Specifically, here's what the owner of the larger firm said regarding six of Obama's key proposals for the small-business sector: The average wage at his company, figuring the 52 paychecks of his office staff, installers and service workers, is $31,200, $15 an hour.
First, "Barack Obama and Joe Biden will require that employers provide seven paid sick days per year," states the Obama campaign's Web site. "I give three paid sick days," explained the business owner. His extra cost for this one new regulation would be $24,960 (4 extra days, 52 employees, at an average of $120 per day). "That's one of the women in the office," he said. "I can make up that cost by letting one of the office people go."
Second, Obama states that employers will be required to pay 100 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums for 100 percent of their employees or face a tax penalty. "I pay 75 percent of their coverage," explained the owner. "The family policy is about $11,000. For single guys, it's about $5,000." At an average annual cost of $7,000 per policy, his additional cost for 52 employees to cover the 25 percent of the premiums that he currently doesn't pay is $91,000. "That's the price of three installers," he said. "Just to stay even with where I am, I'd have to fire three more people or raise some prices and fire two." The result is more unemployment or more inflation, or both.
Third, with the estate tax, Obama is calling for a top tax rate of 45 percent on estates valued above $3.5 million, producing an estimated "death tax" of $675,000 on an estate of $5 million. "You're kidding," he said. "They took half my income on the way up and now they want another half when I die?" He estimated that his business is already valued at more than $3 million, in addition to the value of his home and investments. "Why," he asked, "would I want to grow to 100 employees? What'll stop them from changing it to 75 percent?" The cost in jobs that will never be created in the U.S. economy because of this single disincentive to growth? Incalculable.
Fourth, Obama's economic plan calls for a hike in the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour within three years. The business owner's reaction? "That's bad for two reasons. I don't have anyone at minimum, but raise the bottom by $3 and a guy making $15 wants $18. Plus it's bad for productivity when people think their pay raises are coming from government instead of from their own individual effort."
Fifth, saying he'll "play offense for organized labor," Obama is proposing that workers should be denied the right to a private ballot at work in deciding whether to unionize. "That'll never be," said the plumbing entrepreneur. "I'm in business because I'm independent, not to take orders from a grievance chairman. I'd shut down."
Sixth, the increase in taxes on this small business owner from Obama's proposed hike in the income tax rate from 36% to 39.8% on incomes above $200,000 and the proposed increase in Social Security taxes comes to $32,000 per year. "That's another employee," he said, referring to the termination of another installer in order to just stay even.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Obama: Closing Arguments
The real world impact of Obama's economic plans on a couple of plumbing businesses: