Close

April 17, 2017

Conservative Small Business Owners Are Not Victims of Progress

Lets first operate under this knowledge from the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council: In 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, there were 5.73 million employer firms in the [United States]. Firms with fewer than 500 workers accounted for 99.7 percent of those businesses, and businesses with less than 20 workers made up 89.6 percent.

Whats the first thing you think of when you hear the term small business? For me, its the mom and pop Chinese place a block down the street that have the best egg rolls Ive ever eaten. Maybe to you its the warm and welcoming bakery, the local moving company that gave you a great deal, or the small ad agency focused on local challenger brands. And it makes sense since the vast majority of businesses in the US boasts less than 20 workers.

But according to this eye-opening Forbes article, Depending on the industry, you could have 500, 1,000 or even 1,500 employees and still be considered a small business. In general, nearly all businesses qualify with 500 employees.

The Employer Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees. If youre a trucking company with a hundred drivers, youre a small business? In comparison to what, Amazon? Were stretching the definition for all its worth and then presenting the image of the small business owner as the mom and pop shop with five employees, an image of businesses unaffected by the mandate.

The Forbes writer goes on to make the compelling point that the interests of a company with hundreds of employees wont match businesses with 20 employees, but since their discourse is under this giant umbrella, their message gets diluted. Its complicated even more by the fact that almost 75 percent of these businesses dont even have any employees. The whole small business concept with regard to tax claims is so similar to that of the self-employed, they share an IRS Tax Center resource page. Its easy to then assume that many small business owners, like many of the self-employed, benefit from the healthcare accessibility the ACA affords.

So, this doesnt apply to all business owners, this applies to all the entrepreneurs who voted for Donald Trump because theyre a small business owner affected by the ACA, a man with a long history of stepping on the true version of the small business owner (true in the colloquial sense.)

When business owners cite not being able to afford healthcare for their full-time employees under the ACA mandate, thats a full admission that theyre both not willing to provide a basic need and not paying their employees enough to afford it. Thats really diminishing the value you feel youre offering when you utter the phrase: Im a job creator.

People talk about the value of offering labor opportunities while ignoring this essential question: whats the value of the job itself? Because if youre not providing healthcare or the means to afford itnot to mention going so far as to support the repeal of the ACAyoure leaving your employees high and dry.

Its tough not to see the irony in offering something you deem valuable while not valuing those youre offering it to. If your business is so fragile that offering healthcare to your more than fifty full-time employees puts you out of business, maybe you should be out of business. I honestly wish that on every small business owner who cites the ACA as their reason for their Trump vote or, comically worse, their outright financial support for his candidacy.

Besides, isnt part of the Rockwellian image of the mom and pop shop not only about quality of service and product but also in how they treat employees? Isnt the concept largely about community? Theres an obvious difference between working at a company for over thirty years while never having a conversation with the CEO versus having daily dialogues with the business owner directly.

I cant believe Im saying this, but a small business owner being against the ACA makes them look even more unfeeling than the executives of corporate giants. At least they dont have to look the people they undervalue in the eye. That takes a special kind of callousness. Then again, you can own an electric power distribution company with 1,000 employees and still be considered a small business, so maybe the apathy is comparable in most cases.

And all this isnt even addressing the total and utter lack of attention put on part-time wage laborers forced to work multiple jobs at companies that are within their rights to compensate lightly while offering nil in benefits with or without the ACA (but worsened greatly without it).

You had to turn your full-time employee into a part-time employee because of the ACA. Couldnt it be argued that youre running the business poorly to begin with? The idea that the ACA mandate is a sob story for you and not an empowering regulation for an employee who requires the means to function when theyre medically in need is vomit-inducing.

And if youre going to make me vomit, at least have the courtesy to stand within range.

If this resonated, please consider donating to the Chicago Foundation for Women, who put time, talent, and money to work for women and girls who lack economic security and opportunity, freedom from violence, and equitable access to health care and services.

Follow me on Medium and/or Twitter. Lets keep building our network.

Check out my podcast Eat the Rich (we talk about this topic in Episode 9), give it a rating on iTunes if you dig it, and check out my cohost Renee Kuhls stuff on Medium.

Originally published at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/