“You Didn’t Build That Business” in Full Context

I watch Fox News every now and then for the creative editing that happens.  Like when Sean Hannity shows footage of a Tea Party rally happening in DC in late Fall but the video images are clearly from a summertime event. 

There’s a furor over comments President Obama made that have been taken out of context. Our friends at the OC Register’s editorial/opinion desk have been having a ball with that, as it fits with the selective reporting of facts they do.

What the President was trying to say is that for every entrepreneur, no matter what you do and how you do it, there is a measure of support that comes from government to help you grow your business.  Government is almost a silent partner. 

If you use email and the Web for your business.  You didn’t build that; government research and private development helped make it happen.  Do you ship a product?  The government provides roads, bridges, rail and water traffic and regulated air routes to get your product to market.  You have people working for you who are smart, can read, write and do their jobs. More than likely, they were educated in public schools.  Does your business have a lot of high value inventory? Police and fire departments are there to protect your building from crime and fire.

Here’s what Obama actually said in full context:

We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make some more cuts in programs that don’t work, and make government work more efficiently…We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more …

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. 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.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. 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. 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 point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for president – because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”

 These remarks are similar to ones uttered by Massachusetts senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.  They are completely valid and Obama is right.

As someone who runs a successful small business, I’ll tell you the President is right.  I gain far more benefit from what the government provides that helps me conduct business than I ever pay in taxes.

  10 comments for ““You Didn’t Build That Business” in Full Context

  1. junior
    July 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    That’s what happens when BHO isn’t reading from his teleprompter.

    “Critics have mocked Obama’s routine use of the teleprompter, including in speeches to schoolchildren. And the new use of written notes appears intended to trade away the smooth, distant demeanor of teleprompter rhetoric for a little more immediacy and vigor.”

    Oops .. his ideology slipped out.

  2. Chris
    July 23, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Exactly, he is trying to warm us up to socialism.

  3. Allan Bartlett
    July 24, 2012 at 1:07 am

    It wasn’t a Freudian slip or taken out of context Dan. The man is an unvarnished socialist.

    • July 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

      Um … your evidence, Allan? It sure isn’t here.

  4. Pedroza for City Council
    July 24, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Me thinks Allan spends too much time with snakes. All the racist things Ron Paul allowed in his newsletter could be considered out of context but obama’s statement as a whole cannot be

  5. Nee
    July 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    “As someone who runs a successful small business, I’ll tell you the President is right. I gain far more benefit from what the government provides that helps me conduct business than I ever pay in taxes.”

    WOW, that says it all. And who, exactly, do you think ‘government’ gets their money from?? It does not form out of thin air. Someone else is paying your way, dummy. Government makes no money by itself. They take it from others so they can give it to you, and you dare say, “I gain far more benefit from what the government provides that helps me conduct business than I ever pay in taxes..” HOW incredibly abusive of you. You are being TRULY stupid, and those who pay for your luxurious government benefits do not appreciate it. It might be best, should you decide to persist in your ill gained attitudes, that you don’t profess your parasitical nature to the rest of the world.

    • junior
      July 25, 2012 at 7:01 am

      “Like – Like – Like”! – except you could have left out the “stupid” comment. Although I am not sure what other word/words would convey a similar sentiment without the personal degradation aspect.

    • Pedroza for City Council
      July 25, 2012 at 8:41 am

      New clearly doesn’t understand the concept of the economies of scale. He reveals himself to be the stupid one here

  6. Mikail
    July 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    The amateur right wing hacks always find their way to the liberal blogs. I’m more concerned with who is directing them to troll. If they were actually here to read another point of view, they wouldn’t come in with the same tired teabag script. YOU ARE BORING ME TO DEATH. I frequently disagree with the POTUS of both parties at any given time. But lockstep opposition to him for EVERYTHING he says or does just makes you sound possibly sociopathic. I actually agree with him on this point. Which says a lot because he frustrates me so often.

  7. Nick
    July 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    in full context, the President’s statements are even more degrading, more condescending and more disconnected from the sentiments of American business owners that the version alleged to be taken out of context! Let me ask this question – if individual initative and good old-fashioned entrepreneurial risk-taking were taken away – would the government have stepped into the shoes of the small business owner, and could they have developed the businesses as efficiently?? of course not!! there have been certain technological advances from government programs like NASA (whose funding this administration has gutted) which have changed out lives, but i don’t recall thomas edison inventing the lightbulb with a government grant. At the very least, the statements are ridiculously insensitive to the plight of the small business owner in a time of dire challenges; At its worst, it shows a President who is incredibly out ot touch with the very constitency that has made this country the envy of all others and is the epitome of the American Dream.

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