Entrepreneurial spirit is what makes America great

Do you really need examples? If so, consider the woman who starts selling homemade purses that she thinks women will want to buy, or a cook who decides to open a restaurant to feed people meals that he thinks they will appreciate. On a larger scale, a college dropout may sit in his basement trying to develop better ways for people to connect, communicate, or move data - think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

These humble business ideas gave birth to a multitude of mom and pop shops we find in every community across America, as well as many reputable corporations that employ thousands around the world. The initiative and creativity of these entrepreneurs feed us, clothe us, and revolutionize how people across the globe communicate. Initiative and creativity are responsible for the historic strength of our economy and the vast majority of jobs created in the United States.  

Creating a new business takes coming up with an idea that will be of value to the marketplace, a successful business plan and the commitment to invest in the concept. Most businesses are born out of creativity or as a result of necessity - all involve a tremendous amount of resources, hard work and/or risk.

For any business to succeed, someone must be willing to step forward, make the investment and take the risk. While many businesses succeed, just as many fail. Good entrepreneurs learn from their failures and try again, often realizing the success that eluded them previously. Many smart people develop good business plans at the wrong time or in a bad economy, but those that succeed are the ones who stay at it.   

Mr. President, perhaps your point was basically that it takes a village to build a business because police protect communities where businesses are located, fire protection is available and roads were built to get people to the businesses that the ‘village’ created. But highways and bridges are built with taxes paid by people who use gasoline to drive their cars. And yes, police, fire and other taxpayer funded services exist, but the business is created because someone had an idea for the marketplace, took a risk, made an investment and started something. Without that risk, the business wouldn't exist and jobs wouldn't be created. Police, fire, etc., exist because taxpayers paid for them regardless of whether the business is created or not.

To dismiss as a community effort - that which individuals create through their own initiative - reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of how the marketplace functions. I know many of your supporters, and maybe even you, cringe when you are accused of being a socialist, but this is, in fact, the socialist’s world view.   

The National Federation of Independent Businesses, the largest association representing small businesses, said it best, “I'm sure every small-business owner who took a second mortgage on their home, maxed out their credit cards or borrowed money from their own retirement savings to start their business disagrees strongly with President Obama's claim. They know that hard work does matter.  Every small business is not indebted to the government or some other benefactor. If anything, small businesses are historically an economic and job-creating powerhouse in spite of the government.”

Government's proper role is to provide an environment that allows the individual to create and innovate, which strengthens our economy. America has always been a beacon of hope for those willing to come here, work hard and make something of themselves. But if we do not stop the big government policies of regulation and stifling tax hikes that you and your Administration have put in place, there will be no turning back. Your comments and policies have laid out a clear vision of where you want to take this nation. November will tell us if the country agrees with you.

Mr. President, our forefathers crafted a nation that trusts the individual over the government. Entrepreneurs and risk takers are the people who made – and make -- America great. The solution to reviving our American economy begins with the understanding and appreciation of those simple historical facts and reversing the course you have set.
Olson is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

More in Economy & Budget

Obama’s last great Congressional battle?

Read more »