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I Call Bullshit

OK, while Your Humble Blogger is on about the ACA and bullshit—you know how I’ve said that the phrase judicial activism is the ne plus ultra of bullshit? I think that may be wrong. I think the phrase small business may be the ne plus ultra of bullshit.

I don’t know if y’all have heard the story. It’s being presented as a gaffe, I guess, and maybe it is one, and I suspect if you follow political blogs, you will have heard it. A reporter at a local ABC-TV affiliate in Iowa asked Our Only President about a small business that “ had to close, and move 111 jobs to Wisconsin, because of health care reform you put forward”, and Our Only President was all, like, hunh? Because there isn’t any part of the legislation in the actual Affordable Care Act that placed any obligations on small businesses yet, other than, I suppose, reporting on some stuff to qualify for the new tax credits. Well, and there are some other reporting issues, I believe, but (a) some of those are not really part of Obamacare, even if they are part of the actual ACA legislation, and (2) some of them aren’t actually part of ACA at all, but went into effect at the time ACA was in the news. But it’s seriously unlikely that anybody was put out of business because of new obligations in the ACA.

And, in fact, the business that the reporter names in his story, Nemschoff chairs, in Sioux Center, did not “close”. It did consolidate factories, which resulted in fewer jobs in Iowa (and more in Wisconsin), and if you are in Iowa, that’s a bad thing, but there’s a difference between a business closing and a factory closing—and since part of the point of the ACA is that there won’t be so much difference in state regulations, it really seems unclear why that would happen “because of health care reform [Our Only President] put forward”.

Except, well… did you click through to the Nemschoff site? Because it’s actually Nemschoff Healthcare Furniture, and while the spokesman denies that the factory closing is related to health care reform, he did say that one issue with the decreased demand for his chairs may be that instead of just implementing the damn’ reform already, the Other Party is throwing a shitfit, so nobody knows what the fuck is up. That last bit is a paraphrase. But I’m guessing a close paraphrase.

Anyway. Left Blogovia has been on about all of that, how when Willard “Mitte” Romney says that this episode shows that Out Only President is “out of touch” in fact Our Only President was completely correct, and more, that when a reporter asked him a question that contained an incorrect premise, he spotted it and responded correctly. So there.

But what got me all riled up was that the reporter said small businesses like it was a magic incantation, and even while being correctly skeptical, Our Only President said “it’s tough running a small business no matter what.” And you know? I’m sure it is. But the small business we’re talking about—Nemschoff—have you clicked through yet? Because down in the bottom right corner, you may notice that Nemschoff is A HermanMiller Healthcare Company. Yes, Herman Miller, the worldwide furniture corporation with more than a billion dollars a year in net sales. That’s your small business.

Any time you hear anyone say that small businesses drive employment in this country, or that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, or even that we need to provide more tax breaks to make small businesses more competitive, remember that Nemschoff Chairs, the small business who had to close their Iowa plant and move to Wisconsin, which wasn’t because of the ACA anyway, is A HermanMiller Healthcare Company. And a small business, too boot. And, here’s another thing: they’re one of the good guys. At least, as far as I can tell, they are reasonably good corporate citizens, making actual products and selling them, and so on and so forth. And even there, the idea that we need to make them more competitive as a small business is just utter, utter bullshit.

Do you know what else is a small business? Every McDonald’s franchise in the country is a small business. Well, probably not every one, as I guess a guy who owns ten of them is probably no longer a small business under the law. Unless, I suppose, he owns two small businesses that each own five, because I can’t imagine it would be hard to do that and still qualify for small business loans and small business tax credits and small business salt-of-the-earth stuff. And fine, whatever—a lot of those guys are great people, treat their employees as well as they can as McDonald’s owners, donate a lot of money, fund scholarships, sponsor teams, all that stuff. Good on them. But I’m not going to go all teary-eyed about them as the backbone of the great American rugged individualism, and they sure as hell don’t need government support to be competitive against—who? Other McDonald’s owners? Other small-businessmen running pizza joints and taquerias?

What I’m saying is that while the whole premise of the question was a lie, the whole fucking premise of the whole fucking conversation is the biggest pile of bullshit you ever laid eyes on. And the it’s bullshit when Our Only President talks about investment in small businesses, too—that investment in all those franchises is getting sucked right up to the corporation, and the investment into Nemschoff is getting sucked right up to corporation, and that’s not even starting in on the hedge fund managers who are their own corporations. And it’s all, all, all bullshit. It’s not the backbone of the economy. It’s bullshit. It’s not the driving force of employment. It’s bullshit. It’s not the Real America. Do you know what it is? It’s bullshit, is what. Bullshit.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Wait, a small business is supposed to have a billion dollars a year in net sales? I'm doing it wrong, because I hardly ever sell even half of that.

So does Glen Kessler--or rather, he calls Obama's answer to a "wrong-headed question" "perfectly reasonable".

Even bullshit makes good fertilizer if you compost it long enough, so this isn't even good enough to be bullshit.

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