Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just Because You Didn't Build Anything...

Tim from Colorado e-mails to note that President Obama's views on business success being a collective enterprise were no doubt formed in large part by his own experiences:

We shouldn't be surprised by President Obama's statement that successful business people aren't successful by themselves, because that is his reality. Coming out of the Chicago Political Machine, that is exactly how Obama got where he is; he has had people do things for him and help elevate him at every step of his career. For most of his life any success he achieved has been with the help of others; there's even speculation that he didn't write his biography.

The problem I have with his statement is exactly the point Mr. Murray makes: Obama has no clue what it takes for individual success because he has never personally risked anything to achieve his success. He has never put his home up for collateral on a small business loan, never worked 16-hour days for months straight to get a business off the ground, and never had to worry if he could make his payroll the next month.

To say that people are successful because infrastructure provided by government was available, and the inference being that taxpayers should be more than happy to pay for even more unnecessary infrastructure is absurdly ridiculous.

If that were true everybody who drives on an interstate or rides on Amtrak would operate a successful business; it takes more than a driver's license or subway pass.

Therein lies the gaping hole in President Obama's argument. Millions of Americans could theoretically take advantage of the infrastructure so generously provided by our munificent government to create businesses that provide jobs and drive the economic engine of the country yet few actually have the courage, insight, fortitude, and stamina to do so. To try to take credit away from those that do by chastening them with a line like “you didn’t build that” is a disservice to those fighting hard to succeed today and a disgrace to the ideals of American opportunism that once were commonly shared across the land.