Comments about ‘Letter: We did build our businesses’

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Published: Sunday, Aug. 5 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

"President Obama's statement... is further evidence that, to him, the federal government is a magical make-believe land where money grows endlessly on trees."

That's nonsense. Nothing in either the complete remarks from which this quote is taken, or from any action the president has taken can be construed to show a disregard for the sources of federal revenue.

President Obama has, in fact, gone to great lengths to offer proposals to shrink the deficit, but Republicans, adherents to Grover Norquist's cult of fiscal fantasy, refuse to accept deficit reduction plans offered to them because a small fraction of those plans also include closing certain tax loopholes to increase tax revenue.

When businesses pay their fair share of taxes, then yes, they are in fact helping themselves and other businesses to succeed. And then what of when businesses pay little or no taxes?

The point is that the taxes a business pays aren't put into an earmarked account and spent exclusively on only those roads and other infrastructure that directly benefit that business.

President Obama's observation is completely valid - success in business requires both individual initiative _and_ public infrastructure.

Far East USA, SC


I just read the entire Obama speech. The one that you took a one sentence excerpt.

I challenge you to read the whole speech and tell me what you disagree with.

I am not talking about one sentence taken out of context, but the speech as a whole and the concepts that are being conveyed.

Read it and tell me that your one sentence is the message that is conveyed.

I am guessing that spreading the miss-information is really what it is about.

omni scent
taylorsville, UT

So what you are saying is that paying taxes is good because it gives your business the infrastructure it needs to operate. I agree.

Centerville, UT

President Obama is saying the same thing: all of us contribute to the business environment that breeds success. We contribute by paying taxes; we contribute by supporting education; we contribute by mentoring young people. If we don't all contribute, success for anyone becomes much more difficult.

I am growing increasingly discouraged by Governor Romney's campaign which appears to be focused on deliberately misconstruing meaning (see, also, the Ohio voting rights issue) in order to create false issues. Frankly, I expect more honesty from a former stake president.


Jan, Its clear you never listened to the speech. You just took the edited GOP talking point and ran with it. Seriously, there are so many other points about Obama you could discuss, bringing this up just brings the intelligence level of political dialog down.

Moab, UT

So true. Many Politicos (like Obama) like to take credit for the hard work of others.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

another letter taking the President's quote out of context...

His point is that continued GOP rhetoric that government spending doesn't better business opportunity or society is a myth. Without infrastructure, industry cannot grow and thrive. That's all.

Yes, the government did build the Internet. And yes, it was Al Gore's forward-seeing sponsored legislation in 1992 that allowed businesses to operate and profit off of it.

Salt Lake City, UT

You really should listen to the speech or read the transcript of it, Jan. For, the President was referring to public work projects built by the government on behalf of the people. These are important public assets private providers would not step up and build.

Ogden, UT

...and this letter is further evidence that a conservative who is still rankled by Mr. Obama's election will distort every possible statement and ignore every possible alternative explanation in an intellectually impoverished attempt to denigrate a viewpoint with which he/she does not understand.

Mr. Obama's point is that you did not create your business in a vacuum; infrastructure, technology, the work of your teachers before you created an atmosphere in which your hard work could yield results. He didn't say you did not work hard or deserve success. Not sure why we're taking offense at this, it is essentially complementing America. Which Obama apparently cannot do because conservatives like to label him as an American-hater? You truly are masters at spin. You know how to twist a quote. You know how to create boogeymen. And you know how to repeat the lie over and over and over again.

Springville, UT

Do you realize that in your perverse argument, you actually argue both sides of the equation? Either you don't get the point of the President, or you are engaged in a deliberate deception and misrepresentation. Which is it?

Ogden, UT

Here's the paragraph in which the dreaded quote is found. Might as well have it in context:

"If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. 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."

Ogden, UT

And some more text from the same speech which could probably also be interpreted as anti-American if you are so inclined.

"The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

"So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the G.I. Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together."

Orem, UT

Actually, in his world, all that money you paid in taxes belongs to the government anyway along with the rest of your money. Whenever the government lets you keep a little more of it, it is a "gift". Every tax cut is a giveaway. Every attempt to let rich people keep a little more of it is an unfair gift to those who don't deserve it.

All that money that Mitt Romney earned really isn't his. It is the government's. Shame on him for spending it (or storing it) in places that it's rightful owner (the government) does not approve of. The only solution is to wrest more control over it to its rightful owner by raising his taxes.

Once you understand this mentality, President Obama's comments make perfect sense.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

How many times do we have to say this? Read the whole talk!!!!!!

Hayden, ID

Great letter Jan! Obama doesn't understand fundamental economics in that if the private sector isn't working, being successful and paying taxes, there will be no money to pay the public sector. That means teachers, fireman, policeman, etc will not get paid unless taxpayers in the private sector are successful first and not the other way around!

Salt Lake City, UT

Obama was saying that businesses didn't build the roads and bridges, that gov't helps with things like infrastructure investments, and Romney agrees.

Obama: "Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. ... The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."

Romney: "I know that you recognize that a lot of people help you in a business. Perhaps the banks, the investors. There's no question your mom and dad. Your school teachers. The people that provide roads, the fire, and the police. A lot of people help."

Or maybe we can use an olympic one.

Romney: "You Olympians... know that you didn't get here solely on your own power. For mot of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers encouraged your hopes. Coaches guided. Communities built venues and organized competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them."

Communities built venues? So he thinks even gov't helped.

Eugene, OR

It's been established repeatedly that President Obama was talking about roads and infrastructure that most businesses can't survive without when he said "you didn't built that." If you're going to criticize, at least quote him correctly.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

U.S. government research created the internet. Without that, Google, Ebay, Amazon, Facebook, and thousands of other online businesses, would not exist. President Obama nowhere suggested that the government created those businesses, merely that the government created the conditions for them to come into being. Which is a totally accurate statement.

Clearfield, UT

To KDave 7:48 a.m. Aug. 5, 2012

So true. Many Politicos (like Obama) like to take credit for the hard work of others.


And that statement is not supported by FACTS.

Salt Lake City, UT

Is "conservative" synomymous with "poor at math"? A single business does NOT pay enough taxes to support an entire police force, fire department, and supporting infrastructure. To quote another politician "It takes a village".

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