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What makes a business successful?  Some would say government.  Some would say markets.  A chosen few, think green energy, do get their success due to government blessing. But for the rest they are left to survive in the free market system.  Those companies must provide a good or service that their customers want, at a price those customers are willing to pay. Those two visions are what voters will have to chose from in November.

Never has their been a more stark contrast between presidential candidates.  At least in my lifetime.

 I believe in and America where the free enterprise system flourishes for all other systems to see and admire – where no businessman lacks either competition or credit – and where no monopoly, no racketeer, no government bureaucracy can put him out of business that he built with his own initiative. ~ John F. Kennedy

Compare that with this view.

If you’ve got a business, you — you didn’t build that! Somebody else made that happen. ~ Barack Obama.

You have to admit that is quite a contrast considering both were Democrats.  Now before you tune out, hang with me a second.  There is much debate on just what the President said.  Rather than listen to the cuts and explanations I will step back and and allow you listen for yourself, unedited.

OK, now we have that out of the way.  Let’s talk about business.  There is an ever growing drum beat that business is the problem.  That businesses only purpose is to steal your money and keep you down.  Well here is the thing. A business can’t survive unless they can convince people to pay what they are asking for the service, or item, that they provide. They need to have what you want, at a price you will pay.

And as long as people have choices, these businesses will have to either provide a better product or find a way to sell a similar product for less than their competitors.  Wal*Mart grew because they sell a lot of things that people want for lower prices then their competition.  And despite what you might hear, this comes about from innovation.

Innovation is what the free market does best.  Let me give you a personal example.

Several years ago I had the privilege of spending a couple of days with the Vice-President of Logistics for Dollar Tree Stores.  You might not realize it but Dollar Tree sells billions of items a year, all for a dollar each.  In any case Steve, the VP, was out looking for a suitable site to build a warehouse that would serve their stores in the NW as well and stage additional products that would go by train to Chicago to be sold in the Mid-West.  Steve told me that his division was charged with reducing the cost of getting a product into their stores by 5% a year.  They did this with proprietary software they developed and with ever more efficient warehouses. As he put it, “costs go up but we can’t raise our price, we are Dollar Tree and everything is a dollar.  So it is up to my division to find away to save money to offset the increased cost of product.”

Other companies, most notably Apple have taken a different tack. They have taken risk to invent never before created products and have done it so well that people will pay a premium over what the competition offers. Steve Jobs talks about what it takes to succeed below. Surprisingly he doesn’t mention roads or bridges.  Neither does he mention the great colleges and teachers; he dropped out of college.

But the bottom line is that business isn’t successful because government (i.e.taxpayers) built a road or bridge.  It is successful because through risk taking and hard work someone developed a business that provides what other people want and are willing to pay. If it was as simple as government building roads, bridges, schools and the internet, then no business would ever fail. Many do fail, but that is the beauty of the American system; anyone can try.

If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.  ~ Zig Ziglar

That right there is the American Dream. It’s unique. It’s exceptional.