Small Business, government, taxes, etc.

September 21, 2011

Mark Cuban lays out some ideas surrounding the topic of taxes and job creation…

What bothers me are not the taxes I pay to help others and to support the services our country needs. What bothers me is the  mis-allocation and inefficient distribution of our tax money. Particularly when it leads to taking more money from those who can not afford it, and in this economy, even those making 250k per year can not afford it.

I don’t know where this $250,000 number Obama came up with in his campaign, but that imaginary line that’s been drawn between “rich” and “not rich” has stuck and it’s what scares a lot of small business owners. That’s a number that all small businesses must break through to really begin making things happen. And if you’re a sole owner/member of a company, that’s where it begins to hurt.

There is no better example of how politicians lie to themselves and the American people than the fact that our budgets are framed within a 10 year plan. There is no business person on the planet who would think that a 10 year plan would have even a remote possibility of playing out as planned.

Totally agree. Most people can’t predict what 10 years will look like in their own very controlled bubble of consistency. Trillions and trillions of variables at play with an entire nation and 10 years just doesn’t make sense. Look where we were 10 years ago. And then look 10 years before that.

The risk of starting a business. The risk of making an investment in the sweat equity of someone else’s efforts. The risk of starting a charity. The risk of taking a new job. The risk of adding a new employee, etc, etc, etc. I have NEVER met a motivated person who has said they would not chase their goals because of tax rates.

The only person I know who is afraid to earn more money because of higher taxes is my grandfather. I agree that most businesses don’t factor in tax rates when making decisions to compete because they already have capital to do so. But I think it’s also fair to say that there’s never a time a business, or individual for that matter, doesn’t think about tax rate implications. And for small businesses, that means just about every decision, including hiring employees.

How many times have you bought a bigger dollar purchase on Amazon.com to avoid local sales taxes? Why? Because you think about the other things you could be doing with that tax money? Bingo. That’s what happens when I send a check to the government every month. I don’t look at that money and think I could be $x thousand dollars richer. I look at that money and think, “I could probably use this money to grow my business faster.” Isn’t that what job creation is?

The argument we should be making against taxes is that the government does a very, very poor job of effectively distributing our tax dollars where they are needed.

I doubt there’s a person in this country who would argue otherwise.

On the topic of job creation via infrastructure, a topic I’m adamantly opposed to…

With the possible exception of  the enhancement and building of schools, the only infrastructure investment that makes sense is where COMMERCE THAT WAS NOT PREVIOUSLY ABLE IS NOW ENABLED BY NEW INFRASTRUCTURE.

Well played, Mr. Cuban. I’ve not thought about that particular angle, but I have thoughts that go in a similar direction. My problem with creating infrastructure jobs is that, by and large, they are crap jobs. Don’t get me wrong, these are important jobs, but they aren’t booming next-generation jobs we’re creating. We aren’t introducing people to new skills required for a 21st century, knowledge-based job market. We’re creating temporary jobs that just about anyone can do or be trained to do in a short amount of time.

The BIGGER PROBLEM WITH INFRASTRUCTURE is that in the name of creating jobs we actually inhibit commerce and possibly cost jobs. How? When we rebuild or expand roads as a way of creating jobs, what happens ? We shut down or reduce the traffic on the roads to be rebuilt. The net effect is that during the construction period we CREATE PROBLEMS rather than solve them.

Another astute point. We’ve all experienced these benefits of infrastructure. How many store fronts can’t survive an infrastructure project? I avoid messy parts of town caused by construction and therefore ignore the small businesses that I otherwise might’ve done business with.

And finally, the point that hits closest to home for me right now at this minute…

Do the President and Speaker of the House know that every little modification to the tax laws is a tax itself because it requires hiring a professional to help navigate the taxation and human resources mine field?

Just yesterday I got a letter from IRS about one of my quarterly filings. Here’s the deal. I don’t care. Trying to run a business (albeit a small one) is my number one priority. It’s how I feed myself, take care of my daughter, etc. There’s not enough time in the day as it is trying to build a lasting business. Last thing I need is to spend time (or money) to debug the IRS and my accounting software. But if I don’t pay attention to the IRS, eventually someone will show up at my door with a gun.

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