Last week President Obama chided hard-working Americans in a fiery speech by telling supporters: "If you've got a business--you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." For the President, that somebody is the government. According to him, the government is responsible for your success, not you. Such remarks display a true lack of understanding of the American spirit. They undermine the principles of the American founding and mock the sacrifices made by courageous Americans every day.
The United States is composed of men and women who take risks daily. Entrepreneurs weigh the pros and cons of starting new enterprises. Investors consider obstacles when supporting new ventures. Managers innovate ways to attract new customers. In each case, the people advance the interests of their businesses. The government, by contrast, hinders their progress through burdensome regulations, heavy taxes and procedural hurdles.
Our history is replete with examples of people who turned ideas into reality by creating businesses that employed thousands of people. For instance, since Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1909, Ford Motor Company has sold millions of automobiles and employed tens of thousands of workers. In 1879, after hundreds of experiments, Thomas Edison discovered the filament that gave life to the light bulb. His successes led to innovations with the telephone, phonograph and motion picture. These projects took place in his factory under his direction.
In each case, these individuals were responsible for the success and failures of their businesses. You will not hear about government bureaucrats manning the production line for Henry Ford's Model T. There is no mention of a government agent handing Thomas Edison the missing filament to his light bulb. These innovators started their companies because they were motivated by a dream, not because "somebody invested in roads and bridges."
My hope is that President Obama will share in this understanding of the American dream and cease blaming hard-working Americans for their successes. In his assertion that government is the ultimate provider of the people, he should remember that the government would not exist if not for people in the first place. This week the Christian Science Monitor quoted my response to President Obama's absurd condemnation of the American spirit and I hope you will take a moment to read the article. Government owes its existence to the people, not the other way around. Even roads, bridges and schools, which are sometimes built by the government, are funded by the hard work of taxpaying Americans. The drive to succeed is still a defining American characteristic. The self-made man is not an illusion as President Obama would have us believe. He is just as real today as he has ever been.