The Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the BCS National Championship – and in a few weeks, the Super Bowl – are all coming soon to a television near you.
But what if we all displayed the same disdainful attitudes towards the accomplished athletes on our TV screen that Washington politicians display towards accomplished business owners and executives? And why is it that so many Americans celebrate the individual achievements of people who run fast, throw far, and jump high, but look with suspicion and anger at individuals who earn money creating valuable products and services?
It’s been almost six months since President Barack Obama delivered his now famous “Roanoke Rant,” an event that touched-off a brief debate about the merits of business. While campaigning for re-election last July 13th in Virginia, the President delivered a speech at the city’s “Fire Station #1” – which presumably meant that he had plenty of city government employees in the audience – and, in what seemed like an off-script moment, lambasted private business owners who were disagreeing with his tax hike proposals.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” the President said of business owners. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
After the speech, critics claimed that the President was displaying his preference for taxpayer funded enterprise – in this instance, government schools and transportation systems – over and above privately owned and operated enterprises. The Obama campaign shot-back with their own spin, claiming the President was merely arguing that private businesses are reliant on both the personal initiative and hard work of their owners, along with taxpayer funded public infrastructure. And days later a video popped-up on Youtube showing U.S. Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren in 2011 reciting the exact same rhetoric that President Obama had delivered.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.