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NFIB Survey: Taxes a Top Problem for Business

1 min readBy: Alan Cole

The National Federation of Independent Business released its latest survey data on the sentiment of small business owners. The results are always worth a look. I wouldn't recommend taking every opinion in it as gospel; business owners are but one type of contributor to the economy, and the perspectives of others are valuable in understanding the economy as well. But it has many great, long-running data series on the perspectives of business owners.

Unsurprisingly, taxes are unpopular:

It's interesting to see the other components change with time. During strong job markets, such as 2005, where employment is high, businesses struggle to find new top talent. A lot of the best talent is already employed. In weaker job markets, like 2010, it's easier to hire talented workers, but lagging sales are a problem. When people don't have jobs, they don't have money to pay for products. Simple enough.

Interest rates are usually not considered a big problem, except around 1981, when the Federal Reserve had raised interest rates to slay inflationInflation is when the general price of goods and services increases across the economy, reducing the purchasing power of a currency and the value of certain assets. The same paycheck covers less goods, services, and bills. It is sometimes referred to as a “hidden tax,” as it leaves taxpayers less well-off due to higher costs and “bracket creep,” while increasing the government’s spending power. .

However, taxes remain a persistently strong choice for biggest problem, regardless of year. Business cycles come and go, but taxes are forever.