Riddle me this

What do the following have in common?

George Soros
Barack Obama
Tribune Corp.
Kohlberg,Kravis, Roberts


They’re all “small businesses” the Republicans want to defend from letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the top brackets.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

3 thoughts on “Riddle me this”

  1. Yeah, I knew that 🙂 Well, I guessed it just looking at the list, anyway.

    As someone whose entire income for 17 years has been on Schedule C, and who has always done his own tax returns, I just cannot believe the mendacity of the Republicans on this "small business" business. They talk as if "small business" owners pay some kind of tax on the top line of their Schedule C (gross income to the business) rather than the BOTTOM line (net income to the proprietor) which is essentially the owner's salary. They obviously think the public is too stupid to understand the difference.

    Somebody should ask the famous Prof. Henderson this question: if you and your wife get paid $400K by "big" businesses, and my wife and I net $400K from our "small" business, should our incomes be taxed the same, or not?

    By the way, I am tired of the shibboleth that "small business is the heart of our economy". I don't care which side mouths this piety more. It just can't be true. When I look at my own contribution to GDP on the expenditure side, I see the vast majority of it going to big businesses: mortgage company, insurance companies, utility companies, Coca Cola, and so on. I have to believe I am more typical than not. If most of us spend most of our money at "big" businesses, then I say "small business" cannot be "the heart of our economy".


  2. 500 employees used to be the benchmark; not sure if it still is. And back in the 40s or so, when all these definitions were being set up, a cutoff somewhere in the hundreds made sense. No automation, relatively little outsourcing, much lower productivity: if you wanted to have a big effect on the economy, you had to employ a lot of people. The past 20 years, not so much.

    Reason #5,187 why we need a better career path for people who write regulations.

  3. Didn't Bush joke in the 2004 election that he was a "small business" himself (not a businessman but a businss), for owning some shares in a lumber company?

    It resulted in a "Got wood?" meme for a week or two, IIRC.

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