In the first Presidential debate, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent a lot of time arguing about which of them would do more to help small business. (The phrase "small business" was repeated 26 times in the debate.) And as the economy still holds center stage in the campaign, the theme of what each will do for America's almost 28 million small businesses will no doubt be revisited in tomorrow's second debate.
Despite the seemingly unanimous opinion that Romney won the last debate, the candidates' definitions of small business, small-business concerns, and how their respective tax plans would affect small business created as much as debate as their performances.
Obama's plan would allow the Bush-era tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000 to expire at the end of the year. Romney argued that would punish successful small-business owners, the majority of whom record their business income as personal income and pay taxes accordingly. Obama noted that only 3% of small businesses earn more than $250,000 annually, and therefore 97% of small businesses would remain untouched by any tax hike. Romney responded that that 3% -- close to 1 million businesses -- were job creators and that Obama's plan would kill jobs just when the country needed them most.