When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney attacked President Barack Obama during last night’s debate for creating an environment in the U.S. that’s hostile towards entrepreneurs, the president responded by touting his 18 small business tax cuts.
“So at the same time that my tax plan has already lowered taxes for 98 percent of families, I also lowered taxes for small businesses 18 times,” Obama said. “And what I want to do is continue the tax rate -- the tax cuts that we put into place for small businesses and families.”
Meanwhile, business owners across the nation who haven’t seen their tax rates budge in the last fours scratched their heads. Some of those “tax cuts” that Obama mentioned weren’t really tax cuts at all. Rather, as The New York Times recently reported, they were incentives. In other words, small businesses had to spend money -- on health insurance, a new employee, or new equipment -- in order to see any savings.
CNN Money also pounced on Obama’s claim, reporting that the majority of Obama's small business provisions were temporary. “If extensions and expansions aren’t double counted, the list comes out to 14 tax breaks, and only five are still around.”
Romney and Obama both made repeated attempts last night to paint their policies as small-business friendly, mentioning the phrase "small business" a combined 29 times. Yet there were some facts about Main Street that they conveniently left out, and which suggest that small firms don't create as many jobs or employ as many Americans as the candidates have said.
Still, as long as voters associate small business interests with the interests of middle-class Americans, candidates will continue to treat small business advocacy like the modern-day equivalent of kissing a baby.
Also on HuffPost:
Romney Staff at Iowa Cafe: "Stuff Got Broke"
A campaign stop by Mitt Romney and his staffers at an Iowa cafe left Dianne Bauer, owner of Main Street Cafe, fuming: She <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/14/romney-leaves-mess-at-local-cafe_n_1597257.html" target="_hplink">complained</a> about damaged property, Secret Service blocking bathroom access and Romney not introducing himself to the cafe's staff. "Stuff got broke," Bauer said.
Obama vs. Ohio Deli Owner
While most small businesses like free advertising, Debra Krause-McDonnell, the owner of Krause's grocery store in Cincinnati <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/13/debra-krause-mcdonnell_n_1773149.html?utm_hp_ref=small-business" target="_hplink">had a bone to pick with President Obama after his ad featured her storefront without her consent</a>.
Romney Can't Identify a Donut
In <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/mitt-romney-struggles-to-identify-a-donut" target="_hplink">video obtained by BuzzFeed</a>, Romney attempts to identify a donut but after a few stammers says "Can you see that one of those chocolate, um, uh, chocolate goodies finds its way to our ride?"
Hermain Cain and the Dead Small Business Rabbit
With several <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/30/herman-cain-smoking-ad-bob-schieffer_n_1066039.html" target="_hplink">strange advertisements</a> during his campaign, it seems fitting that former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain would continue the trend after his campaign's suspension. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/26/herman-cain-new-ad_n_1379583.html" target="_hplink">The "Rabbit" ad</a> for Cain's <a href="http://SickOfStimulus.com" target="_hplink">SickOfStimulus.com</a> features a young girl placing a rabbit into a catapult while saying "This is small business under the current tax code." The rabbit is then launched from the catapult and "killed" in mid-air by a man holding a rifle. Another Cain ad used a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYN-Awrq3og&context=C4830a86ADvjVQa1PpcFN1bXIVcqsE-PGGTXrjsiOg2M7br15eYTI=" target="_hplink">flopping, out-of-water goldfish</a> to represent the economy after the stimulus.
John Kerry's Cheesesteak Order
Pat's King Of Steaks in Philadelphia is famous along with rival Geno's Steaks for strict ordering rules, complete with commandments on their window that read "If you make a mistake, don't panic, just go to the back of the line and start over." John Kerry should have paid closer attention. During a July 2009 visit, <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/restaurants/Photo_oop_Kerry_eats_a_cheesesteak_hoagie__with_Swiss.html" target="_hplink">Kerry ordered Swiss cheese on his cheesesteak</a> which isn't an option at Pat's, where cheez whiz, Provolone and American are offered. Pat's claimed that if Kerry were elected, Swiss would be added to the menu. We know how that worked out.
Newt Gingrich Stiffs Small Businesses
After a debt laden campaign, some <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/gingrich-campaign-vendors-paid_n_1416084.html" target="_hplink">small businesses are still waiting for payment</a> from former Republican candidate and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. These debts include $7,439.62 of printed campaign materials from Las Vegas Color Graphics, $5,000 for signs from Florida's Insite Political and $24,000 for ad productions from Florida's Noiseworks.
Gary Bauer's Botched Pancake Flip
During a campaign stop in New Hampshire in 2000, Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer participated in the Bisquick Pancake-Flipping Contest. As Bauer tracked his high flying pancake after the flip, he managed to take a tumble off the stage, causing the crowd to gasp.
Palin and the Turkey
(Interview at 2:50) In November 2008 Sarah Palin visited Triple D farm near her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska to <a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2008/11/sarah-palin-pardons-a-turkey.html" target="_hplink">grant the traditional Thanksgiving pardon to one turkey</a>. Shortly after the pardon however, Palin took questions from reporters with a farmer in the background clearly slaughtering other turkeys and birds. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this slideshow described the device being used behind Palin as a "grinder" for slaughtering poultry. That was incorrect.
Romney's Lemonade Gaffe
While celebrating July 4 in New Hampshire, Romney took a break to guzzle lemonade. When asked how it tasted <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/05/romneys-lemonade-gaffe-what-was-he-thinking_n_1652138.html" target="_hplink">Romney replied</a> "Lemon. Wet. Good."
Romney and "CookieGate"
Business surged for Pennsylvania's Bethel Bakery after Romney joked about its cookies: "I'm not sure about these cookies," Romney told a woman at the table. "They don't look like you made them. No, no. They came from the 7-11 bakery, or whatever." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/24/cookiegate-romney-cookie_n_1449848.html" target="_hplink">"CookieGate"</a> was great publicity for Bethel, in business since 1955.