By Dan Danner
America’s small-business owners were shocked and angered when the president of the United States recently diminished their sacrifices and contributions to the building of our nation. But few expressed surprise. They realized long ago that President Obama views them merely as funders for his plans to expand federal government.
“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” the president mocked entrepreneurs while firing up supporters during a campaign tour of the vital swing state of Virginia. “Somebody else made that happen.”
No, there was no surprise on Main Street that the chief executive holds business owners in low regard. They expect that from someone who has never shared their dream of building a small firm that, if successful, will create jobs, benefit the economy and stand as a model for others who believe in free enterprise.
This statement clearly demonstrates that President Obama has little understanding of the American marketplace. Worse, it indicates his lack of respect for hard-working, risk-taking men and women who spend endless hours pursuing an idea as old as our nation.
No, these entrepreneurs were not surprised that President Obama derided their importance as a cornerstone of the economy. Since taking office, he has consistently placed regulatory obstacles in their paths, redistributed their earnings to others and advocated heavier taxes that would force them to bear an even greater burden.
Although from Day One in office the president has offered much lip service as a supporter of small business, his record shows the opposite. He has enabled Big Labor to commandeer the National Labor Relations Board to pursue its goal of turning small firms into union shops. He has crafted a massive health reform law that ignored the pleas of small firms for affordable health insurance.
The president has allowed his administration to hogtie small-businesses with excessive regulations and aggressive enforcement by the Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service. This has weakened the resolve of today’s business builders and it sends a negative signal to future generations of entrepreneurs.
If the president cannot understand the essentials of free enterprise or respect those who practice it, at least he should admit that his bigger-government policies have failed. Now is the time to free small business and allow it to restore America’s economy.
Yes, Mr. President, courageous entrepreneurs did build those 25 million small businesses that Americans recognize as the backbone of our economy. Contrary to your other statements, they have paid more than their fair share of taxes to build the national infrastructure, defend the nation and fund government research that benefits our society.
Dan Danner is president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents 350,000 small-business owners in Washington, D.C. and every state capital.