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Candidates Hitting Sour Notes with Lack of Small Business Policy Details

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Both presidential campaigns have been highlighting their opponent's singing abilities in negative ads lately, in an attempt to strike a dissonant chord with voters.

In July, the Obama campaign released this ad in battleground states with the audio of Romney signing "America the Beautiful" while attacking the governor for outsourcing jobs overseas. Two days later, the Romney campaign responded with a web video mocking Obama's rendition of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" while juxtaposing headlines of Obama helping campaign donors with perks and stimulus dollars.

On behalf of the National Association for the Self-Employed, I'd like to interrupt these musical interludes with a long-distance dedication of my own. Let's take the advice of Elvis Presley and have "A little less conversation, a little more action please" on the details of your plans for America's smallest businesses -- the self-employed.

I've been listening to Romney's stump speeches, and have also been hearing the president talk about small businesses for four years. Both like to heap praise on small businesses and have their picture taken in front of "Main Street" establishments. Obama's campaign website has a section dedicated to small businesses, calling them "the backbone of our economy," while Romney recently released a "Plan for a stronger middle class" that included bullet-points for small businesses calling for corporate tax reform, regulation reductions and for the replacement of "Obamacare."

But they've never been specific on any of the priorities for the 21 million self-employed Americans. As Elvis so eloquently crooned, I'd like to point out that "all this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me." So instead of more talk, let's get some answers from both candidates to a few direct questions:

1. Will you support the permanent, full deduction of health insurance premiums for the self-employed so that the self-employed will no longer pay annually, on average, nearly $1,800 in additional taxes than other business owners?

2. Will you support legislation to make the tax deduction for startup expenses permanent, instead of letting the provision expire at the end of this year?

3. Will you support legislation to simplify the home office deduction for home-based businesses, by allowing the option of a standard $1,500 deduction for home office expenses?

Instead of turning a deaf ear to the needs of the self-employed, both candidates should cut the karaoke night routine and start answering these real questions with full-throated and direct answers. If they do, they'll have 21 million self-employed Americans singing their praises.