Yes, we did build that
I’m an entrepreneur so the natural translation is that I’m also a business owner. One of the significant roles of any business owner is to both understand and accept the idea of having to take calculated risks. No matter how much analysis I do, every time I make a decision there is a risk involve. This means there is a potential for loss on the down side, but also a potential for gain on the upside. Otherwise, there would be no need for decision making and it wouldn’t be called risk. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to experience both the ups and downs of risk.
The reason that business owners are willing to go out on the proverbial limb by making decisions is because we fully understand that for a business to even exist in the first place risk must be taken. Once a business has been established, risk becomes an ever present demon to be dealt with. Trust me. It would be far easier to run a business if everything was a certainty and the potential for failure was non-existent. Unfortunately, that only happens in fairy tales and as a business owner I have to live in the real world. At best, not taking risk can only lead to stagnation and that’s not what built this country, nor is it the type of economy that we should ever want to leave to our posterity.
Most business owners take risk very seriously. Typically, it’s not just a matter of gaining or losing a bit of hard earned money that matters. It’s also about having a livelihood. If I fail, not only me, but my entire family suffers. Along with my own family there are many other families whose livelihoods are also dependent on the outcomes of the decisions that I make. There is an incredible amount of pressure to always get things right. Over the years the knowledge of how many people are relying on me has cost me many a night’s sleep.
The reason people like me are willing to take on such responsibilities is because we understand that there is a potential for an upside. When that upside is realized we prosper, but by prospering we also enable those around us to prosper as well. The more money I make, the more I can pay my employees. Doing this makes it easier for me to attract and retain better quality employees, which in turn makes my business more efficient. This new efficiency makes me even more profitable and thus the circle of prosperity continues. The more profit we all make, the more money that is naturally realized through taxation. Yes, the trickle down theory of economics does in fact work.
The flip side of this equation is what Obama is proposing. Obama is more than willing to allow me to take on the risk of doing business. He’s just not willing to allow me to experience the upside of taking on those risks. Instead his preference is to demonize me for it. His goal is to exorcise such demons from me by taking the upside away in the form of extra taxation. However, as a business owner, if all I ever get is the opportunity to experience the down side, why bother taking risk at all? The very threat of his ideas coming to pass is what is keeping our economy from flourishing. Many companies still have plenty of cash on hand. They just aren’t willing to spend it. After all, why take on the risk of investing in growth only to have that growth taxed away?
Obama likes to point a wagging finger at business owners and say “you didn’t build that”. Obama was willing to tell Joe the Plumber that “we need to spread the wealth around”. But what Obama conveniently forgets to tell everyone is that there is more to wealth than just the end rewards. While it is easy to look with envy at the rewards others have realized through such risk taking, we tend to overlook the failures, ingenuity, sweat equity, and sacrifices that were also the forbearer’s of those rewards. If Obama is so hell bent on preaching the gospel of fairness and redistribution, why not spend a little more time preaching about sharing in those aspects as well? I think if people better understood and practiced this concept, what they would find is that they could then realize their own rewards and wouldn’t need to take those of others. Then we could all say, “Yes, we did build that”.