Obama's 'who built it really' speech, con't (Jlhug)
I'm separating this out from the ID thread for clarity, and will begin by quoting Jlhug's response to my query on his/her position.
The overall message I got from Obama's speech was an attempt to agitate the non-business owners into a anti-business owner frame of mind. His message came across as the business owners owe the rest of us a whole lot of credit and money for letting them use our roads, etc. I think he was trying to whip up more support for raising the taxes on the 1% (which I agree with) but ended up attacking the small business as well. He really downplayed the individual's efforts and risk in starting and running a business, in my opinion and that is where his message went astray. If starting a business only took the support of the rest of the nation, why doesn't everyone start a business?
Thanks jlhug, that helps me understand your perspective much better.
There are certainly things that I find annoying about that speech. For one, the internet wasn't created by the government for business, it was made for military defense using public money and co-opted by business for private profit. For another, the government IS the people, not somehow a categorical opposition to the people. I wish he'd made that more clear, and I agree that the rhetoric was ill-chosen since it fell right into the hands of listeners waiting to pounce on "the Marxist."
I can also totally see rolling one's eyes at the kumbah-yah tenor of it, which is as usual pretty over the top for someone who has repeatedly caved to big monopoly interests at the sacrifice of both small business and the average American worker. (I initially thought it was directed at an audience of a workers' union, physical laborers, who are feeling increasingly disenfranchised in our system, and thus the slant being understandable. But it was at a regular campaign stop in VA to a general audience.)
Where we differ is that I don't see that he presented it as a zero-sum game: either society gets the credit or the small business entrepeneur gets the credit. I don't read that in his words, and I suspect that's an over-sensitive interpretation. (I do get it, and as a teacher I know that when folks go off on how overpaid teachers are, with their corrupt unions, I get all riled myself. But I think it's being hypersensitive where it isn't entirely warranted.)
In statistical terms, it also seems odd to brand Obama as virulently anti-small-business (I dont think you're doing this Jlhug, but it's all over the conservative press); hasn't he passed more pro-small-business legislation in his one term than was passed in the prior 3 presidential terms? Much of this might depend on one's preconceptions about the President himself. To me, Obama isn't a raving "socialist" just itching to nationalize our industry, he's an inexperienced muddled centrist without an initially strongly-established insider cadre in Washington, barreling through as best he can with good intentions and a highly-polarized constituency.
I do suspect that with this speech, Obama's speechwriters are reacting to the current media rhetoric of business itself, which has rallied around the "job creators" theme as though this were a morally superior status. Yes, undoubtedly there's a risk that small business entrepeneurs take, and this risk is unacknowledged in that particular speech, true. Yet I'm not sure it's a superior or more morally congratulatory risk to that taken by teachers and others who work for a pittance in comparison to the expense of their training. The business owner might fail, but they also stand to gain all sorts of profit. The education professional goes in knowing that they will not profit and does it anyways, whilst paying taxes and providing a vital service upon which our society depends and rarely rewards well. From this perspective, I didn't find the speech so terrible at all, can you see where I'm coming from? Perhaps I'm being myopic in my own way.
Just as a side note, my only business-experiential comparison is to Germany, a social-democratic country, where because of government it is MUCH harder to start a small business (permitting and startup fees), yet MUCH easier to maintain it at a profit once you have (national healthcare and federally-funded leave time means vastly less operating cost). And they don't have nearly the failure rate that we do. I honestly don't know which system I prefer.
Here is a link that might be useful: the former thread on this, from which I quote