Thanks to Brian Daugjberg in Longview. He sent me an email this week that served to inform me that there’s a little-known landmine in the recently passed health care bill. You may know what a 1099 form is. It’s what businesses are required to send to contractors, consultants and temporary employees for whom no regular paychecks are issued. It serves to provide a way for the IRS to pick up income that isn’t withheld from a regular paycheck.

Until now, businesses have not had to send 1099s to other incorporated businesses. But the health care law modifies the section of the Internal Revenue code that deals with 1099s and now, I will have to send a 1099 to every vendor on my list from whom I purchase goods or services exceeding $600 per year. All of our customers will have to do the same thing for us.

Do you own a business? Did you know this was in the health care bill? I’ll bet you didn’t.

How much will it cost me to keep track of all of our purchases from all of our vendors and get 1099s sent to the IRS and those vendors by January 31 of every year?

I don’t know.

But I can’t wait to go tell Cathy, my business manager, that this just became an additional part of her job.

And, by the way, if someone can tell me how KTBB sending a 1099 to Office Depot advances the cause of quality, affordable health care for every American, I’ll be glad to listen.

I had no idea this was buried in the 2,000 page health care bill. And on the subject of health care, what’s it going to cost me going forward under the new law?

I don’t know.

But I’m sure not thinking it’s going to cost me less.

This is part of a pattern.

They’re about to pass a 2,000-page “financial overhaul” bill. What’s that going to do to my cost of credit and banking?

I don’t know.

Next up is the energy bill that has come to be called cap and trade. It will run 2,000 pages or more as well. We don’t use as much energy as a lot of businesses but right now I have three transmitters running 24/7 together with the large air conditioners needed to carry the heat away. Am I going to be taxed on that energy under cap and trade? Probably. How much?

I don’t know.

It’s the “I don’t know” that’s stalling the economy.

Business owners, particularly small business owners, have snapped into the fetal position and pulled the covers over their heads.

The uncertainty brought about by Obama’s soaring speeches that lead to 2,000 page bills filled with spiders and snakes (like the 1099 provision in the health care bill) is what’s keeping the American economy stuck in second gear.

If you want to fix the economy, Mr. President, go play golf. Promise to play every day. With you on the links, we business owners will not have to fear the unknown of your next grandiose idea and the economy will grow on its own.