Driving the Day: 3/19/12

Mar 19, 2012

Health Care Reform: 4 Inconvenient Truths – POLITICO

Although President Barack Obama promised over and over again that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” it turns out that for a lot of people, that isn’t true. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report issued last week says that 3 to 5 million people could move from employer-based health care programs to government-based programs. Another hard truth about the Affordable Care Act is that the cost of health care is not going to decline, mostly because the main drivers of rising costs – technology, expensive new drugs, and an aging population, among some reasons – have nothing to do with the law. Furthermore, the idea that the health care law will pay for itself is just an educated guess running on the assumption that Congress will let Medicare cuts happen. Finally, Americans have a less favorable view of the health care bill now than they did in April 2010 when it was signed, and people actually seem to know less about what’s in the law now than they did then.

Chinese Copycats Challenge U.S. Small Businesses – USA Today

China's copycat culture is thriving, with Chinese companies producing near duplicates of various products and competing against the businesses that created them. The copycat problem exposes companies to copyright, patent, and trademark infringement. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reports that only 15% of small companies doing business overseas realize U.S. patents and trademarks offer protection only within the United States. Companies should file patents and trademarks in the countries where their products are made and sold.

How Startups Are Key To The Economic Recovery – Tech Crunch

While the U.S. economy continues its steady but uncertain recovery, entrepreneurs who start small businesses comprise a segment of the private sector that is positive and confident about the future. A study from Forrester shows that 78% of U.S. small businesses are expecting growth in the next two years, good news for the jobs market as the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that small businesses have created 64% of net new jobs over the last 15 years. Fast-paced innovation and agility helps grow business, supporting other fast-growing markets in 2012, such as accounting, biotech, and healthcare.

Traps for Small Businesses – The Wall Street Journal

Two changes for 2011 could be bad news for taxpayers who report business or partnership income on their individual tax returns. The first change requires third parties, including credit- or debit- card firms and PayPal, to tell the IRS about their payments to businesses. For 2011 and after, these firms must issue 1099-K forms to the IRS and the taxpayer giving the amount of such payments. While business owners won’t have to report the information on their returns, the IRS can still use the data from third parties in audits. The other potential trap is two new lines on several forms: “Did you make any payments in 2011 that would require you to file Form(s) 1099?” and “If ‘Yes,’ did you or will you file all the required Forms 1099?” With penalties starting at $100 per violation, small business owners must issue 1099 forms to providers of more than $600 worth of services during the year.

Transportation Lobby Sees Road to Short-term Highway Spending Legislation – The Hill

Transportation industry observers are not expecting the House to pass the $109 billion transportation bill that went through the Senate last week before the end of the month. This increases the need for a short-term extension, which both House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Democratic leaders in the Senate have indicated they want to avoid. This would mark the ninth temporary extension of the surface transportation bill that originally expired in 2009. Boehner said he would be open to attempting to pass the Senate’s version of the bill, but his office said this week that no decisions would be finalized by GOP leaders “until they’ve discussed the situation with our members.” Neither the Senate-passed bill nor the House GOP’s bill were on the floor schedule for next week.

In other news…

Gas Prices Forced Us to Put Expansion Plans on Hold – The Washington Post

Transportation Bill Will Get the Country Moving – San Francisco Chronicle

Can Entrepreneurship Be Taught? – The Wall Street Journal

Apple to Decide on Its $98 Billion Cash Pile – REUTERS

Why 3.5 Million Job Openings Isn't Great News – Businessweek

A Platform for Stylepreneurs: Pinterest Meets Online Department Store – Entrepreneur

Why Mindshare Matters More Than Market Share – Inc.

Army of One: Why 21st Century Workers Need to Think Like Entrepreneurs – New York Post

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