Courting Small Business

Elisabeth Bumiller and Jack Healy report on John McCain’s bizarre “Joe the Plumber” tour:

Mr. McCain infused a populist note into his speech in Ormond Beach, looking at the candidates’ competing tax plans through the lens of how each would affect small businesses. He said Mr. Obama would raise taxes on small-business owners, stifling job growth and sending the economy into a deeper recession.

“We shouldn’t be taxing our small businesses more as Senator Obama wants to do,” Mr. McCainsaid. “Senator Obama wants to spread the wealth around. That means fewer jobs at their businesses and fewer jobs here in Florida.”

As a matter of substance, I always find some of the rhetoric around small business puzzling. You’ll have a dialogue where someone proposes something he thinks will be a good idea. Then someone counters, “well it’ll be bad for small business!” and that’s treated like a devastating refutation. But there’s no particular reason why helping small business should be the goal of public policy.

Meanwhile, politically people should understand that small business owners are the most Republican-leaning occupational category:


Indeed, owners and proprietors show a larger partisan tilt than any other occupational category voting in recent elections 15-20 percent more Republican than the average voter.