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January 30, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Business owners need people, too

It seems some people misconstrue everything President Barack Obama says. When he said, “You didn’t build that,” he was saying that a business owner needs all of us to make a business work and prosper.

Yes, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and many more built some wonderful things. However, how would they have succeeded if hard-working people had not accommodated them by using their products? It takes all of us!

Maybe if some of the wealthiest who are holding on to their money — with the sole purpose of making Obama a one-time president — would think about helping the country, it would help everyone, including themselves.

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  1. Let's spread the wealth around letter writer. That's the answer, right? Wrong. Apple and Microsoft, Ford, Disney, Bain Capital and others started with a bright talented individual, two or more who made it happen. Gave it life and direction. Not by Big Gov't. Without people and companies like these, there would be no Big Gov't to tax them and no wealth to spread around.


  2. Why is the left in a state of constant denial about the Anonted One. President Obama intended to diminish the unique contributions that the upstart business person achieves when he or she digs down deep inside to bring forth something special --the energy, sweat,hard work,ingenuity and risk capital--to start and run their own business. The infrastucture is there for everybody to use--schools, roads, etc; only a few contribute to society by starting and running a business. We are indebted to these outstanding folks who create jobs, products, services and pay the lion's share of taxes to support our government, and the welfare payments of those who do not make such contributions to society,but regularly take from it. The notion that we should not single out and hold up these special achievers for effectively using the resources at their disposal is nonsense.

  3. This letter will bring forth a series of comments that will tell you a business can succeed solely due to the innovation and drive of its founder(s),

    Outside of the sale of illegal drugs, I can't think of a single business that succeeds if its customers can't afford to buy their goods or services.

  4. There are some posters whose handle on market economics and theory of the firm,are pretty weak.
    They might just be on the Marxist or socialist side the the equator. They would not get the essence of a core competency or the concept of product or service differentiation. These are issues that our business people work on everyday to achieve a competitve advantage Mr Weber.

  5. Let me make this simple enough for even conservatives to understand. Your spending is someone else's income and their spending is your income. So, yes Carmine, spreading the wealth around is actually what economic activity IS. Money that sits in an account does very little good for anyone while money circulating is the heartbeat of ANY economy.

  6. Mark, money doesn't "sit" in an account. It is used by the holder (banks, mutual funds, etc.) to make loans and, that, does "spread" the wealth, but not in Osama Obama's confiscatory way. As for Osama Obama, poor baby! He's getting picked on! Gee, it wouldn't have something to do with his putrid program and insane ideology, would it? Hopefully, Osama Obama will no longer be picked on because he'll be returned to where he belongs - out of public office. Come November, vote Mitt!

  7. Mark

    Let me see if I have this right. If I have money according to you I am somehow obligated to spend it even though there is nothing to be gained by me from doing it.
    That is not going to happen. Unless someone other than Obama is in leadership
    Expect people to be unwilling to spend and invest and just will not must be aware of that and understand why.

  8. Ms Betts,

    Since you profess to know what President Obama was saying, please let us know what he 'was saying' when he said the following:

    "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 hardworkin' people out there!"

    I will await your response.


  9. Purgatory, it baffles me that you think that quote is some mystery. Pretty simple: hard work isn't the only thing that contributes to being successful.

    Is that... hard for you to understand?

  10. GOP continues the pathetic spin that no one's buying...
    There's no question Obama inartfully phrased those two sentences, but it's clear from the context what the president was talking about. He spoke of government -- including government-funded education, infrastructure and research -- assisting businesses to make what he called "this unbelievable American system that we have."

    In summary, he said: "The point is " that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."

    The preceding sentences make clear that Obama was talking about the importance of government-provided infrastructure and education to the success of private businesses.

    "The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."

    Romney and his allies pounced on the "you didn't build that" portion and ignored the rest.

  11. Should note, Purgatory cuts a few sentences out of context, but if it bothered to read the next paragraph, Obama's meaning is crystal clear:

    "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. "

    Context is everything, and that's why the GOP is so desperate to withhold it.

  12. Customers receive value in proportion to what they spend: the goods or services they are buying. They are not also entitled to the profits made by the owner. The owner is entitled to the profits by virtue of his/her investment of effort, time and risk. If you deny the owner his/her profits, they will never materialize, and society will be poorer.

    Class envy has always existed. It has its roots in past ages when the rich held all wealth and power and denied opportunity to the masses. America was the first country to guarantee opportunity to everyone. Class envy has no place here. In fact, it threatens the existence of our system of individual freedom and free markets, which has raised living standards for more people than any in history or in existence today.

  13. Sandoval,

    I understand what Obama was trying to say. It takes a village, we are all in it together, someone gave you a hand up, etc. BUT, when he started rolling he became mean-spirited and he mocked 'smart' and 'hardworking' people. He couldn't help himself - he was playing to his audience. I am certain you noticed it as well. He is what he is.

    I listened and saw the entire speech - I understand and appreciate context, that is why I asked Ms. Betts for her interpretation. Yours, on the other hand, is not necessary.


  14. Jerry is of course wrong about money sitting on the sidelines. Business is sitting on trillions that is not being lent.

    No you don't get it. If you don't spend, which everyone MUST do (you DO eat right? You do pay for a place to live right? You DO pay for utilities right? You DO buy clothes, appliances, etc. right?), then everyone ends up suffering. That you would allude to deliberately not spending to harm our President's chances for re-election means you are acting sociopathically to harm innocent people in the name of ideology. This makes you (no surprise here) a fanatic.

  15. Purgatory heard emotional nuances ("mean spirited" and "mocked") that only existed inside his own head.

  16. "Purgatory heard emotional nuances ("mean spirited" and "mocked") that only existed inside his own head."

    I really don't get it. There was nothing mean-spirited or mocking about Obama's words.

    Purgatory, you're smarter than this.

  17. Many capitalists, from CEO's of major corporations to small business owners, do want Obama to be voted out of office, but they aren't holding back cash to hurt the economy to hurt Obama. To get Obama out of office, they are contributing to the Romney campaign (their right as Americans). They judge that investing their cash in their businesses is too risky, given the weak state of the economy, which Obama's policies have caused. Their cash belongs to them, and it is up to them what they do with it.

  18. Mark:

    Of course I will spend money on the things I must or want to have. But the discretionary money that would otherwise be invested in starting a new business is not going to be invested until I am comfortable with the business climate I am operating in--and I am under no obligation,morally or otherwise to spend it.

    It appears that the Left believes that there is some moral imperative that people, any person, who has discretionary funds is under some kind of obligation to spend it --tell me please that you do not believe that is so.

  19. <<Apple and Microsoft, Ford, Disney, Bain Capital and others started with a bright talented individual, two or more who made it happen. Gave it life and direction. Not by Big Gov't. Without people and companies like these, there would be no Big Gov't to tax them and no wealth to spread around>>

    Yes, it was started by bright and talented individuals....BUT if no one bought an IPod or a computer and the software programs to go with it or that Model T or big F150 or gave us Mickey Mouse and Annette and the Mouseketeers and a place to actually SEE them - where would those bright and talented people be without no one buying what they were selling???? People make businesses - whether they buy an expensive car or a cupcake from the bakery - without people buying the product, the businesses would fail. There would be no successes even with hard work.

  20. Those Romney ads about "you didn't build that" aren't quite truthful. Those guys sure as hell love government money when it comes to "building" their companies, damn hypocrites.

    Gilchrist Metal, "received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment'"" In addition, in 2011, Gilchrist Metal "received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller, $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008""

    "According to notes from a Jan. 26, 2006 meeting of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, Sollmann Electrical Company was rewarded a $915,117 contract for work in the Trotwood-Madison City school district.

    Notes from a May 31, 2007 meeting of the same body show that Sollmann Electrical Company placed a $1,080,700 bid to do work in the Dayton County School District. This was the lowest bid offered and the commission recommended that it be finalized.

    According to notes from a May 25, 2010 meeting of the School Facilities Commission, meanwhile, Sollmann Electrical Company was awarded a $1,689,829 contract for work in the Miami East school district.

    Sollmann was also a contractor for work on the Horace Mann School in Dayton, Ohio, according to an Ohio School Facilities Commission form filled out in April 2008. Horace Mann is a public school, an official there said.

    In November of 2011, Sollmann made a $274,792 bid with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services to do work on a building expansion at Rhodes State College, another public school."

  21. TEA - "Liberalism is a disease. But we won't wipe it out thoroughly. Unfortunately a few must be kept around and used as examples of what not to do/become."

    A 2011 study by at the University College London found a correlation between differences in political views and differences in brain structures in a convenience sample of students from University College London. The researchers performed MRI scans on the brains of 90 volunteer students who had indicated their political orientation on a five-point scale ranging from 'very liberal' to 'very conservative'. Students who reported more 'conservative' political views tended to have larger amygdalae, a structure in the temporal lobes that performs a primary role in the processing and memory of emotions. During fear conditioning, sensory stimuli reach the basolateral complexes of the amygdalae. On the other hand, more 'liberal' students tended to have a larger volume of grey matter in the anterior cingulate cortex, a structure of the brain associated with monitoring uncertainty and handling conflicting information.

  22. Bob's comment here:
    "It appears that the Left believes that there is some moral imperative that people, any person, who has discretionary funds is under some kind of obligation to spend it --tell me please that you do not believe that is so."
    has a few logical fallacies. First is the idea that there is some monolithic "Left" that "believes" anything. There is a diversity of opinion on the left so his first assertion is meaningless.
    Second, what does he mean by "...discretionary funds..."? Is this after investments and savings because, if so, then he is already supporting business creation and should spend such discretionary income to enjoy life and help others as he has been helped in the past. No man is an island.

  23. Trager lies: "You only find such behavior on the liberal/democrat side."

    "The Bush administration acknowledged on Friday that it had paid a third conservative commentator, and at least two departments said they were conducting internal inquiries to see if other journalists were under government contract."

    Care to revise your false comments, Mark?

  24. Det__Munch said:

    "where would those bright and talented people be without no one buying what they were selling????"

    Those bright and talented people are making what consumers want to buy. If consumers want to buy something else, bright and talented people will make it for them. Consumers have money to spend because bright and talented people developed something people wanted and they had to hire people to make it. Replace the bright and talented people with government, and you get...the USSR.

  25. Det Munch et al:

    It's up to the talented business savy entrepeneurs to determine the goods and services that are bought and sold. Not Gov't. Takes willing buyers and sellers to make businesses succesful. Not Gov't. Entrepeneurs like Bain find and define the business opportunities not Gov't. Not President Obama. He didn't make it happen. Businesses did.


  26. <<Those bright and talented people are making what consumers want to buy. If consumers want to buy something else, bright and talented people will make it for them>>

    Disagree totally. Those "bright and talented people" do not KNOW what consumers will buy. They can expand on an idea but the original ideas are gambles. Ask a business owner whose business tanked because they thought they had a "golden idea" and it turned out to be a dud. It happens all the time. Opening a business is a gamble; ask those who own businesses here on this board. The businesses cited originally - Ford, Apple, Disney etc - took a gamble on what people would want and buy. They got very lucky. You can take an original idea, let's say computers, and expand on that hoping the general public will catch on. 30 years ago who would have thought we'd be dependant on our computers for every day living. Same with cell phone technology; the younger generation cannot live without their electronic devices - unfortunately. Or how about the electric cars. The car makers thought that was going to be a huge consumer-driven part of the car market. It's not. Maybe someday, but I doubt we'll ever see electric cars replace good old fashioned cars; the only thing that's become a concession to the electric car is the flex-fuel vehicles. Even with those you have a choice. My niece just bought a 2012 Buick with the flex-fuel feature. Out of 100 gas stations in our area, two stations sell that fuel. Neither are worth driving the extra miles to buy that fuel. It's the old "supply and demand" thing.

    But no business, whether large or small, can guarantee what they produce will be bought by the consumer. They do not have crystal balls to tell them 100% what will sell.

  27. TEA

    Too bad you didn't quote more from the article.

    I found this to be interesting:

    <<A bipartisan group of Minnesota politicians, including U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Republican, have been working to have the tax eliminated. Last month the Republican-controlled House voted to approve Paulsen's bill repealing the tax, but the bill hasn't gone anywhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate>>

    How much you want to bet that the repeal of this tax WILL be passed by that Democrat-controlled Senate. It started as a bipartisan effort and will continue as one.

    On the flip side:

    Google Sensata Technologies and a whole bunch of articles come up on how Bain is closing this company. Sure, it may not have 1000 employees, but Bain will be responsible for people losing their jobs.

  28. Det__Munch:

    They may fail, and when they do, they may figure out what consumers want, or other bright and talented people will. You ran a mile with your misinterpretation of what I said.

    Coming up with an idea for a product or service, working to develop it, and investing capital to make it or provide it is a gamble. And because entrepreneurs stand to lose, they deserve to reap the rewards when they're right. Their customers receive value in proportion to the money they spend when they buy. They are not entitled to a share of the entrepreneur's rewards.

  29. I do not think anyone is going to dispute a teacher, a coach, a family or friend may have had impact on those who have chosen to work for them selves in their own business, or that infrastructure and employees used were needed. Many of the small business mom and pop operations are family affairs and take up the life of the family to run creating long hours of work for low pay at times. The last part of the Obama comment was off and he knows that now based on the adds I have seen running recently. Anyone who has sacrificed personal lifestyle and financial gain for the better of there family future was very put off by his comments, now he is on the mend. I don't think it can be healed because the man himself has never owned a business and just does not understand how much work really goes into them

  30. Let me take one company you mentioned and show how Apple began.

    It was begun by getting a purchase order from one company and then using that to get credit for the parts needed to build the machine.

    So, Steve Jobs needed the help of two other companies to build the first 50 computers.

    Now, Apple has a federal credit union to help prospective new businesses or entrepreneurs.

    Certainly, businesses can start without a Small Business loan from the government, but they still need help from others in most cases, unless they are an individual service small business person.

    A self employed individual accountant might not need anything to have his little business, other than a education, a license, and customers. Now the education part requires a student loan or grant for most.

    At any rate, the issue really boils down to a capitalist system that is a network of people and things that facilitate the success of a business.

    In today's world, the once independent business man in many area's is dependent on association with a much larger company, like in franchises. We usually don't know how a small business got it's initial funding, or who advised them.

    There is no comparison to companies like Apple, Microsoft or others that grew from a garage into giant multinational corporations with stakeholders buying shares in the companies, in addition to profits from the sale of their products to consumers. If nobody bought the product, there would be no business.

    If we cannot see all the various entities and individuals that work together to make a business a success, we are wearing blindfolds. It takes a community of people and entities, in most cases, for a small business to begin and function, and possibly grow into a large corporation.

    That is not to say that a company doesn't deserve a reasonable profit, nor that it cannot be seen as contributing the the betterment of our lives.

    My objection is when they get so much money and power and turn it to work against the common good.

    Greed and the lust for power are not virtues. They cause dysfunction and more.

    One more thing. If corporations are now considered "persons", do they now pay taxes like persons, without any additional special tax perks?

  31. Not every person is cut out to be or wants to be a merchant, "business owner". Y'all act like it's a sacred calling. Like nobody else works hard as you to make a living. Like you deserve a halo for your money-obsession. Like you are entitled to be elite greedy sociopaths. The letter writer is right-on, so was Pres. Obama's speech.

  32. By stephenrblv: "The result such as Bain's can only come from fire sales, slashing employees, fancy accounting, HF trading, and government hand-outs. "

    >>>,,, slashing employees (insert: and taking their pension funds), fancy accounting, ...

  33. Here's the real issue with capitalism today which the video depicts perfectly. It has an image problem real and/or perceived. Makes no difference. But a 6 minute video by a speaker with a personal and political agenda is no contest for 2000 plus years of civilization.

    Over half of all working Americans work in small businesses. And over 70 percent of all new jobs created are from new small businesses. If you don't believe these facts, please go to the Small Business Administration web site. These businesses and their owners pay taxes. More today than they did 30 years ago according to a study of taxes done by the CBO from 1979 to 2009.


  34. <<And because entrepreneurs stand to lose, they deserve to reap the rewards when they're right. Their customers receive value in proportion to the money they spend when they buy. They are not entitled to a share of the entrepreneur's rewards>>

    Of course, entrepreneurs deserve to reap the rewards, as does EVERY business owner. I never said that they shouldn't. But the consumer IS responsible for those rewards, not just the business owner. Without the consumer, the business owner will not reap anything.

  35. I owned and operated a small family business for years. I was burdened by Federal, State and local taxes and was lucky after collecting, accounting, filing and paying for all these taxes, to eke out a living. Customers, and children of my customers, and their children who came to me for years and years were the reason for my ongoing livelihood. Gov't had nothing to do with it except to make it as difficult for me as possible to do so.


  36. Agreed that business owners need customers, but the point is that for our country to be economically successful, we have to have to encourage investment in new businesses. If the risk is not seen as worth the potential reward, then there's no economic growth.

    Loretta, where did you get the money to decide what you'd like to buy? You got it from a successful business. Either you work for a business that is successful enough to pay you a wage or you got it from a government entity, which survives on the taxes it collects from businesses or by taking a share of what a business paid its employees.

    Customers select the businesses they buy from based on what benefits themselves, what they perceive to be the best value for them at the best price. Their behavior is about self-interest, which is fine, because that's the free market system. But let's not pretend that the customer is doing anything more than that. From my point of view it's pitiful to try to take credit for the success of a business because you decided to shop there.

    I'm curious if there is one person out there supporting President Obama's comments who actually runs their own business.