When Republicans talk about cutting taxes, streamlining regulations, and paring back entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, they often claim to do so in defense of "small businesses," the hallowed "job creators" that comprise the backbone of the American economy.
Well, a new report from the Main Street Alliance, a network of state-based small business coalitions, says not so fast! It turns out that many owners of small businesses (businesses with 100 or fewer employees) are counting on Social Security and Medicare to shore up their own retirement years.
Small business owners, like their employees, face challenges saving for retirement. A 2012 study by the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy found that business owners are “significantly less likely to hold retirement assets than private sector wage and salary workers,” and that “owners of smaller businesses with fewer than 25 employees are significantly less likely to invest in retirement assets and have lower amounts of retirement assets than owners of larger firms.”
The study also found that “financially vulnerable small business owners—those who hold a high percentage of their net worth in business assets—are less likely to invest in retirement assets than owners who are less net worth vulnerable.
Thirty-seven percent of small business owners in Washington State are over the age of 55, according to the report. That's an awful lot of small business owners heading toward or already past the retirement age. And many of them are counting on Social Security and Medicare.
Not that the conservative think tanks that think up such policies could give a shit. One of the biggest American myths is that we cherish and respect small businesses. We don't. We hate entrepreneurialism. In fact, our whole system is set up to put truly small businesses at a competitive disadvantage. For example, our pre-Obamacare healthcare system is designed to shift a disproportionate share of costs onto the backs of small businesses and people forced to buy on the individual market.
No, what we really cherish and respect are successful business owners. Make a ton of money and you're a national hero. But if you are losing money or just comfortably (or barely) scraping by (you know, most small business owners)? You're either lazy or stupid or both. You made bad choices. Go get a real job.
And whatever you do, don't you dare count on the "job creators" to subsidize your medical bills in your old age.