Weekly Opinion Editorial
DON’T APOLOGIZE FOR HARD WORK!
by Steve Fair
At a campaign stop in Virginia last week, President Obama said, “If you’ve got a business,. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Conservatives jumped on that statement like a chicken on a June bug. He defended his comments and said they were taken out of context. What Obama actually said was that if you had been successful in business, government had helped by providing the infrastructure (roads, bridges, public education) that helped make your business successful. While it is true that government builds roads, the President forgot who funds the government - the people. The truth is the government has no money to build infrastructure with until people pay taxes, fees, penalties, so we are in effect, helping ourselves.
The President went on to say, “There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back.”
There are a lot of wealthy successful Americans who do give back, but not in the form of increased tax burdens. These wealthy Americans give back by participating in the free market system and in doing so, they create wealth not only for themselves but their employees. Government can never create wealth- directly or indirectly. The only possible way a government can assist in the creation of wealth, is by creating an economical environment that fosters success. This is accomplished is by limited regulations, taxes, and interference. Government produces nothing- it consumes. The President may be confused about business and job creation because the largest employer in the U.S. is government.
According to Gallup, seventeen percent of U.S. workers work for federal, state, or local government, ranging from 38% in Washington, D.C., to 12% in Ohio. More than a quarter of workers in Washington, D.C., Alaska, Virginia, and Maryland work for government, as do upwards of 15% in the vast majority of states. Oklahoma ranks #8 in the U.S. in percentage of government workers. That is not healthy.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says, "What has made America the greatest country in the history of the world is the ingenuity, creativity and hard work of the American people, and especially those who take enormous personal risk to build a business. Until now, these are qualities we as a country have always celebrated. But to denigrate those efforts and attribute to government the credit that rightly belongs with individuals turns the whole American idea on its head."
While it is true that many successful people did not get there “on their own” as President Obama told us, the help they did get was from others participating in the free market system. The successful individuals in our nation did so by buying goods and services from one another. These successful individuals took financial risks in order to possibly obtain a greater financial reward. The successful business owner is not only intelligent, they are hardworking, goal oriented, business savvy, and creative.
Many successful companies, such as Staples, did have help from companies such as Bain Capital. One of Bain's earliest and most notable venture investments was in Staples, the office supply retailer. Bain’s 4.5 million dollar investment in the company enabled Staples to expand from one store in 1986 to over 2000 stores in 2011. Staples went public in 1989. Bain Capital eventually reaped a nearly sevenfold return on its investment, and Mitt Romney sat on the Staples board of directors for over a decade. Staples is a great example of true job creation- private money creating private wealth.
There are small businesses that have had help from the local communities purchasing their goods or services. They had help with small business loans from local banks. And yes there are some good teachers who teach free market economies, individual liberty, and instill a foundation of basic knowledge to take the risk of business ownership. However the vast majority of teachers in public universities prefer to teach their students about broken socialist systems, welfare states, and instill in their students a false narrative that has been proven over time the be in fact false.
President Obama wants to create jobs, but not job creators. His collectivist philosophy, if fully implemented, would result in a loss of incentive for Americans. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” could become our national creed. Is that what we want in America?