Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Westmoreland: Obama’s Pot o’ Fool’s Gold

Tax hikes, AIG bonuses not helping small business

President Obama’s plan to spend up to $15 billion on loans won’t provide a “river of green” to small businesses in need of the money, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland said this St. Patrick’s Day.

“As we’ve come to expect in the past two months, President Obama gives a little with one hand and takes a lot with the other,” Westmoreland said. “First, the president is offering $15 billion in loans just after announcing his plans to hike taxes on small businesses by hundreds of billions of dollars. Second, this action through the Small Business Administration will benefit only about 5 percent of the small business loan market. We know there’s a better way.”

According to the Tax Policy Center (TPC), a research organization often cited by Democrats as having the most reliable estimates outside of government, more than 3 million taxpayers with small business income will face higher taxes under the Obama budget outline. Furthermore, TPC states nearly 2/3 of those paying higher taxes under the Obama budget outline will be small businesses.

Westmoreland said the Obama administration thus far had fallen far short on small business’s real need: unfreezing the credit market.

“The American taxpayers have watched the administration dole out hundreds of billions in bailouts to banks that made bad decisions,” Westmoreland said. “We have not received good answers on how that money is being spent. All we hear about it is workers in AIG’s financial sector – which played a big role in creating this mess – are getting bonuses. All the while, the small business people in Georgia who played by the rules and worked hard can’t get the credit that’s their lifeblood.

“As a former small businessman and as a member of the Small Business Committee, I’m glad that President Obama sees the real need that outs there. I actually support his efforts to expand these loan programs. But if we’re going to really help our nation’s job creators, we can’t burden them with these huge tax increases.”

The money for the loan program will come from the $700 billion financial rescue package. Westmoreland noted that the program would give lenders greater profits and less risk.

“Big banks owe a lot to the taxpayers,” he said. “It’s time to do their duty and get credit flowing again.”
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