By now we’ve all seen or read Obama’s infamous insistence that government–not individuals–makes the economy go ’round: ”If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Since he made that statement on Friday, the obvious point has been tirelessly repeated that in order for government to do anything, it needs individuals to prosper so that they can pay the taxes needed for government to build bridges and provide a “social safety net,” for example.
In other words, individuals ultimately make infrastructure “happen.”
John Podhoretz’s piece in Commentary magazine today addresses the political rock and a hard place between which Obama finds himself by running some numbers regarding individuals and businesses:
“In 2007, the last year for which we have data, according to the Census Bureau, there were 21.7 million businesses in the United States with no employees—meaning they were sole proprietorships, or free-lance businesses employing only their owner. Of the six million remaining businesses in the U.S., more than 3 million had 1 to 4 employees, and 1 million had 5 to 9. So, all in all, small businesses run by one person employing fewer than ten numbered an astonishing 25 million.”
So what? How does this threaten Obama? Podhoretz reminds us that Ross Perot scored roughly 20 percent of the vote in ’92 largely by attracting small business owners–i.e. individuals.
There is no third party candidate (no, not even Ron Paul) capable of pulling those kinds of numbers this year, leaving independents the choice between an accomplished businessman and the incumbent, who, writes Podhoretz, “revealed a degree not only of condescension but of contempt” for them on Friday.