The U.S. economy grew by just 1.5 percent last quarter, a sure sign that momentum is being lost as the uncertainty created by President Obama and Bill Owens has convinced businesses to be extra cautious about adding jobs. Locally, unemployment has jumped to a shocking 11 percent in St. Lawrence and Fulton counties.
But it appears doubtful that our current congressman even realizes how his agenda has put the country on the brink of another recession -- because he apparently stopped reading the newspapers, watching TV or browsing the Internet 17 days ago.
Owens told the Watertown Daily Times last week that he didn't hear or read the president's "You didn't build that" remark, which was part of Mr. Obama's justification for the government to take more from hard-working business owners.
"Hopefully, the congressman's staffers have not followed their boss's lead and given up all forms of mass communication, because I'm going to need one of them to put this news release in front of my opponent," said Matt Doheny, the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties' candidate in the 21st Congressional District. "Congressman: here's what the president said:
"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.'"
Doheny continued: "Government has played an important role in providing the infrastructure -- roads, bridges, water, sewer, online communication -- that businesses need to be successful. However, the president disparaged hard-working, smart entrepreneurs by suggesting their effort and the risk they took was a less of a factor in their success than the help they received from their government. The president is pitching this "collectivist' vision so that he can justify taking more from individuals' earnings.
The candidate concluded: "People are telling me how upset they are by the president's comments. I agree with them. I could not disagree more what he said. Let me be clear: Government's role in helping create the infrastructure needed for growth was important. But it does not justify taking more tax revenue from job creators, especially since our leaders in Washington have done little to curb our out-of-control spending.
"President Obama and my opponent should realize: Just as businesses cannot go at it alone, either can our government. If we want to continue building the infrastructure our president so cherishes, we need our business owners. Not only do they pay taxes, but they hire people who pay taxes.
"Now that my opponent has read the president's remarks, my questions are simple: Congressman, do you stand by the president and agree that it's government -- and not smarts or hard work -- that ultimately make businesses great? And if so, will you be using that as justification to take more from successful people?"