So you really think you built it? OMB Watch wants you to get over yourself.
Mitt Romney may not have revived the actual "we built it" rally cry during the presidential debate Monday, but he did revisit the concept when he said, "It's not government that makes business successful."
Meanwhile, OMB Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization, is trying to burst that bubble with a video it released Friday pointing out that everything from your cell phone and weather report to the deposits on your business bank accounts and education for the next generation's Steve Jobs are linked to the government.
"When politicians demonize government's relationship to business, they're not being straight with the American people," Simon Greer, CEO of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, which helped fund the project, said in a statement. "This video shows Americans clear examples of how government helps the private sector by creating conditions that encourage entrepreneurship and by creating an environment in which businesses can thrive."
The battle over small business self sufficiency was one of the early sparring points in this election season, particularly after "We Built It" became a major theme at the Republican National Convention.
The Republicans coined the catchphrase in response to President Obama's comment that "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."
David Chavern, chief operating officer of the Chamber of Commerce, responded to Obama's "you didn't build it" comment by blogging that the idea was not a misstatement but a "consistent theme of this Administration ... that people who build successful businesses really haven't done very much."
"Rather than denigrate what these people have done," Chavern wrote, "we need to encourage more people to be like them."
But the video, touted by OMB Watch as the one "the Chamber of Commerce doesn't want you to watch," attempts to illustrate that the scenario many businesses say they want -- for government to just get out of the way -- wouldn't necessarily help them thrive.
"Blaming the government for every problem the country faces has become the knee-jerk response for far too many officials in Washington," Katherine McFate, president and CEO of the organization promoting government accountability and effectiveness, said in a statement. McFate added that the nation's "robust system of standards and safeguards" improves quality of life and that "now is not the time to dismantle the public structures that have served the economy so well."
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