In his marketing seminars, my big brother Jim, the Marketing Wizard, often finds himself buttressing the much maligned industry of sales and the noble professionals who engage in that challenging occupation by saying, "Nothing good happens 'til something gets sold." Mr. Obama should attend one of Jim's seminars!
Last week, the President of the United States of America; the elected leader of the greatest, most productive, most powerful nation on earth and by extension, the leader of the free world, said that if you're successful in America, you have your government to thank. You owe your success, your standing, your prosperity to bureaucrats in Washington DC and elsewhere who provided for you, the context, the structure, and the resources to make happen whatever success you've achieved.
It's an engaging viewpoint, and at first blush, it sounds reasonable enough. Government provides the infrastructure and support for your prosperity by virtue of the public education system, roads, a monetary system, police protection, and other services upon which we all rely for a well-ordered, civil society.
But think just a little deeper and you'll quickly see that the President is wrong. Dead wrong! And it's actually rather shocking that a US president would be so utterly devoid of understanding of the design and genius of the nation he leads. Stunning that he would characterize the unique American experiment in government of the people, by the people, and for the people in terms so imperialistic.
In fact, Obama is 180 degrees out of phase. He has it exactly backwards. He could not be more incorrect (or more disingenuous). And therefore, he and those who think like him could not be more dangerous to the America we have been blessed to know.
In the United States, government is not the source of power, of wealth, or even of the social order. Government is not the master. It is neither the conveyor of rights nor the purveyor of goods! In America, by divine Constitutional design, the only power the government has comes from the consent of the governed. It is not the bureaucracy that provides for the industry of the people, it is the industry of we, the people, that provides for the government we require. And when we turn that equation on it's ear as the President has done, we say 'AMEN' to the freedom given us by our Maker, and secured to us by our sacred Constitution.
No, it is NOT the government that builds roads or schools, pays police, or manages natural resources. It is you and me. We, the people. OUR industry produces the wealth that pays the bureaucrats that organize the resources to build the schools, roads, and bridges and to pay the teachers, police, and firemen. It is they that do our bidding and that serve at our pleasure; not the other way around. They very much owe their existence to us. Not we to them!
The government produces NOTHING on it's own; not one thin dime of wealth--whether schools, roads, firehouses, or the EPA. Every penny of wealth that it has, it must first receive from us--either by consent or by constraint. All of the wealth of a free society comes from the industry of the people creating vibrant markets of goods and services by pursuing their individual dreams and by fulfilling each others' wants and needs.
Does the businessman or woman benefit from the public infrastructure and services? Of course! But do they owe their living or their success to any government? HELL NO! In fact, the success of most enterprises in America comes in spite of, not because of government. We all stand on the shoulders of those that have gone before us. In that sense, and to the degree that we value and build upon that foundation, we all should be thankful. And it is part of the reason we're willing to "pay our fair share."
But let's keep first things first. Nothing good happens 'til something gets sold. No teacher enters a classroom, no fireman climbs a ladder, and no cop walks a beat. No public road, bridge or buttress gets built, and no politician authors another unnecessary bill. All these things happen because someone took a risk to build the very first mousetrap or a better one to follow; someone spotted a need or desire and figured out a way to fill it. Only then was wealth created. Only then did a job begin. And only when that activity became PROFITABLE was there something in it for the risk-taker or entrepreneur--despite the fact that the taxman had already taken his toll!
No, Mr. President! While the entrepreneur, investor, tycoon and even the common laborer acknowledge the value of the social order and the government that keeps it intact, none owes obeisance to it. For it is WE that created IT--not the other way around!