Small Businesses Say Trump Is Wrong

One (more) of the way this country is split is a sharp divide between what small businesses need and what the giant, multinational corporations want (and usually get.) According to a coalition representing small businesses, Donald Trump’s policies would widen this divide, hitting small businesses hard.

Small businesses around the country are squeezed by the giant WalMarts and other national billionaire-owned chains that put local businesses out of business, pay low wages and few if any benefits, and then drain local and national resources by exporting their profits from the communities and states to offshore tax havens to dodge taxes.

The Main Street Alliance is a national network of state-based small business coalitions working with “real small business owners, on the ground, in their shops and restaurants.” They issued a statement warning that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s prescription for America is wrong for the small businesses that speak for. Representatives of small businesses provided statements making their point.

On Taxes

Trump “brags of his massive and phenomenal wealth while skipping out on his taxes.” Billionaires using corporate fronts and various schemes to dodge their taxes are starving communities and states of the resources needed to provide good schools, infrastructure and the rest of the things government does to provide a foundation for local prosperity and business growth.

“Trump has exploited the tax system for decades and threatens the safety nets in place to help struggling business and families. Taxes are a cost of doing business and are essential in funding the infrastructure my business depends on”, said Doron Petersan, the owner of Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats and Fare Well Diner Bakery Bar, in D.C. “Skipping out on your taxes year after year doesn’t make you qualified to rewrite our tax code, it qualifies you for an extended visit from the I.R.S.”

“Trump’s recently released tax plan would only worsen the unfair U.S. tax system by disproportionately benefitting the highest-income earners and putting a strain on the rest of us. We need to move away from a system that has been manipulated by greed and self-indulgence to create a tax code that levels the playing field, said Matt Birong, the owner of 3 Squares Café in Vergennes, Vermont.

On Immigration

Trump insults immigrants, during the Wednesday debate calling them “bad hombres.” He demands a giant wall that would “keep our customers, future business owners, and innovators out.”

“As an immigrant and the owner of an architecture firm, the walls I build are on homes, designed to keep families safe. We don’t build walls designed to keep good people out. It’s not how our country or our economy works. Trump’s idea of an immigration policy would be a disaster for our country,” said Francisco Garcia, the owner of The Building Workshop in San Diego.

“This country depends on a strong immigrant community. Any ‘business’ person who uses these hard-working employees to make millions, but turns on them for political gain, is no leader to fit to hold our nation’s highest office,” said Alma Rodriguez, the owner of Queen Bee’s Art and Cultural Center.

To see the Clinton campaign’s positions on small businesses, click here.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Election Day Is Not The End Of The Fight, It Is The Beginning Of The Fight

Nicole Sandler is back on the air! Sandler is one of the best progressive media people out there and has been doing her show daily for years. Wednesday she interviewed Mike Lux, in her first regular broadcast since her battle with lung cancer.

Mike Lux is a progressive who recently became a senior adviser at the Democratic National Committee, working for Donna Brazile. The interview with Lux begins at around 32:40.

Near the end of the interview (beginning at 59:45) Nicole and Mike talk about how the real fights for progressives really begin after the election.

“That’s when the hard work begins. … then we hold [Clinton] accountable for every promise that she made,” says Sandler.

“Exactly,” says Lux. “The end of the game is not election day, that’s the beginning of it. … she has pledged to us that she is going to follow a progressive agenda. But once that happens then is the time that we work on Hillary and not just Hillary but Congress, and state legislatures to start passing progressive policy. The Democratic platform this year is the most progressive it’s ever been … we need to turn that platform into reality by holding Democrats’ feet to the fire, hold them accountable. … The way you change things in this country … is push like crazy.”

Click here to listen, read her introduction to this show and get more information about this show and her show generally.

Most importantly, click here to donate and keep the show going.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Oregon Locals Take On Corporate Power With ‘Tax Corporations’ Measure 97

Much of Congress is captured by corporate money. So literally nothing gets through Congress if it interferes with the corporate/1% -boosting agenda. Many in the federal regulatory agencies are captured by promises of corporate payoffs after leaving government, so these agencies do almost nothing to crack down on corporate abuses of We the People.

At the state level, the corrupting power of corporate and billionaire money can have an even greater effect. For example, after the Republican-dominated Supreme Court opened up the floodgates of corporate money with the Citizens United decision, that money helped Republicans take over statehouse after statehouse.

In these states, taxes on corporations and the wealthy were cut, and schools, roads, healthcare and the rest of the things government does to make the lives of We the People better were gutted. In other states, corporate money blocks needed taxation and essential government programs.

With corporate and billionaire money determining the outcome of policy decisions at the national and state levels, people in the cities and states are using ballot initiatives to try locally to take back power. Around the country we’ve seen successful efforts to pass measures such as minimum wage increases, fracking bans and anti-tobacco initiatives.

Oregon’s Measure 97

Oregon’s Measure 97 ballot initiative is one example of We the People trying to take back control of government from the 1% and their powerful corporations.

Oregonians will vote soon on taxing larger corporations to protect programs that help Oregon’s people instead of just the wealthy and their corporations. Specifically, Measure 97 would increase the minimum tax for large and out-of-state corporations with more than $25 million in annual Oregon sales.

This is not a tax increase, this is requiring corporations that might otherwise dodge taxes to pay a minimum tax to generate money to cover the state’s budget needs.

The NY Times summed up the effect Measure 97 would have in September’s report, Measure 97, Seeking to Raise Corporate Taxes, Splits Oregon Voters,

If approved by the voters here in November, Measure 97 would create the biggest tide of new tax revenue in any state in the nation this year as a percentage of the budget, economists said — and one of the biggest anywhere in recent history. Oregon’s general fund would grow by almost a third, or about $3 billion a year, through a 2.5 percent tax on corporate gross receipts. The initiative language says the money would augment state spending on education, health care and senior services, but does not bind the Legislature to a specific plan.

Summary:

Make large corporations — many of which take the profits out of the state — pay at least minimal taxes.

With that money Oregon gets to maintain or increase programs like:

● special education,
● hire 7,500 teachers,
● provide PE & Arts classes and make sure there is a nurse at every school,
● add 2 weeks to the school year,
● fund a statewide, modern public health system
● maintain Oregon’s Cover All Kids, a Basic Health Program,
● expand health insurance subsidies for working families
● provide mental health and substance abuse care,
● providing in-home assistance to 15,180 more seniors, and
● fully fund Adult Abuse Prevention to investigate every case of possible abuse or neglect.

Supporters

That’s good trade-off, which brings out lots of supporters. The Vote Yes On 97 website says that, “6,000 volunteers, over 1,250 endorsements from community organizations, economists, parents and teachers, local leaders, and over 435 Oregon businesses.” Click here to see the list of businesses, educators, community groups, labor unions, elected officials, and community leaders

Supporters include People’s Action affiliates Unite Oregon and The Main Street Alliance of Oregon. OurRevolution also supports Measure 97.

Darlene Huntress, associate director of Unite Oregon, says of Measure 97,

“This is about corporations investing in communities. With the budget shortfall that we have this is about taxing corporations, many of which aren’t paying taxes now. what this could do for education, health care and senior services is a real gamechanger.

On top of that Unite Oregon works with communities of color, immigrants and refugees. Many of these corporations are the same corporations that have invested in private prisons and detention centers. We’d prefer this money was invested in our communities instead of invested in separating families.”

Opponents

The Times’ report also lays out who is for and against Measure 97, (hint: the usual suspects)

Labor unions, led by teachers, are leading the fight for passage, arguing that decades of erosion in education funding are the cause of the state’s dismal high school graduation rate, among the lowest in the nation. Opponents have raised about $8 million — four times as much as supporters — through contributions from large companies like Amazon, General Motors and the grocery chain Kroger/Fred Meyer.

Corporations are doing what they always do: pouring millions into the campaign, and extorting citizens by threatening to raise prices, cut jobs, or just leave the state.

CAN Corporation Raise Prices To Cover Taxes?

A short examination of just one of these arguments — can corporations really raise prices to “pass on taxes to customers?” — shows that the corporate arguments against taxation have little credibility.

● Companies try to price ‘optimally,” meaning they already charge as much as they can. If they could raise prices, they already would have.

● Taxes are determined long after a sale takes place and are not a cost to be added into the pricing of a product. There is no way to know what the taxes might be later.

● Companies have competitors. If “Company A” raised prices, competing “Company B” would get more business, which would mean that “Company A” loses sales, which would mean they have lower profits and therefore lower taxes, which would mean they would have to lower prices…

● Suppose a company could raise its prices regardless of competition. That would mean the profits would be even greater, which means the taxes on profits would be greater, which would mean they have to raise prices even more. But that would mean profits would be even greater, which means the taxes on profits would be greater, which would mean they have to raise prices even more. But that would mean profits would be even greater …

People in corporations know they can’t raise prices to “pass on taxes to customers,” yet they are making the argument anyway. Other corporate arguments against raising taxes have similarly low credibility.

If you live in Oregon, take a look at Measure 97. If you don’t live in Oregon, learn from Oregon’s amazing activists and organizers and organizations like the coalition behind Measure 97. You can how power in your state to take on corporate power and restore government of, by and FOR the people.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Small Businesses Speak Out Against Donald Trump’s Tax Plan

“Tax cuts skewed towards the wealthy elite starve our communities of much-needed resources while further tilting the scales towards large corporations and the rich.”
– Stephen Rouzer at Main Street Alliance

If you cut taxes for the rich and giant corporations, what happens to the rest of us? Tax cuts mean budget cuts, so what suffers is education, infrastructure and all kinds of things government does to make our lives better and our local businesses stronger.

Republicans argue that pushing wealth and income to the top few has a “trickle down” effect. They say wealthy people (like Paris Hilton) are “makers” who “create jobs” and therefore deserve to have heaps of money pushed their way for their benefit. They say that government spending on things that make the lives of We the People better really just makes us into “takers.”

But in reality, policies that push more and more of our country’s resources into the largest hands put our smaller hands at even more of a disadvantage. The giant corporations have huge advantages over small, local businesses just due to their size; huge tax breaks on top of their size-given advantages just make it that much harder for smaller businesses to compete. So the “WalMart business model” of undercutting and bankrupting a community’s small businesses and draining entire regions of wealth gains even more power. After decades of these “trickle down” policies, this is also known as “look around you.”

Trump’s Tax Plan Means Fewer Customers With Money To Spend At Local Businesses

The Main Street Alliance is a “is a national network of small business coalitions” that “works to provide small businesses a voice on the most pressing public policy issues across the nation.” (Donate here.)

A Main Street Alliance blog post by Stephen Rouzer, “Donald Trump’s Revised Tax Plan Won’t Work for Main Street,” begins,

The latest version of Donald Trump’s ever-changing tax plan is facing scrutiny from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Main Street Alliance leaders. The plan, one that features across the board tax cuts, disproportionately benefits the highest-income earners, those grossing more than $1 million annually.

This description of Trump’s plans as a huge benefit to the wealthiest is based on a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) post explaining a Tax Policy Center (TPC) analysis of Donald Trump’s tax proposals. The CBPP post, “Revised Trump Tax Plan Heavily Tilted Toward Wealthiest, Tax Policy Center Analysis Shows” explains how the analysis shows that Trump’s tax cut raise the after-tax income of the already-wealthy by another 14% or more, while hardly benefiting the rest of us – or even cutting the take-home incomes of the poorest.

This would seriously affect small, local businesses. Rouzer explains how passing so much to the top few while starving the rest of us means local businesses have fewer customers with money to spend:

A 2015 report released by the Main Street Alliance, “Voices of Main Street,” surveyed over 1000 small business owners and found that 52 percent of respondents cited “more customers” as the most important key to increasing small business success. Doubling the number of respondents that said “lower taxes” and more than quadrupling the number that responded “fewer regulations.”

Tax cuts skewed towards the wealthy elite starve our communities of much-needed resources while further tilting the scales towards large corporations and the rich.

Rouzer concludes with some great comments from business owners:

“To level the playing field for Main Street businesses our tax code must no longer skew in favor of large corporations and their shareholders,” said Deborah Field, the owner of Paperjam Press in Portland, Oregon, and a former corporate tax accountant. “Without holding multinational corporations accountable to pay what they owe and first providing relief to low and middle-income earners we shouldn’t begin to consider tax cuts for the rich.”

[…]

“The vast majority of small business owners don’t support a tax system that augments their piece of the pie by cheating their fellow citizens out of theirs. When we contribute our fair share of taxes, those dollars get reinvested in our local communities,” said David Borris, the owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Chicago and Main Street Alliance Executive Committee member. “Local communities that support tens of millions of small businesses nationally.”

Amanda Ballantyne, national director of the Main Street Alliance, says that “Mr. Trump’s tax breaks would deprive the government of badly needed funds for investments in infrastructure, transportation, education, and social services. The resulting budget cuts hinder the types of investments that drive local economies and put small businesses in a better position to succeed.”

The kind of tax policy that small businesses need is one that supports their customer base and their communities. “In that regard, Trump’s plan falls flat,” says Ballantyne.

Donald Trump wants to dramatically cut taxes for the already-wealthy and their giant corporations. This would starve local communities of resources like teachers and infrastructure, while stacking the deck further against smaller, local businesses.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

New Corporate Tax “Shell Game” Report: $718 Billion Of Corporate Tax-Dodging

“Multinational corporations’ use of tax havens allows them to avoid an estimated $100 billion in federal income taxes each year,” says a new report just released by Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (U.S. PIRG).

That report, “Offshore Shell Games 2016,” explains how “U.S.-based multinational corporations are allowed to play by a different set of rules” when it comes to paying taxes.

Congress – for obviou$ rea$on$ – refuses to stop this “deferral” loophole. And then these same companies fund “think tanks” and other propaganda mills that tell us we have a huge budget “deficit” and “debt” problem and therefore need to cut spending on things that make people’s lives better.

From the report’s executive summary:

Most of America’s largest corporations maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. At least 358 companies, nearly 72 percent of the Fortune 500, operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions as of the end of 2014.

-All told, these 358 companies maintain at least 7,622 tax haven subsidiaries.

-The 30 companies with the most money officially booked offshore for tax purposes collectively operate 1,225 tax haven subsidiaries.

Some of the key findings from the report:

● Fortune 500 companies now hold nearly $2.5 trillion in earnings offshore and we estimate that they are avoiding $718 billion in taxes on these earnings.

● More than 73 percent of Fortune 500 companies maintain at least one subsidiary in a tax haven.

● Apple has booked $215 billion offshore on which it owes $65.4 billion in taxes.

The solution is for Congress to end the “deferral” loophole and make these companies just pay the taxes they owe.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Iowa Town Hall Meetings Discussing TPP This Week

The notorious Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) corporate-rights agreement is opposed by the Democratic candidate for President, the Republican candidate for President, the Democratic Party platform, all labor unions, thousands of citizen groups like faith, human rights, consumer, environmental, small business, and almost every other kind of group representing the interests of citizens. Hundreds of legal and economic scholars recently signed a letter opposing TPP. And polls show that as people learn about TPP they shift from no opinion to opposition.

But Wall Street, giant multinational corporations, and their corporate lobbying organizations like the Chamber of Commerce want TPP. You know what that means. TPP is probably coming up for a vote after the election in the no-accountability “lame duck” session of Congress. It can be stopped and a group of organizations are taking the fight to Iowa this week.

Iowa Town Hall Meetings This Week

This week Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (along with Iowa CCI Action), Our Revolution (Bernie Sanders’ group), and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) will hold a series of town hall meetings across Iowa. Our Revolution president Larry Cohen wrote about this in an article for Iowa’s Quad-City Times in Guest view: TPP is what’s wrong with US trade policy. (The article also appears in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.) Cohen wrote:

We will be discussing the TPP and mobilizing opposition but most importantly demanding that all candidates for the House and Senate tell us which side they are on. TPP will be the major issue facing Congress for at least the rest of 2016—it is unacceptable for House members or candidates to say they don’t know where they stand or that they haven’t read it.

That “tell us which side they are on” part is key. Getting members of Congress on the record now, before the election, will help defeat TPP. They know there is plenty of opposition. They know that the more people hear about TPP, the more people become opposed. They know they can’t publicly say they are for it before the election, then vote for it right after the election.

TPP Sold As “Trade”

TPP is sold as a “trade” deal, because the word “trade” makes people think of people in places that grow bananas “trading” with people who make cars, with both sides benefitting. Advocates of TPP say things like, “95 percent of the world is outside of the United States, and we have to trade with them,” as if the choice is TPP or not trading with the world.

But “trade” has come to mean one and only one thing: corporate domination of governments and economies, where factories are moved to the lowest-wage, lowest-protection areas so investors and executives can pocket the wage difference and threaten workers who still have jobs with moving their job, too.

In his Iowa op-ed Larry Cohen lays out a better way:

A new trade regime would create balance between investor’s rights and the rights of citizens. A new trade regime would place our jobs and communities, and our rights as consumers above the rights of multinational companies. For example, instead of celebrating new protections for pharmaceutical corporations to set prices and block regulation, we would celebrate trade deals that promote the rights of all of us.

Imagine a “trade” deal that really is about increasing trade and prosperity for everyone in the affected countries instead of an already-wealthy few. Imagine a “trade” deal that guarantees a reasonable minimum wage for workers. Imagine a “trade” deal with terms that prohibit threatening workers with loss of jobs. Imagine a “trade” deal that prohibits environmental destruction for profit. Imagine a “trade” deal that guarantees small businesses a reasonable share of the resulting “trade.” That is what a true “trade” deal might look like if all of the “stakeholders” in these deals had a seat at the negotiating table.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Must Must Must Listen Podcast: Robert Reich On This Election

I listened to this on a walk, and it is a must, must, must listen podcast.

Robert Reich, speaking Tuesday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco: “The Oddest Presidential Election in Living Memory

From the website:

Tue, Sep 27 2016 – 6:30pm
Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley; Former Secretary of Labor; Author, Saving Capitalism

Holly Kernan, Executive Editor for News, KQED—Moderator

In the midst of an unpredictable presidential election, get insight from a veteran political figure who knows Washington inside and out. Time magazine named Reich one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He is a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. Come hear his provocative thoughts on the presidential election and the future of America.

How Clinton Can Use The Debate To Change The National Discussion

Everyone has an opinion on what Hillary Clinton should do in the Monday’s debate, and this is mine. Hopefully I will be wrong enough to earn a regular column on the New York Times op-ed page.

This election season so far has been about Donald Trump, and not about the real problems facing the country and We the People. The national discussion certainly has not been about things that can be done to make people’s lives better.

Donald Trump talks about Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton talks about Donald Trump. The news media talks about Donald Trump, even breaking into news shows to cover live anything Donald Trump might be saying. As a result everyone talks about Donald Trump. Clinton and issues and ideas are almost invisible.

In Monday’s debate, Hillary Clinton should be a model of how the country should be treating Trump and his deplorable campaign. She should just ignore him as the irrelevant distraction he really is.

She should talk from the beginning of the debate to the end of the debate about her policies and proposals to make people’s lives better. She should ignore Trump’s inevitable insults, provocations and everything else he says or does. She should turn him into background noise and not allow herself to be distracted from discussing how she proposes to address the needs of the country.

It’s not like she doesn’t have great policies and proposals to talk about. It’s her strength. Trump just doesn’t, which unfortunately is considered a strength by too many people. Bill Scher’s post, “On Policy, It’s No Contest. Clinton: 112,735 Words, Trump: 9,000,” explained the difference between the two when it comes to actual substance and policy.

Clinton should ignore Trump and talk about the issues that are important to the public and the country. He is trying to bait her with his provocative language and get her off message. Her message is good, but he has succeeded so far. It’s time to change that. Don’t even acknowledge his presence on the stage. Draw the contrast between bluster and substance.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

I Recommend Angie Coiro’s Interview With Geoffrey Nunberg

I just caught up with Angie Coiro’s interview with Geoffrey Nunberg and I recommend it. They discuss the language of this presidential campaign.

It’s at In Deep With Angie Coiro: Linguist Geoff Numberg: the Language of Campaign 2016

Note the picture at the link. Angie does her interviews with a live audience in a book store, and you’ll hear the audience reaction on occasion during the discussion. It’s well worth attending one of these if you are in the Menlo Park/Palo Alto, California area on a Wednesday.

Also, listening will show you just what an excellent interviewer and radio professional Angie is. (Can listening ‘show’ you things? What’s the right word?)

Republicans ‘Working The Ref’ With War On IRS

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was forced to testify on Wednesday before a Republican impeachment committee. Republicans are doing this because the IRS (under a previous commissioner) dared to check whether organizations applying for special IRS nonprofit status were following the law or illegally promoting candidates.

Republicans in Congress want to send the IRS and other government agencies a clear message: If government employees try to make corporate/conservative movement organizations follow the laws and rules, Republicans will make their lives miserable, bankrupt them and ruin their careers. And thanks to the huge sums of “dark” money flowing to Republican candidates from billionaires and corporations, they have the power to do it.

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