President Ronald Reagan once said, "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." Should small businesses get the credit for creating a successful enterprise or is it really because the government made it possible? The answer came from President Barack Obama when he stated his approach to free markets and the economy.
During a recent campaign stop, President Obama criticized small business owners saying, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen … The point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together." Obama was attempting to showcase the need for federal government spending. Instead it offended millions of small business owners who believe that the government actually stands in the way of their success.
We often hear that small businesses owners are the backbone of our economy. That's because it is true. Most spend 100 hours a week striving to pay their employees and to keep growing. They sleep, eat, and breathe trying to make better lives for themselves. These entrepreneurs began with an idea that they could run a business that could be stronger, faster, and smarter than others in the marketplace. This is where Obama wants us to believe that Uncle Sam knocks on the door, extends a hand, and says with a smile, "Let's work together so that we can help you succeed."
A statement from the National Federation of Independent Business said it best:
I'm sure every small-business owner who took a second mortgage on their home, maxed out their credit cards or borrowed money from their own retirement savings to start their business disagrees strongly with President Obama's claim. They know that hard work does matter. Every small business is not indebted to the government or some other benefactor. If anything, small businesses are historically an economic and job-creating powerhouse in spite of the government.
Indeed, small business owners face an wall of burdensome regulations and taxes that seem like an eternal federal government obstacle course designed by the Green Berets. Those that are still standing after running the gauntlet are grateful to still have an open sign on the front door. However, plenty of businesses fail even with the best of efforts. The claim that the government is there to help can be answered simply by looking at the record high unemployment rate. We still have millions of people looking for jobs and a lack of vision from the White House on how to turn it around.
Conditions must change for a vibrant economy to exist. Obama has shown small businesses and those who work for them what he truly believes the credit for success lies elsewhere. It is doubtful he won over this crowd. The people that took the risk and jumped with a leap of business faith will be most likely be showing Obama who gets the credit in the voting booth.