The business of business is business.
And the business of government?
President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney part ways on that question — with Obama pressing the highest-earning Americans to pay more taxes and Romney insisting on lowering the tax brackets for everyone.
Yet Romney, who made many millions of dollars after co-founding and running Boston-based Bain Capital, is trying to draw an even clearer line between himself and the president — Obama, Romney says, “attacks success.”
The former governor of Massachusetts is drawing that line with a single line taken from Obama’s appearance at a fire station in Roanoke, Virginia, last week.
Obama said, and is pictured in a Romney campaign Web video, repeatedly, as saying: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.”
“That somebody else is government, in his view,” Romney said yesterday, campaigning in Irwin, Pennsylvania, “but you know we pay for those things. The taxpayers pay for government.”
In the video, the president’s comment in Virginia is repeated as a refrain throughout Romney’s response in Pennsylvania, making his case about Obama attacking success.
“The idea, to say that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motor, that Papa John didn’t build Papa John Pizza,” said Romney, pausing in recognition of a joke (his own Bain helped build Domino’s), “that Ray Kroc didn’t build McDonald’s, that Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft…”
“To say something like that is not just foolishness, it’s insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America, and it’s wrong,” Romney said. “President Obama attacks success and therefore under President Obama we have less success, and I will change that.”
This is what Obama had to say about the business of government:
“You know what, I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them,” he said at that fire house in Roanoke. “So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way.”
“We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more. And, by the way, we’ve tried that before — a guy named Bill Clinton did it. We created 23 million new jobs, turned a deficit into a surplus, and rich people did just fine. We created a lot of millionaires.”
“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back,” he said. “Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” the president said. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could ake money off the Internet.”