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Letter to the Editor - Aug. 14

August 14, 2012

Government enables, but also gets in the way


To the editor:

“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. ... 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.” —  Barack Obama

I think we all need to get some perspective on President Obama’s assertion, and the pundits of all stripes reaction to it, that are running rampant these days.

It is true, as the president says, that government is an enabler, for the reasons he stated. That’s government’s job, just as it is the job of parents to imbue their children with values. Basic scientific research is the greatest modern enabler. Enablers abound.

But the entrepreneur is the guy who has the moxie to absorb it all and create something that wasn’t there before he came along.  Bernard Baruch, an economist and investor in the 1930s, famously said, “Nothing happens until somebody makes something.”

Adam Smith said it best: “Following the rules of economics and the law, man tends to produce the good, not out of his benevolence, but out of regard for his own best interest.”

What has government done for us lately? It gets in the way of progress.


John Cable
Hagerstown

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