When a President Mocks Small Business

As an entrepreneur who has worked my entire life to create new businesses, hire more than 200 employees and risk everything I own on my companies, I join the chorus of Americans who are outraged by President Barack Obama’s recent outburst, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

This is clearly the most definitive proof that Obama does not understand small business, does not like small business and lacks the rudimentary knowledge of how this country has prospered through the sweat and toil of entrepreneurs — our nation’s risk takers and job creators.

Contrast Obama’s comments with those of President Ronald Reagan, who wrote, “The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away.”

Reagan was clearly a president who understood that government does not create jobs. There are 28 million small businesses in the United States, and the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that they employ more than half of the private-sector workforce, are responsible for over half our gross domestic product and will create more than 80 percent of net new jobs.

Reagan’s understanding stems from the fact that 56 percent of his cabinet had previous business experience. Only 8 percent of Obama’s cabinet has previous business experience — the lowest percentage of any president. This is not a coincidence.

Maybe that is why Reagan had this to say about small business, “Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.”

Here is another Obama quote that reveals his naiveté about how business works, “If anybody had been studying history they would have understood earlier [that what he have learned] is that the market is the most effective mechanism for creating wealth and distributing resources to produce goods and services that history has ever known, but that it goes off the rail sometimes; that if it’s completely unregulated, that if there are no thoughtful frameworks to channel the creative energy of the market, that it can end up in a very bad place.”

Yes, we are in a “very bad place,” and the reason we are in a very bad place is that this administration has forced itself upon the free-enterprise system. For the first time we have a president who believes it is his job to pick winners and losers, just like his administration cherry picks which companies get government loans. This is not economic freedom. This is cronyism, and it is killing us.

We do not need the government to overregulate the market. We need the government to get out of the way so that America’s entrepreneurs can create jobs. Regulation already costs American business more than $2 trillion a year.

What did Reagan say about regulation? “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”

During a 2009 press conference, Obama said, “With the magnitude of the challenges we face right now, what we need in Washington are not more political tactics — we need more good ideas. We don’t need more point scoring — we need more problem solving.”

The irony of this statement is that at every turn, the Obama administration has engaged in relentless “point scoring” by underreporting the nation’s unemployment figures. While the administration stubbornly talks about an 8 percent unemployment rate, the reality is that it is closer to 15 percent.

And it does not take into account the “official” unemployment rate for black individuals stands at 13.6 percent, while the “official” unemployment rate for teenagers is at 23.2 percent. This is a tragedy.

In a fundraising letter, Obama wrote, “Americans … still believe in an America where anything’s possible — they just don’t think their leaders do.”

At one time, we did believe in our leaders. We had leaders who understood this country’s heritage for prosperity and growth and, more importantly, understood the role of the government.

Here’s another quote from Reagan that reflects this understanding, “Millions of individuals making their own decisions in the marketplace will always allocate resources better than any centralized government planning process.”

That is it precisely. Let America’s businesses create enterprises without government interference. If they make the wrong decisions, as many entrepreneurs do, they get back up and try again. They do not ask for help, and they certainly do not rely on “somebody else.”

Henry Ford is credited with saying, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” He only came to this conclusion after a number of failures before the Model T revolutionized the auto industry.

R.H. Macy started seven businesses that eventually failed before finally creating his namesake department store, Macy’s. Bill Gates’ first business, which he founded with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, was called Traf-O-Data. It failed, but Microsoft sure has not.

Is it any wonder that our blood boils when the president of the United States has the audacity to say that successful businesses are not built by individuals, but somehow miraculously appear from the magic wand of the government?

I will let Reagan have the last word. “We in government should learn to look at our country with the eyes of the entrepreneur, seeing possibilities where others see only problems.”

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