Love for small business is fickle

By ART CULLEN

Small business is right up there with chastity and love, to hear the politicians yammer. They create the jobs. They generate the wealth. They keep rural communities humming. Every politician worth his ambition kneels at the altar of small business on Sunday and then on Monday works like Hades to send said small business through the wringer.

We at The Storm Lake Times with our dozen employees are a small business.

We are expected to collect sales and income taxes, plus the Social Security withholding, for fear of prosecution.

We are expected to offer health insurance to our employees. It has been written into law.

As stated in our inaugural editorial republished July 3, we launched a newspaper in our hometown to reflect the quality of life in Buena Vista County, Iowa.

We did not start out seeking to be a health insurance consultant. But we became one.

We asked to get the health insurance burden off our backs. In return, we got a requirement on what type of insurance we will provide our employees. Apparently we journalism graduates are more efficient health plan administrators than a public system could be.

Next up: We take the place of the Border Patrol and provide security to the nation from the raving hordes of Latin Americans who have invaded our roofing, meatpacking and landscaping crews.

Congress wants to build a wall along the border with drones flying atop to catch the man with water on his back from the Rio Grande. To add suspenders to the belt, the government would require employers to sign up with the clunky computer database called E-Verify that works after a fashion about 75% of the time.

For those who fall into the 25% of E-Verify Nothing category, Lord help them. They will be covered in ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

We have noted this before, but it bears repeating:

The Times started in June 1990. I, the coward brother, came aboard three months later. Brother John was and is the publisher. I had to present a birth certificate, Social Security card and driver license for the files in case I was an illegal alien from County Kilkenny.

Even though John saw me come home in swaddling clothes from the hospital, his testimony that I was indeed born in Storm Lake is not good enough. Barack Obama should know how difficult it is since 30% of the Members of Congress, including our own Rep. Steve King, will not believe the Hawaii Secretary of State.

So let’s say we hire a hard-working, friendly and smart Latino to grease the press and shove paper rolls around. He is graduated from Storm Lake High School. He has what look like good papers. The computer says he is okay but ICE says otherwise. We’re not certain where that leaves the employer.

But if we hire an axe murderer unwittingly, so long as he was born in Galva, we are off the hook.

That’s how much sense the immigration “reforms” contemplated by Congress make.

The left thinks business is out to rape everyone, so let’s give business a good hard poke in this new bill. The right is so beside itself over Mexican marauders that it is willing to wrap up business in even more red tape. On Monday we are trying to fax a form in for worker’s comp, on Tuesday we are filling out a US Department of Labor survey on the number of hours worked in printing last week, and on Wednesday we can run criminal background checks on employees we have known since their birth.

The issue should be between the patient and his doctor, between the pensioner and Social Security, between the immigrant and his government predators.

If they loved small business like they say they do, they would get government off our backs.

We should be in the business of publishing a newspaper. Increasingly, we are in the business of being Dutch Uncles to our employees or surreptitious cops profiling brown people.

Democrats and Republicans conspire to complicate the workings of small business. If an immigration bill passes, it will be a new burden that keeps us from our main work. Don’t believe a word either side says. They don’t care one bit about small business. Know Tom Harkin by his rules: Business must be health care administrators. Know Steve King by his rules: Employers must be immigration cops.

It’s just one more reason this immigration bill should fail. It is, at its heart, dishonest. They tell us they will protect and enhance small business while hiding their fangs behind a smile.