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Sarasota Thursday, Jul. 19, 2012 5 years ago

Our View: The anti-American president


He just leaves you breathless, dumbfounded … enraged.

Barack Obama is now incessantly demonstrating and articulating his disdain and hatred for free enterprise and capitalism at every turn.

His words and actions are anti-American, anti-individualism. He is pure despotic, the poster boy for government dependency and centralized, Marxist control.

It’s really scary. Call-to-arms alarming.

With every dictatorial decree — the latest his arbitrary executive order to wipe out portions of Bill Clinton’s welfare law without congressional approval — Obama increasingly resembles the Third World socialist, anti-capitalist despots in the vein of Hugo Chavez and, dare we say, the Castro brothers. Capricious, confiscatory tyrants.

Too extreme of a characterization?

Sample portions of Obama’s Friday speech about entrepreneurism and success in the accompanying box. Judge for yourself.

The underlying, and yet clearly blatant, message there is “the government” is responsible for everyone’s success.

As Obama sees it, individuals — with their own rational minds and choices and effort — never achieve or build or grow without the hand of the government. They never do it without the government hand that takes wealth from one and redistributes it, munificently, to another.

Tell that to Murf Klauber, to Harry Christensen, Ray Arpke, Ed Chiles, Alan Moore, Michael Garey, Robbie Ball; to Maria Sharapova; to Michael Saunders, Barbara Ackerman, Roger Pettingel, Cheryl Loeffler; to Lee Scott, Samir Raghib, Claude Engle, Weldon Frost, Woody Wolverton; to the Jenkins, Barnett and Rollins families …

We could fill this page and more of names of successful people on Longboat Key who made their achievements happen, who built businesses because of their individual efforts, not because of government handouts.

Yes, many of them received help along the way. But in the vast majority of those instances, that help came in the form of a fair exchange, because one helped the other. Business success in the free-enterprise system is always built on the free, peaceful, mutually beneficial exchange between two parties. Two parties acting in their own, rational, self interest.

Take that alleged “great teacher.” If you had one, you were not given that teacher. You paid for her or him — through taxes or tuition. You may have learned great lessons from that teacher, but that teacher was not responsible for what you learned or the actions you took to succeed. Those were your actions, your effort.

If you’re an entrepreneur who obtains startup capital for a business, you are not given that capital. It is a free, peaceful, fair trade — the investor’s capital in exchange for what he believes will be a fair return on his capital. And that return is contingent on the entrepreneur’s ingenuity and ability to make his business a success, his own effort.

“Somebody invested in roads and bridges,” Obama said. Those roads and bridges came out of the sweat and toil and labor of every taxpayer. They didn’t come from “the government.”

To hear the anti-free-enterprise, the anti-individual, the anti-American words come out of this president is beyond belief, especially so for those of us who believe the tenets of the Declaration of Independence — that we, as individuals, are endowed by our Creator with the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That is, the right to live free and the right to our property, by our own effort.

It is un-American for the president of the United States to say what Obama says. Indeed, the president of the United States should be, must be this nation’s biggest champion for the American Dream, that you can go as far and as high as your efforts will take you.

Believers in free enterprise and the American Dream, this is a call to arms.


“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own … “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. 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. (italics added)
“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

— Barack Obama

+ Idea: 10; execution: 3
The idea was great — a proposed charter amendment for the city of Sarasota to convert the city’s governance from a commission-manager form to an elected, CEO mayor.

It should have won support to be placed on the November ballot for voters to decide. But with all of the back stories and players behind it and around it and its being introduced, unfortunately, at the last minute, it was doomed — DOA.

All of which points to a strong need for a coming together in Sarasota of three groups that can’t ever seem to get aligned.

Let’s start at the end, with Sarasota City Commissioner Terry Turner’s deft maneuver to kill Commissioner Paul Caragiulo’s elected strong-mayor proposal.

It was late Monday, 9:45 p.m. Everyone was tired, mentally and physically, and wanted to go home. The question of whether to place the elected-mayor charter amendment on the November ballot was the last agenda item.

That was strike one. It clearly didn’t have the commissioners’ enthusiasm.

Turner had good reason not to want to debate it, either. Earlier in the night, commissioners approved a measure to draft an ordinance that would place another charter amendment on the ballot — Turner’s amendment. It would revise the charter to give more power to the city manager and reduce the city clerk’s responsibilities.

Turner, with the help of the Argus Foundation, sponsored this measure and collected enough voter signatures to guarantee its placement on the ballot.

Clearly, it would be better for Turner’s amendment not to have a competing charter amendment on the same ballot.

While he never expressed that desire, Turner adroitly raised a procedural concern about Caragiulo’s proposal. He said he didn’t receive it until 1 p.m. Monday and didn’t have time to study the 36-page proposal. “It would be irresponsible governance for the commission to consider a major item” on such short notice and without proper vetting, he said.

Turner motioned to postpone discussion until the commission’s Aug. 20 meeting. Commissioner Shannon Snyder seconded Turner. And without giving supporters of the measure an opportunity to speak, Mayor Suzanne Atwell called a vote. Turner won, thanks to Snyder and Vice Mayor Willie Shaw’s votes.
Caragiulo’s proposal was moved to August, causing it to be too late to be placed on the November ballot.
Turner’s concerns about the last-minute nature of Caragiulo’s proposal were legitimate. He feared voters wouldn’t have time to understand all of its effects well enough before they voted in November.

In truth, however, no one would have been harmed by placing it on the ballot. Doing so would have given voters sole responsibility for deciding the merits of Caragiulo’s proposal. Let the market decide.

One of the tragedies here is because of the factions that exist in city politics — the business community in one corner, neighborhood associations in another, Newtown in another and none of them speaking with each other — the citizens of Sarasota are are missing a prime opportunity to debate and decide how this city should be governed for the next 50 years.

Sarasota City Hall isn’t working, and it needs to be changed. Too bad voters won’t have the opportunity in November to decide which idea they prefer: Turner’s strong manager or Caragiulo’s CEO mayor.

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