Congressman Bob Gibbs

Representing the 7th District of Ohio

Washington Doesn't Like Me Very Much

July 25, 2012
Washington Does Not Like Me Very Much
Government Should Guarantee Opportunity to Succeed, Not Guarantee Success Itself

One of the things I’ve found in my very short time in Washington is that most of the people in that town have no confidence in the American people’s ability to prosper on their own.  Most in Washington seem to think that without the “helpful hand” of government, average Americans cannot stand on their own two feet, feed their families, grow their businesses, or save responsibly for their futures.  

I am a strong believer in the American people and what they are able to achieve on their own, despite the hurdles that government continues to put in their way.  I see examples of this every day throughout my district and around Ohio.  Innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, blood, sweat, and tears; those are the real qualities of the American people, and those are the traits that have built this country to be the best in the world.  

The now-famous “You Didn’t Build That” statement from President Obama last week is perhaps the most appalling statement I’ve ever heard a President make as it pertains to the economy.  It is clear to me that President Obama does not have any idea how businesses are run, nor does he have any idea how much personal risk a small businessperson encounters when attempting to start a business.  I am a life-long small businessman and farmer.  I did not inherit my business, I built it with my own two hands.  For decades, I raised market hogs and there were years when I wasn’t sure how I was going to keep it held together, but I worked hard, my employees worked hard, my family sacrificed, and together WE, not the government, kept the business growing.

The President would like us to believe that because government built our roads and provides water and sewer to our communities, that somehow they took the risk and should be credited for all success in business.  There could be nothing further from the truth.  All Americans have access to the public works that the government has helped to provide with our tax dollars.  All Americans are provided with the same ability to use those public works for the purpose of starting a business, hiring employees, and providing a good or service.  However, only those that choose to take the risk to start their own business should be credited with that company’s success; not the government.  

When our founding fathers put together their vision for America, they did so with the belief that individuals should have the guaranteed rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  In other words, government should guarantee opportunity to succeed, not guarantee success itself.  It is this basic tenet of our society that made us what we are today, and it is that opportunity to invest and innovate that will get America’s economic engine running strong again.  Small businesses don’t owe their success to the government – they owe it to themselves, but they are thankful for that opportunity to succeed.  I refuse to support many of the policies coming out of Washington that would take away those opportunities or make it harder to achieve the American Dream.
 
Washington is trying to create an environment where working hard and being successful is somehow shameful.  That is an attitude that I will not stand for, and my belief in the private sector has once again put me at odds with the Washington politicians.  This is another, in a long list of reasons, that Washington doesn’t like me much.  But the feeling is more than mutual in this case.