Monthly Archive for February, 2013

Small Business Advocate Poll: Is Climate Change that Important?

The Question:
The President said climate change will be a major focus of his second term. What do you think?

6% - I agree. Climate change is our greatest problem.

38% - He should focus on economy recovery more than climate change.

56% - He should focus on the deficit and debt more than climate change.

My Comments:
Clearly, President Obama and small business owners are not watching the same ballgame. Small business owners voted overwhelmingly - 94% to 6% - that the president should focus on two much more important issues other than climate change in his second term. I’ll have more to say about this next week.

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Phil Mickelson should be praised for tax comments

In America, there are 20 million small business owners who can be further classified as independent contractors (IC).

These entrepreneurs are sole proprietors, consultants, freelancers, or anyone who works alone, without a net, on the marketplace high-wire. When the person coined the term, “Eat what you kill” he was talking about this hardy group. On the scale that measures financial and professional risk, with 10 being “made in the shade,” and 1 being “OMG,” ICs begin with a 0.1 rating and 90% never get above a 2.

One of these ICs is Phil Mickelson, professional golfer.

Mickelson, 42, is a very successful IC: World Golf Hall of Fame, short list of “Greatest Golfers of All Time” and the greatest left-handed player. “Lefty,” has won 40 PGA tournaments, including four majors, career prize money over $67 million and annual endorsements estimated at $50 million.

Just like other ICs, and unlike NFL, MLB and NBA players, Mickelson has no guaranteed contract. If he plays poorly the first two days of a tournament he is “cut” and leaves without a paycheck. And if his poor play continues long enough, not only do tournament earnings diminish, but endorsements as well. “Phil the Thrill” has earned his wealth.

Recently this native Californian made news by voicing concerns about his state’s increasing income tax rates, that with Federal rates, conservatively puts him well above the 50% level. He lamented that he might have to move, or maybe even retire. If he lived in a state with no income tax, like Texas or Florida, his tax bill would drop more than $7 million.

Many in the press were critical of Mickelson for his comments, saying he shouldn’t complain since after all, how many millions does anyone need? But this is America; we have the liberty to earn and keep as much as we can, the right to voice our displeasure when the government is taking too much, and not apologize for either.

Small business owners agree with Phil and Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who wrote that while tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance is commendable. Mickelson’s comments on high taxes were commendable, honest and courageous – too bad he later apologized.

We have just learned the U.S. economy had negative growth in the fourth quarter. One big reason we may now be slouching toward a double dip recession is because small business owners, like Mickelson, are shrugging in response to anti-growth tax and regulatory policies.

A small business owner’s motivation to take risks is in direct proportion to the level of government interference.

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Recently on The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with a couple of pretty smart guys who defend Phil Mickelson’s comments, his right to say what he did, and why his position is on target with small business optimism and growth in the U.S.

Cliff Ennico is a lawyer specializing in legal and tax issues for small businesses, and is a popular instructor at eBay University. He is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the author of The ebay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book and Small Business Survival Guide. His weekly syndicated column, Succeeding in Your Business, appears in dozens of newspapers and websites.

Rick Newman is chief business correspondent for U.S. News & World Report and author of Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.

Click on one of the links below to download or listen. We’d also like to know what you think, so please leave us a comment.

So what’s wrong with what Phil Mickelson said about taxes? with Rick Newman

In defense of Phil Mickelson and other small business owners with Cliff Ennico

Why Phil Mickelson was right about taxes with Jim Blasingame

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

SBA Poll: Why is unemployment so stubborn?

The Question:
Which of these most closely describes your current employment picture?

3% - We’re hiring and having no problem finding qualified candidates.

24% - We need to add employees, but cannot find qualified candidates.

30% - We’re using technology as much as possible to limit payroll.

43% - We’re not hiring because we’re not growing.

My Comments:
The current unemployment rate is the same as it was when President Obama took office in 2009, 7.8%. But that’s what’s called the U-3 rate, which does not include those who are underemployed, have given up looking for work or those who have converted permanently to welfare or disability. But, based on the U-6 rate, which includes the groups just mentioned, the real unemployment condition in the U.S. is much worse today at 14.4%, or over 20 million Americans.

One of the reasons for a stubborn, if not worsening unemployment condition can be found in the responses from small business owners to the question we asked on our website last week: “Which of these most closely describes your current employment picture?” Here’s what we learned:

Only 3% of our respondents said, “We’re hiring and having no problem finding qualified candidates.” Unfortunately, from here on it gets worse. Almost one-fourth of our folks reported “We need to add employees, but cannot find qualified candidates,” a few more, 30%, told us, “We’re using technology as much as possible to limit payroll,” and the rest, the big number, 43%, allowed “We’re not hiring because we’re not growing.”

Allow me to put these poll responses in an economic recovery perspective: The sector that produces over half of the U.S. gross domestic product and signs over 70 million paychecks every week (over half of all private employees), are reporting at a combined rate of 93% that, for one reason or another, they are not hiring new employees.

If you happen to be talking to the President, and if he happens to lament high unemployment and the lackluster economic recovery, show him this survey and suggest that he spend a little more time talking to folks on Main Street.

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This week on The Small Business Advocate Show I talked more about this poll and some of the other reasons why unemployment is remaining so high. Click here to download or listen.

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!




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