IRVINE, Calif.—With both presidential campaigns focused on the role of businessmen, Ayn Rand Institute executive director Yaron Brook released a statement Monday saying that businessmen should be credited for building their own businesses and that whoever becomes president of the United States should encourage, not disparage, success. Brook said:
“While the Obama camp continues to criticize Governor Romney for his work in private equity, Romney’s campaign ads focus on President Obama’s statement that ‘If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.’
“The focus of the campaign for months seems to be the role of business in our society, whether it be private equity or business in general. Are businessmen responsible for their own success? That seems to be the question of the moment, and it is an important discussion to be having.
“The president holds, it seems, that businessmen are not responsible for their success, but instead owe it to somebody else—primarily to government.
“But what Obama doesn’t mention is that all those ‘somebodies’ get paid for their work by the very businesses whose success Obama demeans.
“If we’re talking about the private sector, businesses pay as they go—for employees, product components, and airplane tickets. And if we’re talking about public-sector infrastructure, businesses and productive individuals foot the bill for all of it—and a whole lot of entitlement programs besides. Obama’s idea that businesses owe a debt to society is as insulting as it is ludicrous.
“The knowledge we gain from others, and the products we gain through trade, are tremendous values—but they are not gifts from the collective, let alone gifts that come with undefined strings attached. Individuals—such as Aristotle, Galileo, and Newton—made possible modern science. Individuals—such as Franklin, Edison, and Tesla—created revolutionary inventions. Individuals—such as Rockefeller, Ford, and Jobs—catapulted our standard of living forward.
“Every creator makes use of the achievements of those who go before him. But what he creates by building on his predecessors is his achievement.
“What drives Obama to denigrate individual business achievement? He wants to demoralize and disarm the stockholders and businessmen who oppose creeping government control over their private property.
“Americans deserve a president who will say: ‘If you’ve got a business that you built, then you’ve earned it—as you’ve earned my thanks.”