President Barack Obama has taken some well-deserved criticism for his comments about business owners recently, although some of Mitt Romney's attacks weren't entirely necessary, either.
If you remember, Obama was criticized for saying, in essence, that there's no such thing as self-made success stories in the business world because everyone had some help along the way. Obama listed teachers, mentors and others as playing a role in the lives of business owners, and that's often true. But following that rationale, no one achieves anything on their own because they had to have parents to bring them into the world
But the president's "don't forget what the government has done for you" attitude was troubling.
Consider part of what Obama said: "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."
Well, first of all, we thought Al Gore invented the Internet, but never mind. What troubles us more than what Obama said is the philosophy behind such statements. We're willing to give the government credit for playing its role in building infrastructure around the country such as roads, bridges, etc. that creates opportunities for private companies to thrive. But the government is not, we repeat, is not responsible for every business' success.
There are countless business owners who have thrived because they were willing to risk their own money and put in endless hours to get their business started. Or perhaps a business owner borrowed money from a bank to open, but the bank is not responsible for that success. Despite Obama's claims, there are business owners who have been successful because they are smarter than others, or because they worked harder than others. For the president to suggest otherwise is a slap in the face to many business owners. Success should be celebrated, not chastised.