business owner” under the Republican definition, based on his 2001 federal income tax returns. He reported $ 84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise. However, 99.99% of Bush’s total income came from other sources that year…

This is not a Republican issue. Dems do it too, I’m sure. And Independents and Anti-Masonic Party members, if any still exist. This is about rich investors, not political parties.

But once again, this discussion of small businesses is a red herring – however legitimate an authentic discussion of the issue might be. Once again, we are removing the discussion from its epicenter: the issue of what is best for patients and consumers in our country. It’s not about health insurance companies and it’s not about your employer. Its about your health. Whatever your position on the issue, let’s at least agree on that.