Will the Entrepreneur Rise?

By Scott Holleran | July 20, 2012 | 3:21pm EDT

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” So said the president this week in a speech denouncing capitalism.

Contrary to what Barack Obama says, an enterprise is not something “you’ve got.” It is something you’ve made and it is something you own. Though Obama’s gaffe is getting attention, the problem is not just with what Obama said, though what he said is bad enough. It’s in the way he said it.

America’s anti-capitalist president speaks with a flip, curt, clipped, cynical style that underscores his nihilism: he stands for nothing. In a short sentence, he snidely dismissed the best efforts of millions of Americans who over years and decades – in countless investments, pitches, sketches, meetings and mistakes and restarts – work to achieve an enterprise of their own.

At least Mitt Romney, a private equity businessman who unlike Obama has a career of making money in a private business, called out Obama’s assault and defended today’s businessmen: “Barack Obama’s attempt to denigrate and diminish the achievement of the individual diminishes us all.”

Romney, who created ObamaCare’s predecessor and is not a principled advocate for capitalism, also said: “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, that Ray Kroc didn’t build McDonald’s, that Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft, you go on the list, that Joe and his colleagues didn’t build this enterprise, to say something like that is not just foolishness, it is insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America, and it’s wrong.”

Even better, Romney reportedly asked everyone in the audience who started or ran a business to stand up, which many in the room did.

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