There was a time in America, not too long ago, that people believed that if they worked hard and they worked smart, they had a chance of doing well for themselves and for their families.
Some of these people worked for others and realized that self-sacrifice was necessary. They saved some out of each paycheck and spent less than they earned. They built a nest egg and many bought small houses in which to raise their families.
Others, resounding with the pioneer spirit that built America were more adventurous than those who accepted a wage for a living. They were entrepreneurs who took the risk, trusting in their own ideas and in their own abilities to create something where previously there had been nothing. Some failed, yet many succeeded and in so doing collectively gave employment to millions of their fellow Americans.
I have been a member of both classes of these American workers and am appreciative that I had the opportunity both to find a job when I needed one and to found a company and offer jobs to many others. Whether it was as an employee or as an employer, I always tried to do my best – putting forth more than the amount of effort my employer expected – and challenging myself as the employer to offer a better product and better service to ensure both my and my employees’ security.
Things didn’t always go exactly as planned – there were recessions which threw us off track – but somehow through sheer determination and a lot of faith I was able to struggle through and at the end of the day things worked out okay. I must admit that I felt proud of both my accomplishments and my record. It made up for the many sleepless nights wondering how I was going to meet the payroll during our worst economic times.
I cannot imagine the reaction that people who are entrepreneurs today must have had to the recent declamation by President Obama concerning their businesses that, “You didn’t build that …” Beyond the insensitivity of the remark is something far worse – pure and blatant stupidity – which seems to run rampant in an Obama speech when he is deprived of a teleprompter. And this coming from a man who’s career is distinguished by a lackluster stint in the Illinois and U. S. Senates, preceded by a couple of years as a “community organizer.” When the history books are written, he will probably be remembered as the person who was most responsible for attempting to destroy the “American dream.”
Let’s look, for a moment at how this prescient President began his post-school career.
As a community organizer on Chicago’s Southeast Side, Barrack Obama accomplished several things. First, he was involved in helping to develop “neighborhood watches” to improve the security of the residents in the high crime rate areas which were within his purview.
Security and personal safety are obviously worthwhile goals and are important to all of us. But the reason that there was a need to develop neighborhood watches was because the residents of these communities had very limited education resulting in a high rate of unemployment and a consequent large dependence on welfare to sustain their existence. The thugs who threatened them met the same demographic and found, since they had no useful skills, that it was easier to band together in gangs and either sell drugs or steal from others.
As an adjunct to the neighborhood watch, there were the neighborhood “clean-ups” which Mr. Obama set in motion. By clean-up I refer to getting volunteer residents to pick up the debris which littered their streets – the refuse that came from irresponsible people tossing the containers that originated in fast food restaurants and which had been discarded wherever the purchaser decided it was most convenient for her.
It is this “business background” and resume which apparently enables the President to have a keen insight into what it takes to run a business. Frankly, if he applied to my temporary service for a position, I doubt that I would have felt comfortable recommending him to any of my clients – except, perhaps for a low-level job in the mail room.
Given President Obama’s view of things, none of us should be surprised that small businesses, the backbone of economic growth and employment, are not hiring and the economy is stagnant. But at least one good thing came out of his comments.
Unlike so many other issues on which he has flip-flopped repeatedly to appear in the favorable light of momentary public opinion, I think we do have a good idea of what this man is all about through his statement about small businesses.
Hang in there all you entrepreneurs. You are a credit to yourselves and to a country that allowed you the opportunity to be all you could and chose to be. You’ve had to endure tough times before but your faith and diligence carried you through.
And as with all things, even with Big Brother, this too shall pass.