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Micro-Business Owners Concerned About Federal Deficit

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By Kristie Arslan

The federal government recently announced that it has reached the debt ceiling and has shuffled funds to meet the nation’s financial commitments. Meanwhile,  micro-businesses and the self-employed believe that spending for domestic programs, job creation initiatives, tax cuts and federal subsidies should be scaled back to address the deficit, according to a recent survey by the NASE.

Day in and day out, the self-employed are required to manage their budgets and balance their books. It puts our economy at future risk for our federal government not to do the same. This sentiment was echoed in survey responses.

Ninety-three percent of micro-businesses were either moderately or significantly concerned about the federal budget deficit. Seventy-four percent said that the federal budget deficit is a significant problem that needs to be addressed immediately. In a distant second place at 17 percent were respondents who indicated that the federal budget deficit is a significant problem that needs to be addressed after our economy fully recovers.

When asked about the best way to reduce the budget deficit, 63 percent of micro-business owners indicated that cutting federal spending was their top priority. Thirty-two percent said both cutting spending and raising taxes were needed.

The top three proposals for tackling the deficit that micro-business owners favored were:

  • Minimizing Social Security benefits for upper income recipients (65 percent);
  • Increasing the payroll tax cap on wages (at present individuals only pay Social Security taxes on wages up to $106,800) (60 percent);
  • Repealing and/or defunding the health care reform law (59 percent).

Contrary to the larger business population, the self-employed also favored (55 percent) phasing out the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 as a way to curb costs.

Proposals that were opposed by the self-employed included an increase in the federal gas tax (77 percent), imposing a national sales tax (69 percent) and the elimination of all tax deductions and subsidies (61 percent).

According to the survey, the self-employed and micro-business communities indicated a willingness to do their share to ensure that our federal budget deficit is addressed and our nation’s economy steadily grows. However, they were not as confident in the willingness of policymakers to step up and make the political sacrifices necessary to get the job done.

Ninety-six percent of micro-business owners had little to no confidence that Congress would make the right decisions about addressing the federal budget deficit. When asked the same question about the Obama administration, 82 percent had little to no confidence.

Yet, overwhelmingly, self-employed respondents indicated they were very (24 percent) or somewhat willing (46 percent) to make sacrifices in the form of higher taxes or a cut in government benefits if it meant that our federal budget deficit would be addressed in the next five years.

More information, including full survey results and methodology, is available online at NASE Survey Results.

Kristie L. Arslan is the Executive Director of the NASE and manages the NASE legislative affairs program in the association's Washington, D.C. office. You can contact Arslan at

Read this article in PDF form here.  

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