That sound you hear is silence - as millions of small business owners and entrepreneurs were left speechless this weekend from President Obama's latest insult.
The slap in the face to hard-working Americans conveyed Obama's belief that it takes a village - a heavily subsidized village - to create that venture you're profiting from:
"Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Obama pushed his policy goals of infrastructure (aka stimulus) spending and "government research" as part of a collectivist utopia "doing things together." It's simply stunning that he would tell Americans, "If you've got a business - you didn't build that."
After all, could individuals be resourceful and hard-working enough to create whole new enterprises? Obama said:
"Look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was so smart."
It is this view of successful businesses - essentially, "You owe us" - that drives Obama's continued attacks on the country's job creators in the form of tax hikes and regulations.
It's a tough time to be a business owner and entrepreneur in America. Small business owners are struggling, and they are not expanding or hiring because of tax and regulatory uncertainty. Federal agencies, from Health and Human Services to the Environmental Protection Agency, are regulating them to death. And just last week, President Obama announced his latest economic plan was to hit job creators with a tax increase. The president's plan to raise taxes on earnings above $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers) would hit 1.2 million small-business employers who pay their taxes through the individual income tax, known as flow-through businesses. These businesses that are creating jobs earn almost all - 91 percent - of the income earned by flow-through employer-businesses.
The new tax increase could be equivalent to one employee per small business. According to calculations by The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis, the average American with $250,000 or more in income can expect an average $24,888 tax increase next year under Obama's proposed policies. That $24,888 figure is often enough for a salary. So the president could be putting about 1.2 million jobs -perhaps even more - at risk with this tax hike.
Hitting private job creators while advocating more stimulus spending and government jobs - that's the president's plan for the economy. Meanwhile, businesses large and small suffer from the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. This has long made the U.S. an uncompetitive place for new investment and has driven new jobs to other, more competitive nations, meaning fewer jobs and lower wages for all Americans.
If the U.S. is to see economic recovery, we must encourage entrepreneurship. Stopping the biggest tax increase in American history, Taxmageddon, would be a good place to start. It's a $494 billion tax hike set to hit on January 1, when a number of tax policies expire and just a few of Obamacare's new taxes kick in. Businesses are already hesitating on hiring decisions because of the impending effects of these taxes.
Democratic leaders are demanding tax hikes, however, and threatening to allow Taxmageddon for the sake of politics - despite warnings that it would send the U.S. back into recession.
Real recovery will take even more than saving job creators from punishing taxes and regulations. It requires leadership that appreciates and values the long hours that America's business builders put in and the personal sacrifices they make for their dreams. It will take leaders who say, "If you've got a business -you built that. And we want more of that in America."
William Perugino is active in local and regional politics and can be reached at email@example.com.