Main Street: Taxing the "Rich" Hurts All of Us

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Posted: Jul 23, 2009 1:06 PM
In an article written by Manhattan Institute adjunct fellow Diana Furchtgott-Roth, small business owners living in the "heartland of America" are voicing their vehement opposition to President Obama's plan for government-run health care.  Like so many of us, the residents of Vevay, Indiana (population 1,700) are united against tax increases that will cause more job losses. 

During his prime-time pep rally last night, Obama neglected to mention the House bill's proposed 8% tax on payrolls of employers who don't offer health insurance to their workers. Employers with more than $250,000 in payroll would face a 2% rate, rising to 8% when payroll reaches $400,000.  To avoid these extra taxes, businesses will be forced to adopt health insurance plans comparable to the proposed "public option"--coverage which may very well be more expensive than employers' current health plans.  Further, the House bill would impose a surtax on all persons making over $350,000.

Taking a stroll down Main Street, USA, it's not hard to find business owners and families worried about what these taxes mean for their local communities. 
The small business owners of Vevay regard these proposed taxes as a recipe for more jobs lost. Lisa Fisher, owner of the Schenk Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn, is a cancer survivor who pays for her own health insurance and doesn't see a need for the government to offer insurance. "I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes," she told me, "but the government would rather tax me to death."
"I've never got a job from a poor man in my life," Mrs. Fisher told Furchtgott-Roth. "When you stop the guy at the top from making a dollar, he'll shut down and just live well."

Anita Danner, co-owner with her husband Mike of Danner's Hardware Store, on Ferry Street, in business since 1837, is also against tax increases. Another small business owner who buys her own health insurance, she told me that if she had to pay the 8% tax on her employees then she and her husband would close the store. "Taxes and government intervention don't solve many problems," she said.

During the last presidential election, arguments went back and forth about who was "out of touch" with Main Street.  It's clear, however, that President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress are out of touch (with Main Street, and reality...).  Lawmakers need to get out of Washington, visit places across America just like Vevay and hear from real working Americans about how higher taxes will only raise unemployment and hurt small businesses.