14 Jul



My first small business was collecting newspapers and magazines from the garbage cans along the alley running beside our house when I was first old enough to pull a wagon. My Mother watched me and my brother as we trudged along pulling our load across the street to Mr. Schombarger’s junk yard. We placed the full wagon on the scale built into the roadway after the heavy trucks had cleared;then, climbed up the steps to the loading dock to watch the weight register on the huge scale above our heads. “Remember the numbers”, Mr. Schombarger would remind us. Next, we ran down the steps to empty the wagon’s contents into a bin provided by a worker, and pulled the empty wagon back onto the scale. “Okay, kids, come up and watch the numbers again”,said Mr. Schombarger, as he weighed the empty wagon. Subtracting the numbers gave us the weight we would be paid for our load. We were rich! Our business kept us in penny candy from Mrs. Rowe’s corner store every night, with an ice cream cone once a week, and if we saved our money, an occasional comic book. Whenever we needed more money we collected more paper. We were our own market.


I also ran errands for neighbors for ten cents (to Mr Van’s or Mrs. Rowe’s neighborhood groceries), for a quarter for a trip to the A&P uptown; cleaned woodwork and washed windows, a quarter; and helped with babies, free service. When I was 12 I began babysitting for $1 per child per night.


My brother had a paper route. Being a girl, I was not eligible for a route. He graciously offered me a chance to make some cash. If I delivered all his papers and made his route collections I got to keep 10% of his salary. I fell for the scam. I loved working, and getting around the sexist system firmly in place. Women still work the same jobs for less money. Some things never change. Ask Lily Ledbetter.


I once earned enough money to take my entire family to the New York World’s Fair for a full week by making fondant-rum candy shaped and decorated like small pieces of fruit. My father noticed my experiment, took the dish to his restaurant the next day and came home with 35 orders. Every day after school for months I made 30-50 dozen candies, placing 12 on each milk glass bowl lined with green Easter grass. Seeing the World’s Fair was a dream come true. Running a small business is in my blood. My dad and uncles had a small business for 38 years, The Center Cafe. It is daunting, calls for daring, and is plain hard work with long hours.They are our country’s economic lifeblood.


Everyone agrees small businesses are the engine driving America’s economy. Small firms of less than 500 employees make up 99.9% of America’s businesses. (see more at Of these, 96% have 50 or fewer employees.(see more at Only 3% of small businesses earn more than $250,000 per year. Approximately 70% of the wealthy don’t own a small business. Obviously, the wealthy 2-3% don’t want the amount they earn above 2% to lose overgenerous tax breaks. But they argue a different story.


Despite these facts, to president Obama’s announcement that he would ask Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts for incomes below $250,000, Mr. Romney replied this is an unacceptable and burdensome tax increase on small business,never mentioning the impact on his very large business income. Congressional Republicans expressed their opposition stating that many small business owners report their business income as personal income. But, as the president correctly points out the tax increases is only on the amount earned over $250,000; and, it affects 3% of small businesses. Under the president’s plan 98% of households and 97% of small businesses would receive a tax cut. (see more at New York Times (7/10/12)


The factual distortions of Republican leadership, including those of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and House Leader, Rep.John Boehner (R-OH) each of whom should know better, do not serve the country well.  If the tax cuts expire for earnings $250,000 and up, the deficit could be reduced by $700 billion over the next 10 years. (For more, see Extend Bush Tax).


Yesterday, the Senate Republicans blocked The Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act using the filibuster to keep a vote from even reaching the floor. The bill gave business tax credits up to $500,000 for boosting payroll,thus hiring more workers. It gave a 1 year extension a 100% rate under which businesses can claim bonus depreciation tax deductions on capital investments to install new equipment, open more manufacturing lines etc. (see more at ( The bill was estimated to create  nearly 1 million jobs, 650,000 in small mom and pop operations by use of a cap. Next week, Republicans are expected to block a bill which would give tax breaks to firms returning overseas jobs to the U.S. and raise taxes on companies that off-shore. Certainly, Mr. Romeny can’t be happy about the impact such a law would have on his off-shore ventures.


The rational given by Republican for blocking the bill that it was overpolitical underscores the true reason for blocking a bill which would move forward the country’s economic recovery…to block President Obama’s re-election at the expense of small business growth and more jobs here in the U.S.  While decrying the lapse of tax credits to earnings above $250,000 because of their distorted claim of a negative effect on small business, while blocking bills in support of small business is the height of Republican hypocrisy. Using the filibuster to play political games is immoral bully-behavior and we must call them out for such irresponsible and destructive behavior towards this country and its people’s welfare. The president has the bully pulpit; but,the Republicans are simply bullies who attack each of us to get to him. (see more at ).


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