When I heard President Obama tell a crowd in Roanoke, Virginia
on July 13th of this year that no business owner had built their
business without government help, I felt like the boy who asked his hero
Shoeless Joe Jackson to reassure him that he wasn't a cheater. (The actual Obama quote was, “You didn’t
build that business. You didn’t do it.”)
For the last 30+ years, I've admired the hard work,
intelligence, and sacrifice of small business owners as they pursue almost the
last bastion of the American dream. I've
been in mourning since Mr. Obama’s comment that they didn't build anything, and
that I really should shift my admiration to the almighty government. (I guess I'll just have to ignore that pesky
first commandment about false gods.)
But my disappointment is minor compared to the problem that
I'm having explaining to my wife and my kids where I was all these years when I
claimed to be building my business! I
really could use some big government help with that one, Mr. President.
Especially in this past month, when I was swamped with work
at my CPA firm, that I didn't build, while starting a new small business iPad magazine that I
guess I also didn't build.
All kidding aside, though:
This is insulting to small business owners on so many different levels! More important to our economic security and
freedom, it exhibits a total lack of understanding of what this country was
founded on and what makes it work.
This comes from an administration that has no idea how hard
it is to start and grow a business. No
part of starting and growing a business is easy. The proof of this is in the fact that 80
percent of businesses fail in the first five years.
I built my
business! There, I said it!
Yes, of course I had help.
From my family, my employees, and my clients.
Yes, I used the government roads. Of course I paid my share of taxes for the
right to use these roads.
Yes, I used the government-invented Internet. Of course it took geniuses in the private
sector to make it what it really is today.
The government’s only care, and rightly so, was how it could be used for
national defense. Oh, and I paid taxes
for the right to use the Internet,too (If you don’t believe me, just check your
The government didn’t work 40+ hours a week while I went to
school to get my accounting degree.
The government wasn’t with me when I worked 60-80 hours a
week for the 15 years before I opened
my business learning my profession.
The government wasn’t there when I took a chance, quit a
well-paying job and started a business where I had no clients and no income.
The government wasn’t with my wife when she left three
little kids at home and went back to work while I grew my business to a point
where it could pay the bills.
The government wasn’t there when I ran up $60,000 in credit
card bills and refinanced the family home in order to survive the first ten
The government wasn’t with me when I made thousands of sales
presentations in order to grow my business to where it is now.
The government wasn’t with me for the last 21 years when I
worked late and on weekends to get the work done for my clients.
The government wasn’t with me and my wife when we struggled
to pay our employees and our vendors—often before we paid ourselves!
What President Obama
and the liberal Democrats don’t seem to understand is that the free enterprise
system rewards initiative, hard work, risk taking, and sacrifice. No, it isn’t always a fair system. It’s just a better system than any other
system out there. Capitalism has been
the greatest source of prosperity in our history. Nothing even comes in a close second!
Or maybe they do understand it, and they just don’t believe
it is fair. Let’s face it: There will be winners and losers in a free
market based on what the market place decides it wants, and that’s just not
fair in the liberal’s mind. Our country
was founded on the right to pursue happiness and success. But a liberal wants equal results. And that’s socialism!
Socialism is like a baseball game where every batter is
automatically given first base. Fair,
but boring. Also, why try to get better
at hitting a baseball? Why bother trying
to become an elite pitcher? The free
market system gives everyone the right to have a turn at bat. What you do with it is up to you.
I personally believe Mr. Obama was not being stupid and this
was an accidental slip that let us see what he really thinks. By claiming that no business owner could have
built their business without the government, he is laying claim to our
profits. If profits are not possible without the government, then they really
don’t belong to us, and the big central government can take whatever it wants
in the form of higher taxes. Don’t
believe me? Read my article on the
coming Taxamageddon for the opening volley in this seizure by the government of
small business profits.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if it’s stupidity or a planned
move to eliminate the profit motive.
President Obama’s philosophy is simply a disaster for small business
owners and, consequently, the country.
Accordingly, I am begging all small business owners and
their employees to join me in voting him and all liberal Democrats out of
office this November. The survival of
your business may just depend upon it!
Wayne J. Belisle, CPA