Time to Startup!

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America's Self-Employed: Not So 'Bunny'

Published on Jun 17, 2010


Read our article, 'America's Self-Employed: Not So 'Bunny'' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
self-employedThe Obama Administration is trying desperately to create jobs and boost our sluggish economy. But the public increasingly thinks the President's economic policies are making things worse. The latest Pew Research Center survey clearly illustrates the pessimism that continues to loom like a dark cloud over the nation. For the first time, more people now believe that Administration policies have made economic conditions worse (29%) than have made them better (23%). For the nation's self-employed, the root of that pessimism is frustratingly simple: the Administration talks a good game about supporting small businesses while quietly issuing backdoor rules and regulations that pull the rug out from under our entrepreneurs. It's as though they just don't appreciate who small business owners are, how they operate and why one more IRS reporting requirement can make the difference between just making it and packing it in. As an advocate for the nation's self-employed businesses and micro-business owners, I attend a lot of meetings on Capitol Hill and with the White House. My general impression is often that our policymakers are out of touch with the overall employment picture. They don't seem to appreciate that being your own boss means that you have a job. More often than not, it means you have a great job. Enter the National Association for the Self-Employed's Not So 'Bunny' campaign. The NASE is undertaking this public awareness effort to shake up the unfortunate perception that if you are your own boss and work from home, your job is not as valuable as an office or factory job. Not only do the self-employed contribute nearly a trillion dollars to our nation's economy every year, but their businesses allow them to successfully provide for their families and contribute to their local communities. The vast majority - 95% - of all small businesses in the United States are either self-employed entrepreneurs or micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees. There are about 25 million such businesses, which may have a storefront or be run out of a home office. Their small size makes them acutely aware of economic conditions and policy changes. Though vulnerable to tough economic times, self-employed businesses have grown faster than all other segments of the economy in recent years and are historically a key driver of economic recovery after recession. In fact, business startups reached their highest levels in 14 years during 2009, suggesting that laid-off workers are choosing to join the ranks of the self-employed rather than take their chances in a job market that remains unstable. With a growing number of Americans embracing entrepreneurialism, Washington should be finding ways to support the self-employed and help them drive the country's economic recovery. Instead, we see numerous current policy issues with dramatic negative impacts on the self-employed, including:
  • New IRS reporting requirements that will force any business that pays more than $600 per year to a vendor for business services, inventory or property to issue a Form 1099 to that vendor;
  • Continued lack of a standard home office tax deduction that would allow millions of self-employed individuals access to tax relief to which they are entitled; and
  • Exclusion from the small business health care tax credit in the recently passed health reform law if you are self-employed to face skyrocketing health care costs in the years ahead.
If Congress and the Administration do not take action to help America's smallest businesses, the nation's job generators might just find themselves sitting at home, out of work and in their slippers. The NASE's "bunny slippers" campaign includes members of the organization, including a tax accountant, a graphic designer and a disc jockey. To learn more about the campaign and the NASE's legislative priorities, please visit: http://www.NASE.org/campaigns/NotSoBunny. Kristie Arslan is the Executive Director of Legislative Offices for the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE). The NASE is the nation's leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, bringing a broad range of benefits to help entrepreneurs succeed and to drive the continued growth of this vital segment of the American economy. The NASE is a 501(c) (6) non-profit organization and provides big-business advantages to hundreds of thousands of micro-businesses across the United States. For more information, visit the association's website at www.NASE.org.