On the campaign trail in Roanoke, Virginia, Barack Obama gave a speech that laid out his view of American small businesses. One line in particular has gotten most of the press. “If you’ve got a business,” the President said, “you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” It was a shocking assertion for an American president to make, asserting to the American people that the successful are not responsible for that success.
But it wasn’t the only line in the President’s soliloquy. Taken in context, the President’s apparent views appear even more disturbing. The President began his argument by mocking people who are proud of their success, saying, “It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.” The cold transcript doesn’t do these comments justice. The President’s mocking tone drew laughter from the crowd, and it revealed Barack Obama’s true feelings about business.
In the President’s view, it’s not the hard work or the talent of entrepreneurs that have built their businesses; it’s some combination of luck and government support.
Immediately after arguing to business people that somebody else made their success happen, President Obama didn’t point to their families, or their workers, or their investors. Instead, he highlighted the government’s contribution. He said, “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
The President’s belief that government makes success happen helps to explain his hostility towards business as well as his latest proposed tax increase. President Obama believes that small businesses owe the government, and he believes they have not been paying their fair share. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are businessmen. Some of us built those businesses from nothing. Others added to what their fathers and grandfathers created. But we can promise you one thing—it was not the government that made our success possible, and this President hasn’t made things any easier. The reams of new regulation that President Obama has piled on top of our businesses don’t make it easier to keep the doors open. The new burdens imposed by Obamacare don’t encourage us to hire new workers, and the President’s proposals for yet more taxes will only make it more difficult to meet a payroll and support our families.
President Obama may look at roads, teachers, and firefighters and see government largesse. But that’s not what we see. We see the dollars of hardworking taxpayers put to use. President Obama has forgotten something important. Government money doesn’t provide anything—the government doesn’t have any money. Every dollar it spends is one of ours, or, in the case of President Obama’s deficits, one of our children’s and grandchildren’s.
Government didn’t build this country, Mr. President. Her people did. We continue to build it today. We aren’t coming to you with our hands out. We don’t need your help. All that we ask is that you get out of our way. And if you do that, then we will do what you’ve spent your entire first term failing to accomplish—getting this economy back on its feet and restoring the prosperity of America.
Delegate Chris Head