Yesterday, Republicans again shot down an extension of a payroll tax break for middle-class families due to their objection to a 1.9 percent tax increase on the top 0.2 percent of income earners. Naturally, Republicans are recycling their spurious claim that taxing America’s millionaires will somehow hit small businesses and stifle job creation. “It’s just intuitive that, you know, if you’re somebody who’s in business and you get hit with a tax increase, it’s going to be that much harder, I think, to make investments that are going to lead to job creation,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD).
Hoping for more than Thune’s intuition, NPR put out a request to Republican offices and the business groups that have been lobbying against the surtax to find business owners who’d be affected. Unsurprisingly, Republican leadership and the business groups came up empty:
We wanted to talk to business owners who would be affected. So, NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview.
So we went to the business groups that have been lobbying against the surtax. Again, three days after putting in a request, none of them was able to find someone for us to talk to. A group called the Tax Relief Coalition said the problem was finding someone willing to talk about their personal taxes on national radio.
There’s good reason why Republicans came up empty. Just 2 percent of people with any business income, large or small, would be affected by this tax increase.
Contrary to the GOP’s rhetoric, NPR found several business owners who’d be affected who insisted that the tax wouldn’t hurt hiring at all. “It’s not in the top 20 things what we think about when we’re making a business hire,” said one business owner. It “didn’t even make it on the agenda.” Another business owner said that, even with slightly less disposable income, the marginal tax rate “has nothing to do with what my business does.”
Indeed, business owners have long been telling Republicans that the marginal tax change makes “zero difference” in hiring. “I’m no sure what the connection is” between raising tax rates and hiring, said Anchor Brewing CEO Keith Greggor, adding that not a lot of “small-business owners I know are millionaires.” But Republicans like Thune refuse to let facts challenge their dogma. “I think most small-business owners who are out there right now would argue that raising their taxes has the opposite effect that we would want to have in a down economy,” he said.