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Public Statements

Isakson "Astounded, Disappointed and Perplexed' by Obama's Assertion That American Business Owes Its Success to Government

Press Release

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Location: Washington, DC

Drawing on more than three decades of business experience in the private sector, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today criticized the president's assertion that American business owes its success to the government, calling it "an affront to all those who have taken chances" to build a business. Isakson contends that hard-working American families and small businesses are the true strength of the country.

During a campaign speech on July 13, President Obama said, "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some helpÂ… Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business--you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." Isakson countered that that it's the tax revenue paid by hard-working American families and businesses that funds the federal government, making it possible to build bridges, highways and other infrastructure.

"As someone who ran a small business, I was astounded, disappointed and perplexed by the president's statement last week that small business didn't owe its success to itself but owed it to the government. It's the other way around. The government would not exist without the taxpayers of the United States of America, including small businesses. Their tax dollars fund the construction of roads, bridges and infrastructure," Isakson said on the Senate floor. "It is time that the government understands where it gets its strength--it's from the American taxpayer. If we consider small business, we will make better decisions and as a result, America will be stronger."

Isakson also criticized Obama and Senate Democrats for fostering more uncertainty for America's families and small businesses with their proposal to extend tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of this year only for one year and only for those making less than $250,000, allowing taxes to increase for other Americans and small businesses. Obama announced that plan in a speech on July 10, and Senator Patty Murray, a member of the Senate Democrat leadership, repeated it in a speech on July 16. A study released this week by Ernst & Young LLP states that allowing taxes to increase on high earners would result in the loss of approximately 710,000 jobs.

Isakson said the result of the Democrats' proposal is that "business is not deploying capital. People are not making investments. There is one simple reason. We are a nation of uncertainty. Nobody knows what the boundaries are going to be on January 1."

Isakson spent more than three decades in the private sector, beginning his business career in 1967 when he opened the first Cobb County, Ga., office of a small, family-owned real estate business, Northside Realty. Isakson later served as president of Northside for 20 years, presiding over the company's growth into the largest independent residential real estate brokerage company in the Southeast and one of the largest in America.


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