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Mr. ISAKSON. Madam President, I thank the distinguished Senator from Mississippi.
I rise to talk about something I know something about, which sometimes in the Senate we do not do very often. I ran a small business for 22 years. I worked in a small business for 33 years. Quite frankly, I think I understand small business as well as anyone who has done it.
I was astounded, disappointed, and perplexed with the President's statement last week that small business did not owe its success to itself, but it owed it to government, because it is the other way around. We would not exist as a Senate were it not for the taxpayers of the United States of America. They send us our cashflow, they send us the money we invest to build the roads and bridges and highways. So it is an affront to those who have risked capital, as Senator Wicker said, those who have taken chances, and those who have succeeded and those who have failed to build small businesses, to employ the American people, to make this great engine of America work.
But I want to just go down a litany for a second of what small business does to make us exist as a Congress and as a government. Every January 15, April 15, June 15, and September 15 businesses pay their quarterly estimate on their taxes. So do independent contractors. Employees pay it every month in withholdings. The cashflow of the United States is not owed to the government; it is owed to the American people by the contributions they make.
Social Security. Every beneficiary of Social Security for their entire life paid 6.2 percent of their income, and their employer matched it with another 6.2 percent, up to $102,500 in income.
Medicare. With no cap whatsoever, 1.35 percent of your income from day one to the day you die goes to the Medicare trust fund.
Talking about medicine for a second, many small businesses--19 percent of American jobs are in health care now. They now have device taxes. If a small business is building an implant for dental work or something for some kind of a heart treatment or something like that, they have an extra tax because of the affordable health care bill. For those who pay dividends or pay out investment income to their investors, they have a new surtax to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. Then we have our ordinary income tax that we all pay on April 15. For our highways, when we fill up our tanks with gas, we pay the motor fuel tax to build our highways. And for our airports, we pay the passenger facility charge that goes to the government to reinvest in our infrastructure.
So it sounds to me as if it is us who owe small business, not small business that owes us. I think if we began acting like people who understood from whence comes our strength, America would begin to come back.
As Senator Wicker said about Mr. Bernanke yesterday, his downward forecast is because business is not deploying capital. People are not making investments. As one who did that, there is one simple reason. We are a nation of uncertainty. Nobody knows what the boundaries are going to be or what the policy is going to be on January 1.
Let me close with one example. On January 1, the estate tax goes back from a $5 million unified credit and exemption and 35-percent rate to a $1 million unified credit and a 55-percent rate. Do you know what that is going to do? That is going to close thousands of small businesses eventually around America because when a small business is owned by a family--a family farm in Mississippi or Georgia--when the owner of that farm dies, and they go to pass their assets on to their heirs, after that $1 million deduction, they owe a 55-percent tax on the rest. Most of their value is in real estate and land, which is depressed. They are forced to liquidate land at suppressed prices to pay an income tax within 9 months of death. That is wrong and that should not happen. But if--as Senator Murray said yesterday or the day before--we allow every tax treatment we have today to go back to the 2001 rates, small businesses in America will be hit again with a tax that will force them to close or to liquidate.
It is time we understood from whence we get our strength. It is the American taxpayers. As we consider them and their investment in small business, we will make better decisions, we will act faster, and America will be better, and America will be stronger.
I see the Senator from Utah is on the Senate floor. I would like to turn to him.
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