Meet The Front Group Leading The Fight Against Taxing The Rich

July 23, 2012 | By
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While most Americans don’t object to Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, they’re less excited about raising them for family-owned barbershops and ice cream parlors. This may be why Mitt Romney often claims that collecting more taxes from high earners would hurt mom-and-pop employers whose profits are taxed as individual income. “This is a direct attack on small business,” he declared at a recent campaign stop in Virginia. His argument has the support of a powerful ally: the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), a “nonpartisan” small-business advocacy group that has put defending the Bush tax cuts for the richest of the rich near the top of its political agenda.

Often cited as the leading voice of small business, the NFIB was founded in 1943 by a former US Chamber of Commerce staffer who thought that business groups were neglecting the little guys. Today it claims 350,000 members, chapters in all 50 states, and a $95 million budget. In May, the Washington Post cited the NFIB to back up Romney’s attacks on Obama’s tax plan, reporting that the group had given an F to the portion of Obama’s budget that deals with taxing the wealthy.

The NFIB’s defense of the rich offers handy political cover for the Learjet crowd, but few among the legions of small business owners that it represents will benefit from its lobbying. Only 3 percent of small businesses net more than $250,000 a year, the lowest income that would be affected by Obama’s tax plan. This is one reason why a variety of rival small business groups now accuse the NFIB of doing exactly what it was founded to prevent: selling out small business owners to benefit the rich and powerful.

“They have proved themselves to be just a shill operation for big corporations,” says Rick Poore, the owner of DesignWear, a 35-person screen printing shop in Nebraska and member of the Main Street Alliance, a business association that disagrees with the NFIB on many issues. “People just jump onboard because it has all the right sound bites, but in reality so much of it is against their own best interests.”

Read more: MotherJones


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