lincoln.jpgThis morning on the Business of Software forum someone started a thread “Obama won! Is his tax plan going to effect ISV? (sic)
A lot of things were and will be said there, but one post by Steve McLeod who lives in Cologne, Germany caught my eye. He said about the U.S. election, in effect, “So what? What does it matter?”
Here’s why it matters Steve:
– Obama’s central overwhelming message was that this country must change. And the country – with the highest percentage turnout in a century – overwhelmingly agreed.
Say for the sake of polite argument President-elect Obama’s campaign proposals become law, word for word, Jan. 21st. It doesn’t work that way, but let’s say it did.
Yes, that means if you are making over $250K a year, you will be taxed on the amount above that number as you would have in 1999 – which by the way was a hell of a better year by any measure than this one.
It also means that as a microISV you could finally get affordable health care. And that large number of people who have been chained to their jobs because they were afraid to lose their health care if they quit, could quit.
I don’t know how many people are in that category – no one does – but I do know several people in the IT sector who have told me personally that the difficulty of getting health insurance as a startup has kept them from making the jump.
2 more reasons it matters to microISVs worldwide.
The U.S. economy – and given how the world works, the global economy – is in serious trouble right now with much worse predicted – and that means your microISV or startup is in trouble too. On top of that, we have the sub-prime mortgage/credit freeze/unpoliced Wall St. malware that has deleted trillions of dollars of wealth worldwide and has by no means been checked.
You do not find wifi in shanty towns. You don’t buy software no matter how great it is when you or your company are fighting for survival. If you are a startup, you want your customers to have money in their pockets and hope in their hearts – not be in financial survival mode.
I don’t know if President Obama can make the looming recession less worse and take the insanity out of the global credit system, but I hope so.
Which brings me to my last point, and it’s frankly an American, not a microISV/startup, point.
I am so proud of my country today.
Two hugely, deeply important things happened last night. The ugly wound of racism in my country has finally and forever been healed, and we took a huge step back from the red state/blue state hate that has been tearing this country apart for the last 20 years.
Yes, of course I know there are just as many people in this country today that hate and fear others because of the color of their skin as there was yesterday. But the fact and the symbol of electing the first African-American President puts paid to a long outstanding bill, a festering evil idea that has cost this country and all of its citizens so much for so long.
I hope it also rooted out those on both sides that have to gain power fanned a recent kind of hate that has been growing in my country – the hatred of a country splitting politically and culturally into Red America and Blue America. No, it doesn’t mean we’re all going to go hug a tree or get blind drunk at a NASCAR race or set aside huge differences on dozens of issues.
But it does mean we can set aside the hate.
I watched first McCain then Obama last night. They said it better than I:
First, John McCain:

“I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.”

And Barack Obama:

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”

Hope won last night Steve, hope over hate. And that’s a good, good thing.


  1. I wish you had actually given us some hard-hitting information on What President Obama means for Micro ISVs. This is an extraordinarily complex subject and it seems like you kind of swept the details under the rug in favor of a show of belated patriotism.
    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the article and I enjoy your site. But I need more information than “maybe MicroISVs will be able to afford healthcare.” That is in no way a foregone conclusion and even if it were: can’t we have some more details?
    Because the fact is, small businesses will probably be taxed MORE, not less. Maybe Micro ISVs are shielded from that, somewhat, if they make less than X. But I have a feeling most of them — the successful ones, at any rate — make more than X.
    So it’s sort of a double-edged sword.

  2. Bob Walsh Reply

    Anon –
    1. I wish I had more details to share. There’s months if not years of detail-setting ahead re both taxes and health care.
    2. It not belated patriotism. It’s the pride that comes when you see something you’re a part of do the right thing and become better for it.
    3. Yes, I agree with you: small businesses on the profit over $250K, depending on your legal structure (sole proprietorship, LLC/S Corp, C Corp, etc.) Will Pay More Taxes. If that also means I spend say $400/month on health insurance instead of $800, if it means my customers have more money to spend, if – just maybe – I live in a country where 8 out of 10 people think things are getting worse, not better, that’s a price I will gladly pay.
    4. For years, it’s been cool in the IT world to treat “evil politics” as something rancid, worthless and corrupt. I don’t think we in IT or this country can afford to leave politics to unsupervised politicians any longer. I hope every single person who got interested in politics this cycle stays interested. And yes, I mean You!
    5. For my part, I will do my best as all this plays out to try to fairly report on it from a microISV/startup point of view. I hope you find it useful.

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