So … small businessman! How does that sit with you? You took your money and put it at risk. You worked perhaps as many as 80 hours a week to get things running. You had your ups and downs, but you persevered. Vacations? Are you kidding? Maybe it was five years into your new business venture before you ever took a vacation. Every penny you could scrounge up … every spare minute you could find … all went into your business. While others believed that their role was simply to do their nine-to-five bit five days a week for someone else, you had another game plan --- and it worked. Here you are with your successful small business. You employ perhaps a dozen people or so. You take vacations now. You might even have a vacation time-share on the coast. You just bought a new car for the first time in your life. You’re thinking that you’ve done pretty good chasing that American dream, and you’re justifiably proud of yourself. Then along comes Barack Obama to tell you that this business you sweated over for so many years? Well … you didn’t build that.
Does that work for you?
Let’s delve a little deeper in Obama’s remarks.
Dear Ruler tells us “There was a great teacher in your life.” Right – there very well may have been. But that teacher is, in her own right, a businesswoman. Like most every other college student, that teacher went to college in order to develop a skill to put to use in our free market. Her’s (or his) would be a business of one employee perhaps, but a business nonetheless. The teacher is a businesswoman with a product to sell; her knowledge and her teaching skills. She takes that product to the marketplace to find a buyer; perhaps a government school system, or a private school. She might even begin a tutoring service operating out of an office in a business complex. The businesswoman/teacher is then free to sell her product to whomever she wishes. Perhaps income will be her motivation; perhaps location. Whatever the motivation, she decides when and to who she, as a businesswoman, will sell her product; and when she will withdraw that product from the market to seek greener pastures. She’s not there solely to make something happen for someone else. She’s there to earn a living, just as is the businessman. She didn’t “give” anything to her students. She sold her services to those students and their parents eager for them to be educated.
But let’s move past the teacher thing … and look more closely at that “somebody else made that happen” line. Just who is Obama referring to? Just who helps someone build a business? First you might have the bank that provides the business loan. There, again, you have a private entity with a product to sell … cash. The budding businessman needs that cash. So the bank sells the cash to the businessman – at a markup -- or interest. The businessman then agrees to pay for the product – the cash – plus the interest over a period of time. Here were two businesses working together in the free market. One needed the cash; the other had the cash. An agreement was made to buy and to sell. Businessmen engaged in free enterprise. That’s what made that happen. The bank didn’t just come along to make the successful business happen. Instead, the bank merely engaged in commerce with the entrepreneur.
Maybe Obama is talking about the workers the businessman hired to manufacture or create the product he wished to sell. Yes .. those people helped to build the business as well. But once again, we’re talking about businessmen engaging in commerce. The worker had a skill; perhaps in information technology, or marketing. Maybe it was just good old hard labor. Whatever it was, the employee was a businessman with a skill that he bargained and sold to the other businessman to be used in growing a business. The government didn’t assign that worker to the businessman .. it was all a free and voluntary association in a free market economy. This is not a situation where the worker made the business happen for the businessman. The relationship between an employer and an employee is that of two people engaged in commerce. One with a product to sell, the other with a need for that product. Supply and demand. Commerce happens. The government’s role? In relation to the agreement between employer and employee the government’s principal role is to enforce contracts and adjudicate contracts disputes.
Obama – again – grew up hating capitalism. He was taught by his father and mother, and by his mother’s subsequent companions, that people became successful in free enterprise environments only by exploiting others. Obama sees every successful and wealthy businessman as someone living off of the spoils of a system that victimized those at the lower end of the income scale --- and he sees it as his job to make things right by taking money from the evil rich – who, after all, don’t need it – and giving it to his voter base.
Hopefully this time Caesar Obammus has jumped yet another shark. There are many successful businessmen out there who deeply resent Obama’s assertion that they owe their successes to someone other than themselves and their customers. They now clearly see Obama as a threat. Certainly Obama’s myrmidons will be no more eager to vote for him after his inane comments than they were before. We can hope, though, that Obama’s disdain for and complete lack of understanding of entrepreneurship will shake a few independents off their couches.