Barak or Mitt, that is the question

I don’t talk about politics very often but it is something I believe we should talk about more, as a Nation.

I don’t find it distasteful at all, I am only advocating for my views, so here goes… Unlike some NRA friends of mine, I don’t hate the President, I think he’s a misguided social democrat who has more in common with Francois Holland than with most Americans but I don’t hate him. I don’t want to see him win again, for a number of reasons I could go into if anyone is interested.

But what about that “Mitt” guy? He is a very very rich man and that’s something that makes most people think he has done something unsavory, that he must have taken that big stack of money FROM someone. That’s NOT necessarily true of course. My business for example was successful because our service was $5 and our competitor’s was $50, and they were really really bad! Our first customers LOVED us (and are still our customers 12 years later) because we SAVED them $45 every time they bought our service, which they liked about 10 times more than the old one. Did we TAKE anything from anyone? No, we did not, unless you count the other company that we beat out for the business.

Still, I am not impressed with Mitt’s record of governance in Mass but you’d have to admit, he’s done WAY better than the President in that department. Here are a few metrics on spending, debt and jobs. The economy was clearly cooling rapidly when the President took office but still, his policies have hurt not helped.

So, a larger issue is this. The two men are clearly NOT the best men to run the country and that is disturbing. Why are more competent and more visionary men (and women) not stepping up? That’s a more insidious problem than Obama vs “Rmoney”. So while I wish there was another option, there’s not. As much as I respect Dr. Paul and his many followers, our system is not setup for a third party to be viable in 2012. Maybe 2016 or 2020 the Tea Party or the Greens or someone will have picked up enough steam but it is not going to happen in the next 90 days.

That leaves us with Mitt or Barak and I am going to speak out for Mitt. But, like most I am not doing it with much enthusiasm and I do not consider myself a Republican. Here’s the bottom line for me, then maybe we can talk about it, whoever wants to.

I make enough to make me one of the group Obama calls “Millionaires and Billionaires”, those people who make more than $250K. I also employ more than 25 people, with wives and kids that’s about 75 +/-. Every time my marginal tax rate goes up, my ability to expand that workforce and otherwise invest in my businesses is directly effected. I think most people envision The Donald when they think millionaires and billionaires, not the family that owns the Dry Cleaners, or the Funeral Home, or the Dairy Farm outside of town. Many of those people fall into Barak’s description of “the wealthy” but they still work 50+ hours a week, like me. So, when I hear Barak, taken out of context or not, telling hard working Americans that we somehow owe him and our country a debt for the roads and bridges, it gets me a little steamed.

Did I personally build those roads and bridges? No. But my father and his father paid for them with their taxes. The “government” did not build those either, WE built all that too! Road contractors and engineers hired by the government managed to construct the Eisenhower Interstate System DESPITE the government. Yes the project was conceived by Ike but where did that original $25 Billion come from? You know the answer to that one.

So when the President says “you didn’t build your company”, I know what he meant and I give him the benefit of the doubt. I accept that the structure of the United States, it’s laws and highways and schools and civil society has allowed me to succeed. But the President took it one more step, a step too far for me… Here’s the actual transcript (emphasis added):

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.

I do not dispute anything said here by The President, except that last bit about the Internet. “The Government” certainly did not build the Internet “so that companies could make money off” it. That’s just silly, and very illuminating. What an odd way to view the world! So, what’s so wrong that I have taken all of lunch to write this to my friends and colleagues? It’s Barak’s presumption. His presumption that because the Government has managed to build something, that it has a claim on each of our businesses and property and lives? What’s up with that? His view is scary, and overreaching and in my opinion even a little dangerous.

So that’s my $0.02 people. Hope someone has something interesting to add!

4 Comments

  • Jay Pfaffman

    August 23, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Uh, but the internet was made possible only by government funding and research. Novell (remember them?) and Microsoft and Apple all had networking protocols in the 90s. Those networking protocols are no longer in use now. The stuff the private industry invented were not capable of supporting a global network. Until 1995, the NSF funded the domain name system. The network was, in fact, built with government money; sure starting in the late 1990s once it became clear that money could be made off the internet private industry spent lots of money building it, but if the government had paid to develop TCP/IP, build a network that connected all of the countries major research sites, and manage how those connections worked, we would not have an internet and you would not have this forum.

    It’s true that the internet was not designed so that people could make money off of it, perhaps that’s your beef. The internet was designed so that if a nuclear bomb took out Colorado, the network could still work. The fact remains, though, that without government funded research, we would not have a major piece of our economy that makes it possible for Apple, Google, and thousands of other companies to earn a living.

    If we continue reducing our investments in basic research, we will no longer be the country that drives innovation.

    • mattfowler23

      August 23, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      I agree totally that basic science is worth more than we spend on it. And I actually was around on the Internet in the early 90s and remember well where it all came from. As you said Jay, the “beef” was in his assertion that it was built FOR commercialization because the government knew how to set all that up SO THAT business could profit. That’s not what happened. Also, the worst part, is that he seems to think he has some proprietary interest in everything created in America because the infrastructure enabled America’s wealth. That’s the crazy thought here, not who “made” the Internet.

  • Nikki

    August 22, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Be careful throwing that .02 cents around, it might be taxed too!

    • mattfowler23

      August 23, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      Ha! That’s exactly what would happen. Plus a fine for not reporting it on the right form!