Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

In a recent speech Obama made the statement that implied business owners didn't build their businesses -- "someone else made that happen"

I'm going to put the full text and context of what was said because I've seen left-wing writers trying to diminish what Obama said by claiming it was taken out of context.

So here's the full context:

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. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

This is a view held by many liberals -- mostly ones who have never actually made payroll.  The argument goes as follows:
 
The liberal argument in a nutshell
 
Your business can only thrive because it exists in a country with good infrastructure, an uncorrupt court system, property rights enforced by the government, free education for you and your work force and even the Internet itself was started as a government endeavor. Therefore, you owe your success to the government.
 
This can be boiled down to saying that you didn't really draw that picture with that pencil. Something else made that happen -- a tree.
Lots of people have "built a house". Yet, I don't think I've ever heard someone correct someone who has said "Yea, this is the first house we've built" to remind them "No, you didn't build that, someone else did -- carpenters, brick layers, etc."
 
Why it's nonsense
 
First off, the President's argument is a strawman. I've never met an entrepreneur who thought they succeeded because "they were just so smart". Intelligence isn't even a key ingredient in being successful.  The fact that Obama said this indicates to me that he hasn't even bothered to read an article on the topic because what makes someone a successful business builder is an oft-covered topic.
 
To recap, here are the key ingredients in being a successful entrepreneur:
 
1. Risk taking.  This is the single biggest element that differentiates an entrepreneur from everyone else. I have had (And lost) friends over the years who just couldn't understand how I, someone they considered inferior to them in terms of intelligence, polish, people skills, etc. became so financially successful.  The key difference - risk.  I was willing to risk losing everything I had to pursue a dream.
 
2. Perseverance.  Very few business owners meet success right away. I know I sure didn't. My first major entrepreneurial endeavor was to write an OS/2 game called Galactic Civilizations. And I didn't make a dime on it because the publisher never paid royalties. It cost me not just 2 years of my life but one of my best friends who felt very burned by the whole thing.  It requires years and years of sustained hard work to become successful in most cases.  
 
3. Delayed gratification.  This is another non-obvious and yet crucial ingredient to success.  While my friends were getting sports cars, DVD players (back in the early 90s a big expense), and putting down payments on their first houses, I was driving a Chevette, owned no stereo or other consumer gadgets and lived in a tiny apartment.  This meant I could focus my very limited financial resources into the business. I went without, for years, to pursue a longer term goal.
 
That's it.
 
Those are the 3 key things. Note that "being smart" isn't one of them.  
 
None of those 3 skills I developed were because of the government. If credit can be given they can be given to society. But society is not government.  Culture is not government. The values my mom drilled into me and the ideas my dad, uncle, etc. gave to me have nothing to do with the government.
 
It was our society -- our culture, that includes a respect for the rule of law, property rights, and a general "can do it" spirit. Our government (historically) is a reflection of our society. Government doesn't create culture.
 
Government services are not an "investment"
 
Yes, I had some really great teachers growing up.  My 5th grade teacher made a huge difference in my life.  I had a high school English teacher who made me the editor of our literary magazine which gave me the confidence in myself. Public schools, paid for by tax payers. Taxes my parents paid on my behalf while I was growing up and then taxes I paid myself when I started working when I was 15. This does not take away the importance of education or any of the other important public goods I benefited from.
 
A person does not owe another person anything beyond the agreed upon price for a product or service.  If a man sells you a hammer that you use to build something, the hammer seller has no claim on what you build with it. He made a trade with you that both parties thought was equal. He was not investing in you with the expectation that he had some claim to what you created.
 
The government has no money other than the money it extracts from its citizens. We have no moral obligation to the government in itself anymore than you have a moral obligation to your power company or cable provider. It provides a set of services to us that have been agreed on by our elected representatives and we pay for those services through taxes.  
 
Government has no more claim on anything we do that makes use of those services than a tree has a claim on what you create with a pencil.

Comments (Page 4)
on Jul 31, 2012

Obama said, "If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." 

"The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."

........................

IN other words what he's telling us is that "it takes a village" (government)! Collectivist utopia. Followed by....you now owe us and it's time to pay up.

And watch out because it begins with a USA village and becomes a global village.

.............................

TheFunkMaster
That's where you're wrong, just about every business "directly" profits from infrastructure.  I don't know how else to describe the plastics factory that can't run without power, or the call center that absolutely could not make due without internet and phone lines.

 

Federal Government infrastructure (interstate roads and bridges) is built for the common good.....from "we the people's" tax monies, not for income redistributuion from outrageous double and triple taxation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on Jul 31, 2012

TheFunkMaster
That's where you're wrong, just about every business "directly" profits from infrastructure.

We (taxpayers and businesses) OWN the infrastructure.  We paid for it.  And are paying for it continuously.  We owe nothing to anyone because of it.  No government or other group of people 'gave' it to us.

on Jul 31, 2012

TheFunkMaster
Well, what would you say to a parent that's got a stupid kid, or just a kid that doesn't do their schoolwork? Should that parent get all the property taxes they paid into the school system? Apparently that school didn't do shit for their kid, and why should we concern ourselves with who went wrong...just gimmie my money back?

You're making my point for me.

on Jul 31, 2012

Am I?  My point was in direct contradiction to yours I thought...  So you're saying that the school district should give the money back just because your kid is a lazy scrub?  That's the analogy I was making to your statement that business owners who can't hack it should be able to get their infrastructure money back.  I am against rewarding failure in general, but go ahead and tell me why I'm wrong on this Diawa.

on Jul 31, 2012

It is really shocking the number of proud entrepreneurs in this country who don't know what a pronoun is. Either that or it's even more surprising how many entrepreneurs think that they build roads. Or simply the number of entrepreneurs who think it's ok to post ridiculously sensationalist headlines because hey, Fox News does it.

I really don't understand that. And of course, by "that" I mean "Obama is a socialist who thinks I didn't build the roads in front of my business or the internet itself."

on Jul 31, 2012

It is really shocking the number of proud entrepreneurs in this country who don't know what a pronoun is. Either that or it's even more surprising how many entrepreneurs think that they build roads. Or simply the number of entrepreneurs who think it's ok to post ridiculously sensationalist headlines because hey, Fox News does it.

I really don't understand that. And of course, by "that" I mean "Obama is a socialist who thinks I didn't build the roads in front of my business or the internet itself."

 

Shocks the conscience, don't it?  You know what I've noticed?  Just about all of the conservative pundits I've see ape the "He says you didn't build your business!" charge often do so with this little smirk on their face...like they've "got him THIS time!"  Well, if winning is so much more important than talking sense then good luck to you.  I'm pretty sure I like President Obama's chances if this kind of weak sauce is all Romney is packing.

on Jul 31, 2012

Obama said, "If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." 

It is really shocking the number of proud entrepreneurs in this country who don't know what a pronoun is.

Oh, but entrepreneurs do know what a pronoun is. In the case of Obama's statement, "that" refers specifically to "a business".  

Draginol, the entrepreneur, wrote: Obama thinks government built my business? Really?

 

Either that or it's even more surprising how many entrepreneurs think that they build roads. Or simply the number of entrepreneurs who think it's ok to post ridiculously sensationalist headlines because hey, Fox News does it.

How is this a "ridiculously sensationalist headline" given the King's English on pronouns? 

 

on Jul 31, 2012

I was going to say you were 'unwittingly' making my point for me, TFM.  Looks like I should have.

It is really shocking the number of proud entrepreneurs in this country who don't know what a pronoun is. Either that or it's even more surprising how many entrepreneurs think that they build roads. Or simply the number of entrepreneurs who think it's ok to post ridiculously sensationalist headlines because hey, Fox News does it.

I have no idea what point this collection of words is intended to make.

on Aug 01, 2012

WE the people gave Government the power.  So we OWE the government because they didn't just steal our money for themselves?  We OWE the Government for doing their jobs that they were paid for?  We OWE the government because they built the roads as we paid for them, and the infrastructure, instead of enriching themselves with the money they taxed from us?

The government owes US its existence.  It owes US it's power.  It owes US those roads, that infrastructure, that it also gets to use.  Small businesses, large businesses, individuals, we paid for all that stuff and the government owes us those things, because we paid for it and set the government up so that it could do those things.  What boggles my mind is that we continue to let this government that we set up usurp our decisions, above and beyond what the Constitution lays out for its responsibilities to us.

on Aug 01, 2012

Obama was clearly referring to you not building the roads and infrastructure that businesses use. He's come out and clarified this multiple times. Additionally, most small businesses have dozens of employees, and are not ran by a single person. So even on technical terms, the majority of small businesses were not built by a single person, but with the help of employees.

For you to say that he said "Government built my business" or that he implied so is very disingenuous.

on Aug 01, 2012

I am currently having this same discussion amongst family members and one sent me this email.


Shocking News from ABCs Diane Sawyer
OUR PRESIDENT, What is he thinking?
I-635 in Texas is being rebuilt with underground tolls from I-35 to I-45 and is contracted to a CHINESE firm for over $5 billion.
 
Diane Sawyer reporting on U.S. bridge projects going to the Chinese.... NOT Americans.
The bridges are right here in the U.S. and yet Obama has approved for Chinese contractors to come
in and do the work. What about jobs for Americans???
Watch this video. It doesn't take long to view.
This one should be tough for the supporters of the current regime to swallow....AND it comes from ABC NEWS
U.S.A.Bridges and Roads Being Built by Chinese Firms
Shocking to say the least! This video is a jaw-dropper that will make you sick.
(It was also shocking that ABC was actually reporting this story.)
The lead-in with Obama promising jobs in the U.S. by improving our infrastructure is so typical of all his promises!
Our tax dollars are at work - for CHINA !!!
 
I pray all the unemployed see this and cast their votes accordingly in 2012!
 

 

on Aug 01, 2012

Draginol wrote: 

So here's the full context:

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. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

...........................................................

Eggplant999
For you to say that he said "Government built my business" or that he implied so is very disingenuous.

EGADS! 

Please read for meaning the highlighted part of what Obama said. 

Let's rewrite it: If you've got a business - you didn't build that (business). Somebody else made that (business) happen. 

 

Then, who is the "Somebody" Obama is referring to if not government?

 

 

 

on Aug 01, 2012

Eggplant999
Obama was clearly referring to you not building the roads and infrastructure that businesses use.

But we did.

on Aug 01, 2012

Eggplant999
Obama was clearly referring to you not building the roads and infrastructure that businesses use.

http://www.eriksoderstrom.com/2012/07/18/what-context/

"if you got a business, that? you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Eggplant, you are the only one who is being disingenuous here, obama is being perfectly clear and to claim otherwise is to insult everyone's intelligence.

on Aug 01, 2012

You're right.  We didn't build that.  The Chinese did.