It seems bad news abounds these days. Skyrocketing health care costs. Escalating deficits. Reality television is still here. But it’s not all bad. The Colts are 12-0. The economy is due to pick up (any day now…). And hey, there’s at least a 65% chance you’re not one of Tiger Woods’ mistresses.
According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control:
Life expectancy for Americans reached an all-time high of nearly 78 years (77.9) in 2007 (most recent data available), the age-adjusted death rate dropped to a new all-time low, and life expectancy for black males reached a new record of 70 years.
Compared to the life expectancy in 1929 of only 57.1 years, the average American today can expect to live almost 21 years longer.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture:
Food expenditures by families and individuals (both at home and at restaurants) as a share of disposable personal income reached an all-time record low of 9.6 percent in 2008.
Spending on food as a share of income was twice that high in the 1950s (average of 19.3 percent), and almost three times as high in the early 1930s.
According to data from the Energy Information Administration:
The energy consumption required (measured in thousands of British thermal units) to produce a real dollar of output (Gross Domestic Product) fell to an all-time record low of 8.52 in 2008.
Compared to 1970 when it took 18 Btus to produce a real dollar of GDP, today’s economy is more than twice as energy-efficient.
We need policies that encourage small-business owners to invest in their businesses, hire more people and continue to grow their businesses. Unfortunately the administration’s proposal to raise taxes on those earning $250,000 or more will create burdens and barriers to small-business growth and success, says Neese:
Under those new tax plans, 1.3 million small-business owners would pay more taxes.
These small businesses are not subject to the 35 percent corporate income tax rate.
Instead, they report "flow-through" income from sole-proprietorships, partnerships, and S-corporations on individual tax returns.
The total tax bill for small businesses as a result of these tax increases would be $30.1 billion.
If this small-business tax increase becomes reality, many small-business owners will not be able to expand their businesses. Not only will they not be able to hire more people, in many instances they will be forced to lay off workers. They won’t be able to buy new equipment. They won’t be able to invest in their communities, says Neese.
At the National Center for Policy Analysis, we have been working on some solutions that can encourage success now:
Make income tax cuts permanent; for example, lower tax rates, especially at the margin, encourage work, investment and reduce tax avoidance.
Cut payroll taxes; taxes eat up one-third or more of a small business’s income — reducing the payroll tax will have an immediate impact on small businesses, enabling more investment to grow the business.
Health insurance portability; health insurance is a major expense for businesses, so Congress should allow people to carry their health insurance from job to job by allowing small-business owners the opportunity to purchase individually owned health insurance with pretax dollars.