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J. Kelly Conklin

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Romney's Choice

Posted: 08/15/2012 4:35 pm

The sweat had barely dried on Mitt Romney's brow when his chosen running mate, Paul Ryan began the most brazen attempt yet to steal Main Street's identity. In Virginia Mr. Ryan ended what passes these days for a Republican stem winder, with the claim that the tax cut and government evisceration plan he and Mr. Romney are hawking will save America's small businesses. If only it were true. When, this Monday, Mr. Ryan equivocated while speaking in Iowa, amending "America's small business" to "America's most successful small businesses" he all but acknowledged the deception.

Mr. Ryan, would those be small businesses like Bain Capital and hedge funds? Maybe you're referring to giant conglomerates; compilations of "S" corporations which, for the IRS and only the IRS, are "small." The broadly misused definition of small business leaves open a wide swath of business types and forms, most of which the legitimate small business community or the average American would not use to define small business.

So here's my challenge to both sides in this campaign, before you say the words "small business," tell us who you are talking about. Not too hard to do: it might sound something like this, "when I say America's most successful small businesses, I am speaking of businesses where the owners make at minimum $250,000 a year or about 5% of all small businesses." The alternative would be, "when I use the term small business I am speaking of businesses where the owners earn less than $250,000.00 a year or around 95% of all small businesses."

One could also say, "I am speaking of the self employed and small shops: Mom and Pops, the bodega, the dry cleaner, the mechanic down the street." In other words, someone you know or the person who comes to your home in a truck with their own name on it, arriving at your doorway when you call and tell them, "it's in the basement and I can't make it stop." Those are the real small businesses we all think of when the words small business, are spoken; they're the small businesses some politicians want to play for patsies.

I have worked hard and made some totally irrational sacrifices over the last 35 years as a cabinet maker. I have never received a dime of government largesse and don't expect to. No SBA loans, no grants, not even a government contract, all for a modest income and a cyclical sense of financial insecurity that will never be mitigated by tax breaks or deregulation.

I am, according Ayn Rand, a quintessential "producer." But four years ago in the go-go-deregulated-banking-disco-era which politicians like Mr. Ryan think are the only way to run a country, I watched my privately invested Simple IRA lose virtually all its investment value. And if Misters Romney and Ryan have their way that is what Social Security will become: a Wall Street crap shoot.

So, no thanks Mr. Ryan, you and Alan Greenspan can have Ayn Rand. I'll take my chances on watch dogs, consumer protections and a well regulated market. My daughter's future (she's 28) and my neighbors' daughter's future (she's 4) depend on keeping enraptured Rand fans like Paul Ryan where they belong -- on the back bench, leafing through a dog eared copy of Atlas Shrugged (that's the one about choo-choo trains).

 
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