With election 2012 coverage already ramping up over the past few months, I am sure people have seen the fundamental question of "who built that?" come up time and time again (as well as in the Massachusetts senate race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren). What is meant by this question is whether the government can legitimately claim not only to have funded projects like public roads and other infrastructure, but also, somewhat indrectly, private businesses. Republicans think that the private sector owes no debt whatsoever to the government for any kind of success that they have had, and that the government does too much to try and interfere with the natural "laissez-faire" mentality that the private sector likes to have in order to fund its own venture.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats think that if it weren't for the government investing billions of dollars in building infrastructure, bailing out big companies in both the public and private sectors, and helping to create jobs on a large scale to give everyone a "fair share," that those businesses and the economy as a whole would not be able to function. In recent weeks, we have seen this debate turn to the state level in terms election races that hit us closer to home.
Here in Massachusetts, Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) has been hammering his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren on this issue of "who built that?" Both President Obama and Warren have been making comments in support of continued government infrastructure spending and investment in building and growing companies while sending the message across to businesses of all sizes in the private sector that, "no, you didn't build your successful company on your own, the government helped you at some point along the way." With the political climate that we currently live in, Warren has been hopping on the Obama bandwagon on this issue, and as a result has caused a large firestorm in opposition to those comments by numerous business owners alike no matter what size the company is that they own.
Businesses should for the most part have no need or want to be attached to the funding source that is the government, so therefore all of their successes and failures can directly be determined by how well those companies are managed. The government does help build and maintain infrastructure, but technically those roads and buildings are owned by the taxpayers due to the fact that it's our hard-earned tax dollars "at work," and that we live in a representative democracy that is technically run "by the people" even though that could be a whole separate article topic within itself. Also, government does not directly create jobs in an economy, but rather can help stimulate economic growth with smart initiatives through legislation and from that point let the economy take its natural course. Government facilitates job creation through monetary and fiscal policy such as decisions made by the Federal Reserve and Congress, NOT controlling job creation completely.