Between the Occupy movement of last year, and the shrill anti-business rhetoric of President Obama's campaign machine (which hasn't taken a break since 2007), there is no doubt as to what the Liberal political movement feels about business, big and small, in America today.
How many Occupy signs did we see on TV (or in downtown DC as was my experience) decrying the cruelty and avarice of Corporate America, and stating that people were more important than companies? And of course, more recently, President Obama's now-infamous swipe at Corporate America, now popularly known as his "You didn't build that" moment, underscored his contempt for capitalist and entrepreneurial activity. (This, coming from someone who has spent his entire professional life working in academia, political non-profits, and the government - quite a pedigree, indeed)
To the Occupiers and Limousine Liberals out there, I ask the rhetorical question - who provides jobs? In the Liberals' perfect world, of course, the answer might be The Government - the all benevolent Machine that doles out jobs to loyal party apparatchiks, bureaucrats and Unionistas. Perhaps one day, Comrades - but not now, and hopefully never.
Notwithstanding the growth of public-sector employment, the reality is that companies - big companies and small companies, ranging from giant telecom companies to Mom & Pop establishments, provide most of the jobs today in America - and play a vital role in creating a healthy tax base that supports our (ever burgeoning) public sector. And, because of that, companies are important - dare I say just as important, if not more so, than the average bedraggled, unemployed Occupier grumbling about the sad state of America, and wondering why his or her BA in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies (actual degree offered at Harvard) hasn't resulted in a decent job.
Notwithstanding those members of the workforce who are either self-employed or work in the non-profit sector (public employess, academia, etc.), most of us make our livings either working for, and helping to run companies. I do not work for another person, I work for a company. So does my neighbor, etc.
The basic calculus is: people form companies in order to produce goods or services, which in turn creates revenue and profits (gasp!). Companies are not created by individuals who are hoping to make the world a nicer place for over-privileged, unemployed protesters or professional politicians. Strong companies create jobs. Weak companies shed jobs and sometimes go out of business. Jobs provide workers with money, and governments with tax revenues, and charities with donations. When governments decide that companies should be punished for having the audacity of existing to make profits, guess what happens? Companies relocate or go out of business, and take jobs with them, leaving people unemployed and economically disadvantaged. This in turn shrinks the tax base, which causes a decrease in public services, and an increase in public debt and unemployment.
Don't believe me? Look at what's left of Detroit, Michigan, or, closer to home, just across the Potomac. Thanks in large part to its unfriendly business environment, Maryland lost more jobs in the first six months of 2012 than any other state in the nation, according to numbers released from the US BLS. Meanwhile, as reported recently in the Washington Times, companies such as Hilton and Computer Sciences Corporation have relocated their businesses to Virginia, instead of Maryland, due to the former's pro-business climate of lower taxes and fewer regulations.
Indstead of politicians who damn American businesses, and the gutsy Americans who have entreprenuerial ambitions, with comments like "you didn't build that", hopefully, in January, 2013, we will have a new Chief Executive - one who believes in the values once articulated so eloquently many years ago by President Coolidge - "After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world."
Just because many of our current politicians have ceased believing in this very accurate assessment of the American character doesn't mean we, as a society, have forgotten.