The GOP wrapped up its Republican National Convention in Tampa this week, and it seems that it left voters with more questions than answers. Among questionable speeches like Clint Eastwood’s monologue with an empty chair that was supposed to represent President Obama, Republicans constantly repeated the theme of the convention “We Built It.”
Nearly every speaker that stepped on the stage during the convention made sure to include their belief that they built their success on their own, without the help of government. Co-Founder of Staples Tom Stemberg said that Democrats “just don’t get it. They don’t get it because they don’t believe in the spirit of the entrepreneur.” Phil Archuletta, owner of P&M Signs in New Mexico, made similar claims about his business’ independence and said that his business has received no money from President Obama.
Speech after speech, speakers echoed the sentiment that businesses have made it on their own in America. But have they really? Clint Eastwood has benefited from millions of dollars in tax credits granted to Hollywood to make the films that have made him so successful. Phil Archuletta himself has received $1.5 million from the government, including $340,000 in government contracts in 2010. Even the investment firm that handles Mitt Romney’s millions acknowledged that an “expiration of the stimulus would be a significant fiscal drag.”
We all can point to someone or something that has helped us over the course of our lives. And considering the federal government provides incentives and support for entrepreneurs, and manages the infrastructure on which many of our businesses depend, even successful businessmen benefit from government. Instead of bickering over who built what, we need to engage in the kind of dialogue that will find new ways for more people to get involved and build businesses and careers.