George Michael: People, not government, build businesses

July 30, 2012|By GEORGE MICHAEL

In a recent speech, President Obama said that government creates jobs, not individuals.  He belittled the efforts of most business endeavors by saying, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.”

The President added: “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.”

Personally, I am more often struck by politicians who are so dumb.  Now we have a classic example.

No wonder we are stuck at near zero in jobs growth. We are led by someone who apparently lacks the most basic knowledge of how jobs are created and is disrespectful toward the people who do the work to make our nation productive. 

The president mentioned the infrastructure that government provides such as roads and bridges which enable all of us to function. But the question then becomes, where did the government get the money to build the roads and bridges? 

Is it government that provides for business or business that provides for our government? Isn’t our success built on the backs of the productive class? Is it not from the industry and hard work of the American people? The president has it exactly backwards.

Granted, everyone has benefitted from teachers and mentors and parents and others who helped us along the way.  But to suggest that successful people owe their success to the government is really ludicrous. 

And this president is supposed to be so smart Which is the more egregious error? Dan Quayle misspelling the word “potato” or Barack Obama saying those who started businesses and hired workers and made payroll and paid taxes to the government were not responsible for their success?  The left made fun of Dan Quayle for months after his mistake over a relatively small detail.

This president can say the most bizarre things but gets a free pass from most in the media. 

Actually, what government does provide are hurdles, roadblocks, ever-increasing regulation and uncertainty which includes mandated health care costs which may not be affordable. Just ask any business owner you know about their No. 1 frustration in starting or expanding a business and they will tell you, it’s the government. 

Ronald Reagan had it right when he quipped, the most dangerous thing a government bureaucrat can say to a business owner is, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”

In his great book, “The Road to Freedom,” Arthur Brooks examines the motivation of small business owners and why they do what they do. For them, it is not taking the easy road. Sacrifice and risk are at the heart of their achievements.  

“Entrepreneurs of all types rate their well-being higher than any other professional group in America” Brooks notes. “Why are they so happy?  It is not because they are making more money than everyone else, they aren’t; small business owners actually make 19 percent less money per year than government managers (and that’s ignoring the huge benefits advantage that government workers have over their private-sector counterparts).”

In addition, these owners work longer hours than all other categories of workers. Conclusion:  They “work more and make less money than others.  But they’re happier people.” 

“What’s their secret,” Brooks asks. It’s that “the free enterprise system brings what all people truly crave: earned success.” They feel a great deal of satisfaction knowing that they are not paid because some citizens are forced through the tax system to fund their jobs nor are they receiving government handouts at someone else’s expense. 

Many of these entrepreneurs struggle each week to meet payroll and pay expenses.  Some weeks, an owner does not take a pay check because of slower income or higher outgo.  They pay their workers first.  And these are the same people whom the president wants to hit with more taxes. 

Of course it is understandable why the president says these sorts of things.  In his hours of work as a community organizer in Chicago, he likely did not rub shoulders very much with the genuine, hard-working entrepreneurs who truly keep the nation afloat.

George Michael is a Williamsport resident who writes columns for The Herald-Mail.

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