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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Did Any Of Them Build This?

Aug 30th, 2012

For all of the mileage the GOP is getting from what is shaping up to be the all time gaffe of President Obama's career, they still just don't seem to have thought this thing through.

The Only Thing They Did Build
"We Built It."

Okay. It's glib but clever. Obama handed it to them. Here's the problem with this theme for the week; it's beginning to look like they didn't actually find anyone to speak at the convention who didn't benefit from public investment.

We all know that the arena in which the festival is being held was built with $86 million in taxpayer money.

We also know that the proceedings themselves are underwritten with $50 million more in taxpayer money. Of course, the Democrats get an equal sum but they aren't running on a phony message of rugged, anti-government individualism.

We now know that Romney didn't "save" Bain with private funds all those years ago, he was bailed out with taxpayer money. In fact, prior to the bailout, Bain was described as having "no value as a going concern."

We know that the supposed "Olympic miracle" with which Romney has been credited depended on $1.3 billion in taxpayer money.

We are also well aware that the Ryan family business, and the comfortable multi-million dollar trust he receives from it, we're accumulated by profiting from taxpayer money.

None of this is news although it does render the veracity of the carnival banners suspect.

The thing that is beginning to strain patience is the stream of "small business" owners parroting the convention message. It's possible that some majority of  "small business" owners lean Republican. There are tens of thousands of "small business" owners in America. With so few slots on the stage, couldn't the GOP have found a handful that didn't benefit, dramatically, from taxpayer money?

First, there was "small business" owner Sher Valenzuela. This plucky entrepreneur got up on Tuesday night and delivered a laundry list of half-truths about how terribly hard the big, bad government is making her life and the lives of so many like her.

What she did not say was that she has received roughly $17 million in government contracts for her "small business." Valenzuela is so disturbed at how horrible the government is that she is also running as the GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor of her state.

Next up, we heard Phil Archuletta, the head of PM Signs, Inc., as he explained just how miserable the government has made his life. You see, under Obama, procuring government contracts and maintaining the flow of taxpayer money which is the backbone of his business is apparently more difficult. The $1.5 million in taxpayer money he's received over the years just isn't good enough.

Think that one through again. Obama has tightened the flow of government spending and that's portrayed as a problem on live television at the Republican convention.

Last night, the sideshow continued. Meet Ohio's Steven Cohen, President of Screen Machine Industries. He's just another totally independent, did-it-all-on-his-own capitalist who has received more than $2 million dollars from the horrible, terrible public sector. Even better, Mr. Cohen managed to get nearly a quarter million dollars from the "failed" stimulus.

I want to be absolutely clear about something. I believe in government and I am 100% in support of public/private partnership. That is because I believe in maintaining modern civilization. And that is because I am not a child.

However complicated the government might be making some aspects of the "small business" climate (which is actually a pretty murky debate), if the GOP wants to sneer at the concept of fundamental interconnectedness between public spending and private profit, shouldn't they have at least tried to find some successful business people who weren't so completely dependent on American taxpayers?

Then again, maybe that's the point. Maybe it really just isn't very easy to do?

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