Radio talker and MSNBC rock 'em, sock 'em robot Ed Schultz has finally met a tax he doesn't like and which, go figure, affected him directly -- a 10 percent payroll tax imposed by North Dakota on new businesses for their first two years, after which it drops to a seemingly generous two percent.
Schultz, whose family owns a construction business in Fargo, N.D., says the tax has cost their business "into the thousands." His angry rant about it quickly morphed into a gratuituous excuse to bash Republican candidates for president -- you know, those diehard true-believers in higher taxes and job-killing red tape.
Here's Schultz letting loose on this during his radio show Tuesday, after complaining that GOP candidates debating in New Hampshire did not address problems facing owners of small businesses (audio here) --
I will use our small construction company as an example. And, no, I'm not doing this to try to get phone calls and get more jobs. We've got plenty of work, we do. We're very fortunate. We got four crews out working, we're upwards of 20-plus employees and we've grown from six employees to where we are right now. We've bid on a lot of stuff, we've done a lot of stuff. But I want to tell you what I think could be done to help the risk takers, and I am just that, get back into the market with the cash that could be there if government would give the little guy a break. Now, if you're a business owner and you have to meet payroll, you may be able to relate to what I'm saying.
Now, where we do business in the state of North Dakota there's a thing called North Dakota Job Service and that, of course, deals with unemployment. If you're a start-up business, you have to pay 10 percent of your payroll, no matter what that is, for the first two years, because the failure rate is high. Ten percent. Ten percent. If you could get 10 percent on a CD, would you invest? You're damn right you would. If you could get a guaranteed 10 percent on an investment in the stock market, would you do it? Well, hell ya, you would! There isn't anybody out there right now that would pass up 10 percent. And I'm trying to give you a visual, if you could imagine the severity of what 10 percent is to a business owner who is starting up.
So we went through the start-up costs of having to pay 10 percent of our salary to the state, North Dakota Job Service, for the first two years. Why? Because somebody else failed?! Wait a minute! I'm in this for the long haul! I have the capability to write the check! I'm not going to fail! Why are you sticking it to me?! I don't plan on laying anybody off, I plan on making it! So the mindset by the Republicans is negative off the top. Am I picking on the old state? Yes I am, because it's controlled by the Republicans in the House and the Senate.
Now, after two years, if you're still in business, that now drops down to two percent. I still think that's too high! Why isn't it one percent?
Why stop there, Ed -- how about zero percent? Sounds to me like this is a government-run employment agency -- for bureaucrats. The Mafia engages in a similar practice of shaking down owners of small businesses. Legally this is known as extortion. At least when gangsters do it they don't pretend to be motivated by altruism.
Is it much of a stretch to wonder if the jobless rate in North Dakota would drop if entrepreneurs weren't hit up with a 10 percent payroll tax -- on top of everything else they pay to the local, state and federal governments?
Schultz elaborated --
Why isn't it attached to the amount of loans that I've got out against the company and the kind of risk that I'm taking? Why isn't it some formula that's set up that proves that I'm serious about being successful, I can be successful, and I shouldn't have to pay this extra money to the state because they claim that they need a fund. That's BS! I wish I could swear right now! This is the kind of stuff that I want to hear from people who know how to make payroll, who know what this is all about! This is financial rape, in my opinion. Now, 10 percent?! For the first two years?! OK, so we weather the storm and you know how often we had guys on unemployment? I don't know the exact figure, but I can tell you, well I was told, it's far less than other companies. Well, where's my rebate? Do you know how much money that is? It's into the thousands.
Schultz further stated the payroll tax is actually 11 percent, the added one percent allegedly needed to cover the costs of workplace injuries. He said it galls him this takes place while Congress just approved extension of tax breaks for oil companies (audio here) --
What do I get? I don't get squat! Where's my break? Where's my subsidy? I don't get squat! You know what I get? I get tight credit. I get every bank sniffing my shorts. I get a 10 percent, then I get an 11 percent. Tell me why I want to do this?! And I know I speak for millions of small business owners across the country. This is what, and they say that this is Obama's fault? Oh no, no, no, no. No. no, no. This isn't President Obama's fault. This is the Republican Party and the way they have refused to go to bat for those out there who are willing to get into the market and do something with their capital.
And I didn't hear it from Romney, I didn't hear it from Pawlenty. Well, look at their job record. They didn't create squat when they were governor! And they all are blaming President Obama on job creation? How many jobs has Michele Bachmann created? How about Newt? How many jobs has he created? What do these people know about making payroll? You know how most of them make their money? They go out and beg for it from rich donors and they set up some think tank and that's how they survive.
But when it comes to checks and balances and services and services rendered, they ain't there. The Republicans are phonies when it comes to business!
Looks like Schultz is undergoing yet another metamorphosis. He used to be conservative, then decided liberalism was a better fit.
Now he has a new persona -- Ed Schultz, tea partier.