Barack Obama???s statement to a Virginia audience that business owners didn???t really build their businesses, because no one can succeed without government as their senior partner, has produced an intense backlash from the business community. I???ll stand by the marker I put down yesterday, and wager that ???If you???ve got a business ??? you didn???t build that??? will go down in history as one of the ???gaffes??? (in reality, accidental bursts of inconvenient honesty) that define the Obama presidency, along with ???the private sector is doing fine,??? and Obama???s assertion that the big mistake of his first timer was his failure ???to tell a story to the American people.???
Twitchy.com collected a tidal wave of Twitter messages from small business owners firing back at the President. One business owner asked the President, ???so who exactly built MY business? You mean I could have just slept all those late nights while someone ELSE built it???? Another, colder response: ???I reject your assertion that others built my business and resent your cavalier attitude toward my efforts.???
A few respondents drove home the point that Barack Obama knows absolutely nothing about running a business of any size, and apparently thinks entrepreneurs spend their days reclining on couches and sipping chardonnay while counting their profits: ???If someone else built my business, why am I the one who lays awake at night wondering how I am going to make payroll???? asked one disgusted businessman, while another declared, ???Feel better now that I know the government built my business for me. I???ll let them stay up nights worrying about it.???
These people have every right to be angry, because President Obama not only displayed a stunning ignorance of capitalism and entrepreneurship, but he also made a point of insulting small business owners who don???t view themselves as wards and servants of the collectivist State. This is one of those rare ???gaffes??? that gets much worse when heard in full context, rather than just the damaging five-second sound bite. ???Look, if you???ve been successful, you didn???t get there on your own,??? the President sneered. ???I???m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.???
These entrepreneurs, like any clear-thinking America, should also be deeply offended that the President used teachers and firefighters as props in his latest phony morality play. People who oppose giving Obama another trillion dollars to tuck into George Kaiser???s pocket are not taking a stand against firemen, roads, and bridges. America is not a mighty government with a vestigial private sector following it through history. Government is a necessary expense that should be kept minimal, not the collective expression of the proletariat???s will, with an indefinite claim on the fruits of all labor.
Dan Danner, president of the National Federation of Independent Business, issued a scathing statement in response to the President: ???His unfortunate remarks over the weekend show an utter lack of understanding and appreciation for the people who take a huge personal risk and work endless hours to start a business and create jobs. I???m sure every small-business owner who took a second mortgage on their home, maxed out their credit cards or borrowed money from their own retirement savings to start their business disagrees strongly with President Obama???s claim. They know that hard work does matter.???
David Chavern, chief operating officer of the Chamber of Commerce, said that in Obama???s eyes, ???success is apparently a collective effort – but where was that ‘collective’ during the periods of risk-taking and failure? The vast majority of businesses fail, period. Every day millions of people put their lives, savings, houses and families on the line and work 20 hours a day just to grab their small slice of the American dream. Where is the collective when all of this is going on? And if the collective is really responsible for success, how come everyone isn???t successful????
Anyone who doubts Obama is ready to suck whatever blood remains out of American small businessmen, through massive tax increases, should be permanently disabused of that fantasy by Obama???s War on Entrepreneurs. The whole point of embracing hard-core collectivist theory is to build hatred and resentment between Obama???s targeted constituents and their bourgeoisie ???exploiters,??? who have stolen the resources of The People and used them to accumulate obscene profits. Now they dare to object when the Great Leader of the proletariat tells them it???s time to give a little back!
Never mind that The Evil Rich, including small business owners who claim $200,000 per year of business income as personal income, are already paying the vast majority of taxes in this country ??? ???enough??? is whatever the Great Leader says is enough. He speaks for The People, and he???s just trying to take back a little of the wealth skimmed from The People???s roads, bridges, and helpful government bureaucracies. The next generation of arrogant smarty-pants entrepreneurs will be unfairly benefiting from The People???s collective health care system, too!
You???d better believe Obama intends to follow up on this kind of talk. Taxmageddon will only be the beginning.