Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Dear Mr. President"

This was posted on a Facebook entry shared to me. Normally, I can let these little snarky “gotcha” points alone, but this one bugged me. I think it bugged me because too many people in this great country of ours believe they accomplished terrific things without the aid of anyone else, and certainly, without the aid of government. Of all the colossal gall expressed by certain libertarian types is the notion that governments don’t help them whatsoever and everybody is better off depending on themselves.

So the message from this posting is that small businesses would be much better off if there was little or no government to impede their abilities to succeed and do so much more efficiently. Would they really? I think NOT. So here is my reply to the snot-nosed business person that believes in total self-sufficiency:

“Dear Business Owner”

I’m glad you have toiled to create a successful business to provide goods and services to the peoples of our nation. The free enterprise system is a great tool that allows anyone with a good idea to prosper through self-direction and energy. A little luck doesn’t hurt either.

I would like to point out many things that I believe the government had an active and measurable influence on the success of your business. While it is true much of the inspiration came from your own doing, allow me to show you how the government you help support through taxes made it possible for you to succeed.

1) When a customer comes to you, how did they get there? Did they drive on a road built by a private business or was it some form of government? I believe that was some combination of local, state, and federal government projects to help build the best highway system in the world.

2) How did all the materials you need to function get to you and how did you get your product out? Oh, there are those roads again. They come in very handy. And, if I’m not mistaken, many items come from overseas via air delivery (using airports the government builds and provides key safety features) or by boat (using ports our government built).

3) How do you advertise your product and services? Well, there is TV, radio, phonebooks, billboards, all of which were established and continued to be regulated by the government so that entities can have equal access. And, I suppose you still use mailings to send coupons and ads out, so there is that pesky government mail system that has provided an efficient service at a low cost.

4) Maybe you are one of these progressive businesses that use the Internet for most of your day-to-day functions to support your business. Did you know the Internet came from a Dept. of Defense project in the 60’s and continues to be maintained by the government so that the free flowing Internet traffic continues?  Isn’t it funny that the critique you posted, while helped by Facebook, a private company, required a government run Internet backbone?

5) I assume you were educated to help you learn how to start and maintain your business. Unless you are one of the very few, you probably were a product of our government run school systems and universities. Even if you weren’t odds are that the people you hire had the benefit of a cost-free (at least directly) education so they could perform the work you require. If you were privately educated, my guess is that your family was well off enough to have that important education provided privately. If that’s the case, did you really do it all yourself or did you have such a beneficial head start from money and position to make you a success?

6) Hopefully, your business hasn’t suffered from a disruption due to fire or theft, but odds are you have a complete complement of fire and police services that have helped reduce the chances of you facing such problems. If they weren’t there, the chances of these types of calamities occurring would be much higher.

7) How about you? Are you reasonably healthy and safe? The list of government services needed to help keep you and your family in good health is due to the government functions involving food, drugs, water and air sources. Do you have safe water to drink? Are there wide-spread diseases in your area? Is the food you eat safe to eat? Is the air you breathe reasonable healthy or does it look like the air in Beijing, China (on a clear day you can see the hand in front of your face…). Do you need to worry about where the sewage goes from you home and business? And, thanks to Obamacare, can you make use of the tax credits to support health care insurance to you and your employees?

8) Have you ever not been paid for your product or service? Good thing there is a court system and methods of punishment provided by the government to make sure there are consequences should people not compensate you for your work.

9) Does any of your business come from those out of work, can’t work due to disability, those that are elderly, and the few unfortunates that just drew the unlucky card of life? Because there is a safety net to provide basic needs to these people and you might have one of the thousands of businesses that sells to those with subsistence to buy your products.

10) Lastly, but probably most importantly, where you able to succeed without the threat of foreign invasion or attack by another country that might like to have some of the good things we have in this country? Do you have any idea how much energy, time, money, and, most preciously, blood has been spent to preserve the freedoms afforded to you so you can have a steady demand for your business? How can you possibly not remember that a strong (possibly an overly strong) defense has given you the opportunity to succeed?? That is your government building the state of art machines and training the state of art soldiers so they can keep you from wondering if some hoard will end your business.

Unless I am totally mistaken, your success in business was founded in part by a team of thousands upon thousands of people in government functions to service your LIFE from the time you were born to the day you opened up your doors to your business. Sure, you have your own personal sweat and smarts that was part of the success, but because of many government rules, laws, and programs, you were afforded the opportunity to succeed on a grand scale. You owe it to give back and make sure others are afforded the opportunity to succeed as well.

Very truly yours,

"The Government"