Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Government's Small Contribution To Success

There are two tragicomic aspects of Obama's "You Didn't Build That" quip which stand out to me. Firstly, the misrepresentation of the successful and their supposed ignorance of all the others in the past and present who have aided their success. I consider myself one of these successful folks and I feel that I am someone who took initiative, not full credit, with regard to my success. It's a both-and kind of proposition, not an either-or. You have to have clients, vendors and people who believe in you to make it in business. But you also have to make the leap of faith yourself and establish all those relationships on which you rely. No one can do that for you. Certainly no one can do anything in a vacuum, let alone breathe. But society isn't a vacuum, no one believes it is, and the opportunities which exist in the world have to be discovered and acted upon first by the mind of an individual or individuals, not mindless government policy, in order to build anything productive and worthwhile.

This leads me to the second aspect which is apparent to me: the relatively tiny contribution that the government makes toward the endeavor of any enterprise. Maybe Obama should read I, Pencil. Because then he might realize that people who believe in the power of the free market already see that their efforts are small in relation to something. However it is not the government role in their success at which they stare in wonder, but the role of the invisible hand of the free market. In the case of my business, I would be nowhere in my business without Dell, HP, IBM, Apple, Palm, Adobe, Microsoft, Cisco, AT&T and numerous other companies and people who work for them. And this is not to mention countless other people who built everything from the chair on which I'm sitting and the floor boards on which the chair is rolling to the car I drive and the glasses I have to wear so I don't wreck the car.

This whole exchange is troubling because it feeds the envy of the masses of Obama's angry supporters by ridiculing society's producers and those who have taken initiative. Fortunately he's really only knocking down rhetorical straw men since I believe most sensible people see the normal temperament of the very successful differently, from the singer blowing kisses to the audience and the football player kneeling and pointing toward Heaven in the end-zone to the myriad of business owners incessantly thanking customers for their business . In fact, I'd wager that if we have any picture in our mind of the arrogant self-made human it is the smug politician epitomized by Barack Obama giving one of his tedious, overlong speeches. Hopefully those people will come out in droves and vote for Mitt Romney in November.