Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I was just watching the debates and Kerry was making a comment about tax cuts for "Small Business Owners". Kerry mentioned that Bush's ownership in a timber company would qualify him as a small business owner under the Republican definition. Bush said, he didn't own a timber company and made a joke about it. It looked for a moment like Kerry had gotten factchecked by Bush. The page seems to be down, but from the Goggle cache:
President Bush himself would have qualified as a "small business owner" under the Republican definition, based on his 2001 federal income tax returns. He reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise. However, 99.99% of Bush's total income came from other sources that year. (Bush also qualified as a "small business owner" in 2000 based on $314 of "business income," but not in 2002 and 2003 when he reported his timber income as "royalties" on a different tax schedule.)
Nice try President.

Thanks to Jess' for the link

UPDATE: ABC just picked up this story from too. ;-)


So...George Bush owns a timber company like I own Wal-Mart (I actually do have a couple of shares). Big difference in what John Kerry was actually accusing him of.

Andrew, the point is that under the Republican definition, even owning a timber company like you own Wal-Mart qualifies you for the tax exemption status of a "Small Business Owner".

Actually, you have to have income from that I think. From the FactCheck article:

A Bush-Cheney '04 ad claims Kerry would raise taxes on 900,000 small businesses and "hurt jobs." But it counts every high-salaried person who has even $1 of outside business income as a "small business owner" -- a definition so broad that even Bush and Cheney have qualified while in office. In fact, hundreds of thousands of those "small businesses" have no jobs to offer.

I don't think the point here is really that Kerry would raise taxes would hit high-salaried people but that it would also hit small businesspeople whose sole or main source of income is from their business and who, because they own a business, employ other significantly less wealthy people. Small businesses are still a hug source of employment in this country and I think anything that negatively effects them is something to think about. I'm concerned at the idea that we shoudln't do something that might help a few wealthy people no matter how much it hurts people who are less wealthy.

Which leads me to something I've never really understood about this whole issue. We have a progressive tax stricutre in this country which means the more you earn the higher a percentage of your earnings you pay in taxes. Granted there are measures to avoid taxes but by and large they still don't reduce the effective tax rate to zero. Which is why I've have been for a long time for either a flat tax or a national sales tax. No loops holes, no getting around it. If you earn above a certain amount you pay 10% or whatever and that's it. If you donate to charity, good for you, you still pay 10%. That way we can get past all this petty grabage about how much taxes the wealth should pay.

This whole garbage liberals and democrats fill the airwaves with about the Rpublican pandering to the wealthy is a freakin smoke screen anyway. The Democratic party is just as beholden to big business and wealthy people as the republican party. If it were that big a deal to Kerry let's seem him just write a check to the IRS and say, "You know what? Us super wealthy people ought to bear a greater portion fo the burden anyway."

Bush has part ownership of a timber company. Big deal. The real problem is that he is either, a) deliberately lying about not being invested in such a company, or b) doesn't have the mental capacity to fulfill his Presidential responsibilities while maintaining a vague notion of what his assets are. This analysis can also be applied to how he and his administration have wielded America's military power: with lies or incompetence. Maybe both.

Using cached info can be risky. FactCheck just fact checked themselves on that timber company:

(Oct 9; CORRECTION: What we originally reported as a "timber-growing" enterprise is actually described on Bush's tax return as an "oil and gas production" concern, the Lone Star Trust. We were confused because The Lone Star Trust currently owns 50% of another company, "LSTF, LLC", described on Bush’s 2003 financial disclosure forms as a limited-liability company organized "for the purpose of the production of trees for commercial sales." So, Bush does own part interest in a tree-growing company, but the $84 came from an oil and gas company and we should have reported it as such.)

Not that it really matters what kind of business the $84 came from.

Now, for the trickle-back effect (with apologies to Trackback), let's see if Joi factchecks himself in his rss feed and his original article. :)

That article's great; I was concerned when I found out that is an Annenberg property - I figured that by being selective in terms of what they chose to take on, they'd manage to spin things pretty hard to the left. Fortunately my worries were not borne out - it turns out they're pretty equal-opportunity in terms of calling "bullshit" on stuff, and their commentary on the long-anticipated lapse of the ban-on-guns-with-certain-cool-looking-cosmetic-features in the US was uncommonly on-base considering what I've come to expect from news organizations (see )

Kerry looked really quite stupid as President Bush said that. Kerry laughed at himself, that prooves how much of a faggot he is...

Ryan - Wow. With friends like you, Bush doesn't need any enemies!

I think Kerry has been pretty clear that the $200,000 tax figure on income, as far as self-employed people or small businesses, would apply to ones' profits, not your gross income..

And Kerry has stated many times that his main tax strategy would be to repeal Bush's 'tax cut' for those who fall into the top 1% of income, the wealthiest people in the US.

There is a good analysis at the Citizens For Tax Justice web site. (

But is that really such a high price to pay compared to Bush's very deceptive alternative, which CTJ says would be a shift to regressive sales taxes..and huge service cuts - resulting in much higher local and state taxes, to make up for the Federal cuts..

BTW, has anyone been following the net threads on Bush's strange left side facial rigidity during the debate last night? Bush may have had a stroke.. which would explain the bulge on his back.. it may be a "LifeVest" - basically a portable defibrillator..

If you look at you'll see that the shape of the LifeVest matches the bulge.. It's kind of sad, heart problems are pretty serious. If this was true and I were him, if it was me, I would *not* run for this second term. It could kill me.

But at this late date, could/would Cheney step in, run for President, and win the election?

He *also* has had heart problems..

If this all turns out to be true, it would appear to be a very complicated, difficult moral situation...

We all know now that BUSH had a mini- stroke. Now the media needs to step up to the plate and ask Bush...