The “Fiscal Cliff” Should Have Never Been a Possibility

Hard work, long hours. That’s reality for America’s small-business owners. You know what it takes, and you know who built your business.

You also know that time is one of your most valuable assets. You don’t get second chances.

Between now and Dec. 31, except for important holidays, family events and religious observances, you’ll take advantage of every opportunity during those 100-plus days to build and sustain your Main Street firm.

Congress, however, has only about 30 official work days scheduled before the end of the year. Much of that time will be lost due to the inefficient machinery that politicians have built into the business of legislating.

The most important thing that both you and Congress can do in these next few weeks is keep the date Dec. 31 in sharp focus. If lawmakers fail to act responsibly and extend a number of important tax provisions that will have a direct impact on your business, America—not just small business—will sail off the so-called “Fiscal Cliff.” Awaiting you at the bottom is an almost $500 billion tax increase.

For the 75 percent of you who pay your taxes as individuals, your rates will skyrocket. For those of you who want to pass your businesses on to family members, estate tax exemption levels will rise and rates will leap 20 percentage points.

And there’s plenty more to worry about if this deadline passes without favorable action on Capitol Hill: Section 179 expensing limits will plummet to $25,000 while the so-called “built-in gains” holding period for S corporation assets will increase to ten years, and about 23 million additional taxpayers will be hit with the alternative minimum tax.

No matter what you’re doing at this moment, stop and mark your calendars with three important dates. First, today: call, visit AND write your senators and members of Congress. Urge them to keep your business and our nation from going over the cliff.

Second, Nov. 6, Election Day: go to the polls and vote for those who care about small business and free enterprise. Encourage as many family members, employees and friends to do the same.

Third, Dec. 31: when this day arrives, give yourself a pat on the back for making every effort possible during the previous 100-plus days to prevent this financial disaster from happening.

The Fiscal Cliff should have never been a possibility in the first place. Our nation cannot sustain such irresponsible tinkering with its financial structure. As a small-business owner, you understand the importance of balancing your budget, spending no more than you take in, and putting any assets you gain back into your enterprise to make it successful.

Now is the time to demand that your legislators learn to do the same. Like its small-business foundation, time is also one of America’s most valuable assets. Neither should be squandered for the sake of political gain.

Do it now. Tell Congress to give small-business owners greater tax certainty. You’ll take America’s recovery from there.

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About Dan Danner

Donald A. "Dan" Danner was named president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading small business association, in February, 2009. Danner is only the sixth president in the history of the organization. Before rising to the top spot, Danner was executive vice president, overseeing NFIB's federal and state public policy and political activities as well as the organization's three 501 (c) 3 operations: the Research Foundation, Small Business Legal Center and the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. He came to NFIB in 1993 as vice president of the NFIB Education Foundation (now known as the Young Entrepreneur Foundation) and was named vice president of federal public policy in 1995. Previously, he was chief of staff to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Danner also worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison, where he was special assistant to the president and deputy director of the department. Before joining the White House staff, Danner was an executive with Armco Inc., a steel manufacturing company. He held leadership positions in sales and marketing, as well as state and federal lobbying on issues such as energy, environment, taxes and trade. He also served four years as vice president of federal relations at George Mason University. A native of Middletown, Ohio, Danner holds an MBA degree from Xavier University and an electrical engineering degree from Purdue University.
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One Response to The “Fiscal Cliff” Should Have Never Been a Possibility

  1. tomdryan says:

    The Neutral Tax, would forever end any chance of “fiscal cliffs” and other games of federal tax policy brinkmanship: Check it out at:

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