Obama Didn’t Build That

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Pity the poor small businessman.

Up and at ‘em in the predawn hours, seven days a week, desperately balancing family with work, he pilots his fragile dream through the storm-tossed waters of President Barack Obama’s economy. Competitors try to undercut him. The large competitors often succeed. But he perseveres, making up for the higher prices necessitated by his lower purchasing power with outstanding customer service, personal relationships with his clients, specific items which can’t be found at big-box warehouses or some combination of them all.

Between feeding and clothing his family and fostering inventory and cash flow, his debt load is staggering. But he works hard, harder than so many who have foundered on the rocky shoals of ill-advised concepts, poor performance or plain old shoddy offerings. He has help from family—who often work for free—trusted friends, advisers and a couple of valued employees, whom he treats—and thinks of—as family.

He does his level best by his customers. He does the same by his employees; often, he sacrifices his own paycheck to ensure theirs are covered.  He is routinely exhausted by the twin labors of home and work. He goes without a vacation for several years, bolstered by the far-off sight of true success.

His business grows. He expands, adding more items and services. His reputation spreads across town, then across the region. He develops an e-business model, and gains a worldwide customer base. As business flourishes, he maintains a grasp of the values and relationships which he employed during his rise. The atmosphere is contagious; people clamor not only to shop with him, but to work for him.

He is a model of American success.

Then late one day in July 2012—a Friday the 13th, of all things—he checks the news (he didn’t have a chance earlier thanks to his 4 a.m. reveille and grueling workday). And he learns from the President of the United States that all his hard work, all his long hours, all his backbreaking labor, all the sweat of his brow, all the nervous nights wondering if he’d lose everything chasing his dream, all of it… was a waste of time.

He had a business, but he didn’t build it. Obama told him somebody else made it happen.

–Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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