What Do Barack Obama and Mitt Romney Want for Small Businesses?

BY: ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2012

Political campaigns are often breeding grounds for vague language, buzzwords and spin. Facts and specifics get lost within the flurry of negative ads, meanwhile when candidates do decide to stick to an issue and offer up a plan, a new distraction comes along.

What does Barack Obama want for small businesses? What about Mitt Romney?

These are incredibly simple questions that should have very specific, concise answers. Unfortunately, all we ever hear is white noise. Both sides will gladly tell you that their candidate is there for small businesses; the other guy, unfortunately, is not. Both sides will gladly point out a fact or figure about their opponent's plan for jobs and then shake their head in disappointment.

In short, both sides want to “help” small businesses. Why wouldn't they? The difference is how they plan to “help.”

The fact of the matters remains that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney aren't afraid to be vague concerning their respective plans for America's small businesses. With the first Presidential debate coming up on October 3rd, however, both President Obama and challenger Romney will finally have to get down to business and provide some specifics. Small businesses will surely be a hot topic; meanwhile, expect to see some fireworks.

Mitt Romney's campaign has been relatively relentless when it comes to Barack Obama's now infamous “you didn't build that” line a few months back; the soundbite was fairly thematic during the Republican National Convention. Romney states that he runs his campaign like a business, meanwhile often notes his own experience in the private sector. His campaign often cites President Obama's inability to lower the unemployment rate below 8% for over 40 months as a substantial failure on the part of the President. Romney contends that he knows what businesses need.

The Republican challenger, however, is facing a number of his own problems. A tape recently released by Mother Jones shows Romney at a campaign fundraiser making some less-than-elegant comments concerning those who voted for Obama in 2008 that have gone viral. Meanwhile, as more of Romney's tax returns have finally come to light, the Obama campaign continues to challenge that the Republican candidate is out of touch with ordinary Americans facing much higher rates.

When it comes to politics, most everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The question remains; who's got the better plan?

During their respective convention speeches, both candidates addressed small business, albeit briefly. Mitt Romney's economic plan mentions the desire to “champion American small businesses by reducing taxes, simplifying and modernizing tax regulations and repealing and replacing healthcare legislation.” Such positions are relatively straightforward and standard for the party; however, where are the specifics?

President Obama stated in his own speech at the Democratic National Convention that he's “cut taxes for those who need it — middle-class families, small businesses.” Once again, such comments are all well and good; but what's next?

When it comes to small businesses, there are two issues that President Obama and Mitt Romney will spar over and will inevitably become integral to their debates.

Taxes and healthcare.

These are arguably the two most important issues of the election as a whole, and certainly two of the biggest issues impacting small businesses right now. There are many question marks over the heads of small businesses owners due to taxes and healthcare; many are unsure how the Affordable Care Act will impact them, meanwhile taxes and regulations leave them either unsure or unable to hire. 

Specifically, President Obama cites the following accomplishment on his website:

"The administration has passed tax cuts for small businesses 18 times and streamlined the patent process, providing a new fast track option to cut wait times by two-thirds and help small business innovators move ideas from the lab to market."

Meanwhile, President Obama also states that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, "millions of small businesses are now eligible for a tax credit to help pay for their health care premiums. The credit will increase to cover 50 percent of premium costs in 2014. Under the Affordable Care Act . . .will reduce small business health care spending by nearly 9 percent, according to independent estimates.”

Mitt Romney touches on taxes on his website's platform, stating his desire to “repair the nation’s tax code, marginal rates must be brought down to stimulate entrepreneurship, job creation, and investment, while still raising the revenue needed to fund a smaller, smarter, simpler government.”

In regard to healthcare, Romney has not been shy in his desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In his “Plan for Small Businesses," Romney cites his want to “Replace Obamacare with real health care reform that controls cost and improves care” and to “reduce taxes on job creation through individual corporate tax reform.”

The topics of discussion for October's first debate will include the economy, healthcare and the role of government.

The small business vote is a substantial one. Which candidate will provide business owners what they need to get back on their feet? In time, we'll know for sure; however, the first Presidential debate will be sure to answer many of the questions lingering on the minds of today's troubled small business owners.

About the Author

Brent Barnhart

Brent Barnhart is a freelance content writer specializing in topics such as Internet marketing and content marketing for small businesses. His goal is to help business owners find their voices online and improve their content strategies. You can reach Brent or find out more at brentwrites.com.

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