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You Built It, While Obama/Biden Hamper You

When government lowers taxes, reduces unnecessary and burdensome regulations, and gets the hell out of the way, American business booms

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Now approaching 15 full months in office, it is apparent to any rational adult that Biden and company are bumbling morons who couldn’t manage an economy if their ‘re-election’ depended on it.

During his eight long and painful years as president of the U.S., Barack Obama uttered a bewildering array of mind-numbing statements. Nearly ten rears ago, on July 13, 2012, in Roanoke, Virginia he offered a humdinger. He said: “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.”

The GOP rightfully leaped on his last sentence and attacked Obama’s views on business and industry. Democrats quickly responded that Obama’s words were intentionally taken out of context, claiming that the word “that” within his last sentence referred to the development of “roads and bridges” in the prior sentence.

Entrepreneurial Initiative and Individual Effort

In lockstep, the mainstream media insisted that successful business owners, as Obama vigorously asserted, were indebted to our national infrastructure. Isn’t that the case in any prosperous nation?

Tax-paying, job-creating, product- or service-providing entrepreneurs don’t get into business where roads are poor, transportation is limited, and utilities services are unreliable. As Joe Biden’s bungling, bloated government intrudes into the lives of each of us, more so, each day, it is increasingly apparent that individual effort, entrepreneurial initiative, corporate excellence, and all of the smarts that we can bring to the marketplace help to strengthen our society.

If you’re a business owner, or someone who supports a small business, our hats are off to you. You did build that and you contributed to society in ways that Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and swarms of swamp-dwelling career politicians will never understand, or even attempt to understand.

The major fallacy with Obama’s viewpoint, and all those on the Left who support it, is that while the government built the roads, public schools, and so forth, one would have to conclude that individual effort and entrepreneurial initiative count for little, and that government is behind everything. How lame.

Rising Above

Some people have stood out in ways that the masses can never emulate. These individuals essentially traveled on the same roads, attended the same schools, were taught by the same teachers, and then excelled to an amazing degree. Consider Thomas Edison, Charles Kettering, Wilbur and Orville Wright, William Boeing, Marjorie Post, Philo Farnsworth, and even Steve Jobs.

Since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians and their formidable empire, in prosperous societies, government addresses critical components of infrastructure. This in turn enables citizens to be employed, feed their families, and serve as functioning cogs in society. So it was with the Sumerians, Greeks, Romans, 16th century Spanish, various European monarchies, and eventually the Western Hemisphere.

To say that an entrepreneur didn’t build his business or had only a marginal effect in the enterprise because the government laid the groundwork is a fanatical Leftist assertion. Effective governments are vital; ineffective governments are a curse. Some governments have damaged and diminished the role of the citizens who otherwise would have made great contributions to society.

31.7 Million Strong

The U.S. has 31.7 million small businesses, providing products and services to customers and clients who are often eager to consume them. To say, “You didn’t build that” is a slap in the face to entrepreneurs and their hard work, initiative, and sometimes outright genius.

Consider the reverse: If a successful entrepreneur did not build his or her business, what does one say about an unsuccessful entrepreneur who basically traveled the same roads, attended the same schools, and were taught by the same teachers?

If entrepreneurs are not the driving force in their own business, what differentiates success and failure? If those who succeed cannot be given full credit, what can we say about those who fail spectacularly? That some strange forces were at play?

The Driving Force

As a result of dispensing our tax dollars on infrastructure, thank goodness that government sometimes serves as it should. Even better: when government lowers taxes, reduces unnecessary and burdensome regulations, and gets the hell out of the way. When elected government officials, on any level, do not perform effectively, they need to be replaced. In any event, they are not the principal force as to whether or not an individual entrepreneur is successful.

Sorry Barack Obama. Forget about it, Joe Biden (who never built anything); we did build it, and apart from what effective governments around the world have done for thousands of years, your government plays only a minor role at best, and, more often, is completely in the way.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Education

Academic Underachievement As a Permanent Condition

Academic achievement occurs through individual effort: One boy and one girl after another rising above

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On the state and local level, as decisions are made about how and in what form we will educate the nation’s children, an age-old issue remains. The underlying causes of income inequality and civil unrest likely has less to do with media-inflamed coverage and more to do with a lingering issue that few people want to earnestly discuss: educational disparity.

In virtually every U.S. school system, the disparity year after year, decade after decade, and even longer, in mathematics competency, reading proficiency, test scores, honor roll status, and graduation rates, between African American students and other students is disturbing.

A Disturbing Reality

Here in the third decade of the third millennium, with a male African American high school dropout rate at 40% across the U.S., can anyone view the situation optimistically? Any responsible American would understandably be concerned.

As Eric Hanushek, who is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, as well as a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, exclaimed “It’s remarkable.” Following his extensive analysis of the situation, he remarked, “I knew that the gap hadn’t been closing too much, but when I actually looked at the data I was myself surprised.”

In one community after another, and one school system after another, when strenuous efforts to bridge the gap do not bear fruit, invariably someone yells “foul,” as if some grand conspiracy is occurring and a magic wand, yet to be waved, could suddenly redress all. And, as if hard-working, dedicated teachers are not attempting their utmost for each of their students.

An Undesired Path

Consider the school system in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina. This locale, deemed, “The southern part of heaven,” by a variety of writers, is among the most progressive in the United States. The teachers and educators here have a vested interest in demonstrating that their school system, beyond all others, can succeed in the vital area of closing achievement gaps between whites and minorities.

Nevertheless, year in and year out the gap remains. So, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education becomes primed to try anything! Another in an endless line of supposed “fixes” was to eliminate the advanced math classes in the middle schools and to lump all non-pre-algebra students together, with similar plans to eliminate other advanced classes such as in language arts.

Just as you cannot easily erect a sound building on quicksand, and you cannot expect to solve a decades-old problem by starting with a shaky foundation. Taking a lowest common denominator approach to developing school curriculum has never consistently worked, anywhere. It frustrates the students and dramatically increases a teacher’s burden – all such students must then be taught at individual learning speeds. Do you know any superhuman teachers? If so, could you afford them?

Face the Real Issues

Permanently closing the academic gap between underachieving students and the rest of the student population requires addressing reality – airing the truth about the disparity – not resorting to politically “correct” psychobabble and curricula finagling for another ten years, and then another ten, and then another.

This disparity encompasses such issues as the number of hours the television is on in given households, family or parental encouragement for completing homework assignments, a regular workspace, and established hours for studying in a quiet environment, among other factors.

Until solid analysis, exploration, and programs that address these issues are undertaken, no amount of wrangling with classes will prove to be the “winning formula.” And, school boards will have no chance of effectively addressing the continuing problem of poor academic performance among student groups.

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story The Sign of Four, detective Sherlock Holmes says, “…When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” The schools in U.S. communities routinely exhaust talented teachers with a task that cannot be solved by them, nor is it theirs to solve.

Students Eager to Learn

However improbable to those who wish to pretend otherwise, academic achievement occurs through individual effort: One boy and one girl after another rising above and cracking the books, then coming to class as serious students, eager to learn, and primed to excel. Such achievement is not likely to occur any other way.

Otherwise, expect that income inequality and civil unrest will continue for decades into the 21st century.

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