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.