Remember Joe the Plumber? Of course you do. Because he won’t go away. His new gig: frontman for a group called IRSvote.com, which advocates (loudly, thanks to Joe’s video) abolition of all federal taxes and their replacement with a national sales tax. We were figuring that, since Joe is making so much dough from his book, this is his way of paying less to the IRS. Then we realized the sales tax the guy must fork out on lumberjack shirts alone. Timber! Anyway, if you agree with Joe, you can go to his website and call a 900 number to voice your support. All calls cost 99 cents. The site says 50 percent of that goes to phone companies and advertising and the rest to vague items like “salaries for team,” “platform costs” and “leftover after other costs.” We’re guessing this translates to: money for Joe. (Maybe he’s not making so much dough from his book, after all.)
Coming soon: web sales tax? We were wondering if Joe the Plumber buys his plaid shirts online. If so, he may soon be paying his beloved sales tax for those — and all other — Internet purchases. As discussed at Yahoo Tech, Congress is seriously considering a nationwide Web sales tax. This is not popular with Amazon and other online retailers but state governments like the idea because their sales-tax collections are at a 50-year low. Taxes would be delivered to the states and municipalities where buyers live.
Whew! We’re glad that’s over. We mean the recession. Watching CNBC, we figured the economy must be back on the sunny side of the Street. But someone’s always got to point out the emperor’s state of undress and in this instance it’s small-business owners. Newsweek blogger Kevin Kelly, who also owns a packaging company, wrote recently to say that small-business owners he knows (him included) are still getting trampled and have yet to see the “green shoots” pointed out by Ben Bernanke, et al. “Call us pessimists but we’re not sure the green shoots aren’t just weeds.”
Q1? NFG. The bad news for small business is not just anecdotal. A new survey from BizBuySell.com shows far fewer businesses were sold in the first quarter of this year than in Q1 2008 — 36 percent fewer, to be exact.