Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Redefining" Small Business

Over at the Washington Monthly's web site, Steven Benen makes the following comments this morning:

"This week, "small business" no longer means what most of us think it means...The McCain campaign ta[k]es a comically expansive view of what constitutes a "small business." "

He then comments somewhat sarcastically on the introduction of the CEO of Marine Concepts (a firm with $67 million in nanual revenues) as a small business owner.

One would think that someone covering politics in Washington might know about the Small Business Administration, and that it might occur to him that the SBA might have a definition, or a set of definitions, of what a small business is. And that would be correct. The Small Business Administration defines a "small business" differently, depending on the industry (a table is here).

In general, a small business in agriculture has annual revenues (not net income) of $750,000 or less. In manufacturing, a small business generally employs 500 (sometimes 1,000) workers or less (which would mean, generally something like $15 million to $150 million or less in, again, revenues (not net income). The limit in boat building, which I would assume is Wellcraft Marine's classification, is 500 employees (maximum) to be considered a small business. That's $134,000 in revenues per worker (if Wellcraft marine is at the 500-employee limit), which is not implausible.

I don't expect anyone toknow this without looking it up. But if you're going to comment disparaginly about how someone is using the term "small business," then you should look it up; that's what I did, and it took me less than 5 minutes to find the information Bash McCain, I'm with you on that, but don't misuse facts.


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