Question: is the American spirit of entrepreneurship, self-reliance, and rugged individualism so very very delicate that it can’t withstand the weight of a simple declarative sentence? Answer: yes. Yes it is. Luckily, many people, some of them idiots and most of them Republicans, have taken to the internets and airwaves to defend the honor of America, and FREEDOM! Like: this guy! Representative Pete Olson (R-Tex), who took time away from the Beef Caucus, the Rice Caucus, and the Diabetes Caucus (along with a bunch of other caucuses) to type a bunch of stuff for the Hill about entrepreneurial spirit and defend the honor of those ladies who have purse parties. (No, seriously.) Because is Obama really saying that these nice ladies didn’t “build” their own purse party empires, and how DARE he?
“If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” – President Obama, Roanoke, VA on July 13, 2012
Mr. President, I fundamentally disagree. In our capitalist system, businesses are created by an individual or group of individuals who have an idea for a product or service that others will want to purchase and, yes, so they can make a profit. This fundamental truth of our opportunity society is what built America, not government, bureaucrats, or mass armies of community organizers.
Do you really need examples? If so, consider the woman who starts selling homemade purses that she thinks women will want to buy, or a cook who decides to open a restaurant to feed people meals that he thinks they will appreciate. On a larger scale, a college dropout may sit in his basement trying to develop better ways for people to connect, communicate, or move data – think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
Huh. Here we are, thinking that it was Founding Fathers™ that built America, but good to know that they were nothing but a bunch of bureaucrats and community organizers. Glad that’s settled! Oh, and Pete? Steve Jobs actually started Apple in a garage, not a basement, and Microsoft began in Bill Gates’ Harvard dorm room. And also, that data wouldn’t be able to move very far without the Internet which, as we discussed, was the result of a government funded project, but we digress.
These humble business ideas gave birth to a multitude of mom and pop shops we find in every community across America, as well as many reputable corporations that employ thousands around the world. The initiative and creativity of these entrepreneurs feed us, clothe us, and revolutionize how people across the globe communicate. Initiative and creativity are responsible for the historic strength of our economy and the vast majority of jobs created in the United States.
And outside the United States too, we bet!
Creating a new business takes coming up with an idea that will be of value to the marketplace, a successful business plan and the commitment to invest in the concept. Most businesses are born out of creativity or as a result of necessity – all involve a tremendous amount of resources, hard work and/or risk.
For any business to succeed, someone must be willing to step forward, make the investment and take the risk. While many businesses succeed, just as many fail. Good entrepreneurs learn from their failures and try again, often realizing the success that eluded them previously. Many smart people develop good business plans at the wrong time or in a bad economy, but those that succeed are the ones who stay at it.
Hear that, Poors? If you succeed, it’s because you “learned from…failures” and “stayed at it.” If you didn’t succeed, well, you must not have learned, or failed to stick with it; that’s the only explanation. Or maybe you didn’t work hard enough, or risk enough. Like Blackwater. Blackwater learned from its failures and tried again. Same with AIG! Or the Corrections Corporation of America, which manages private, for profit prisons across the country — they tried again and again and again, and — well, they’re still trying but they’ll get it right, eventually! And THAT — not airy-fairy concepts like “freedom” or “the pursuit of happiness” –THAT is what makes America great!
GIVE US MONEY! -