The case that Republicans in Congress make for extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans paints a dire picture of what would happen to small business should the cuts not be extended. The picture is also deceptive and incomplete.
Everyone agrees that small businesses are a key to growing jobs in this country. Making it easier for small businesses to form, to remain healthy and to expand means that people go to work.
So if extending those tax breaks to the rich would create or protect all the small-business jobs that the Republicans are saying it would, the argument for keeping the cuts would be hard to refute, even in a time of huge deficits. Yet any effect on employment is not likely to be nearly as dramatic as tax-cut supporters claim.
The extension of tax cuts is Topic A in this lame-duck Congress because the cuts are set to expire at year's end. If they do, middle-class Americans will take a hit, which is why President Obama wants them extended for those couples making $250,000 a year in taxable income ($200,000 for individuals). Republicans have been holding the issue hostage, however, because they want the cuts' full effect to continue to be enjoyed by the rich as well.
Congress should extend the benefits for the middle class before adjournment. But that is as far as it should go.
The problem with an across-the-board extension, of course, is that delivering that gift to the wealthy will mean America is leaving billions of dollars on the table at a time when the federal debt threatens to create $1 trillion a year in interest payments alone in just 10 years.
A small business owner, Brian Setzler of Portland, Ore., in a syndicated article carried on the Nov. 19 Other Opinion page, made a good case for ending the cuts on incomes over $250,000 a year. He called the claims that such a move would be a job-killer "patently false."