July 17, 2012

The Government Didn’t Build Our Grocery Store

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“If you’ve got a business-you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

President Obama spoke those words this week on the campaign trail in Virginia. After I read it I listened to it in context. And that is what the president said. I was amazed.

I do not believe Sam Walton believes someone else built Wal-Mart. I do not believe Truett Cathy believes someone else made Chick-Fil-A happen. And I know Delton and Jean Traylor did not have someone else building the Pisgah IGA for them.

In 1961 my parents moved from their Detroit home to Alabama to open a small grocery store. All of their worldly goods were poured into that venture. They were partners with a family member. They bought out his interest in a few months. Dad learned to be a butcher. Mom kept the books and ran the register. They hired others in the small business. But they did most of the work.

They opened early and stayed late six days a week. No one else did the work for them. Neither the state of Alabama nor the federal government built the IGA. Those two hard working, taxpaying, God fearing Americans made a living building a small business that rewarded them handsomely.

To tell them someone else made it happen is insulting.

Stephen Covey died this week. He wrote the best seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. They are:

1. Be proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first
4. Think win-win
5. Seek to understand then to be understood
6. Synergize
7. Sharpen the saw- that is undergo frequent self renewal

My folks lived these principles for years and never read the book.

And my parents would add #8-Make the kid work in the store, it is good for him!!


  1. Amen

  2. If you listened to the comment in context, then why didn’t you post the context of the comment? This is what he said: “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. 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. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

    The “that” in “you didn’t build that” referred to roads, bridges, infrastructure, education, emergency services and law and order — all services that protect and enable business owners along the way toward creating a successful operation.

  3. My grandparents,each with a 3rd grade education started a small shoe store in 1917 with $500. They worked many days from 7;a.m. til 2;30 a.m. waiting for the late train to come in from Boston, potential customers. They built the company up to 11 shoe stores Lost all but 1 during the depression. I was trained in that survivor store beginning 1960 @ high school. 52 years this past June 21,2012. When I arrived in Pensacola 14 years ago I had $103. in my wallet. Started bible school. and began in flea markets selling used anything. Began a retail store with G_D’s help. slept on the floor in the back, took a shower @ local truck stop if I has $2.49 that day or too bad, long smelly day.G-d opened doors for new product, bottom line 12 years later the store is a job creator. The Government gave me nothing. Obama never worked to birth any job or business and his latest not read on the teleprompter shows HIS REAL SELF, a marxist to the highest degree and this country is in jeopardy. Vote and pray for our leaders. We need to pray as ordered in 2 chronicles. fast turn away look for G-d to heal our land.

  4. Amen pastor. Well said. There’s something to be said about choosing hardwork and an honest living these days. Thanks for the post.

  5. Taxes from small businesses and their employees built those roads, bridges, infrastructure, education, emergency services and law and order. The Government produces nothing without the money we pay in taxes. Having a system that allowed small businesses to thrive through the hard work and God given talent of the owners is how the roads and bridges were built. The President saying that the small business owner did not build their own business, or as Mr. Marshall interprets it, the roads and bridges, is just further proof that the President either does understand we the people make the government work or he doesn’t care.

  6. Scott Marshall says; Comments taken out of context. The only other context that could be implied is that he want to raise taxes to pay for our Government programs. I have started an run 4 major business and I know that there is not enough margins in business to account for the massive tax increases and regulations that are now choking our business climates. This president has run up more debt than all the other presidents combined.
    Just take a look at Obama Care
    1 – Never before has the government required a citizen to buy a service at the governments direction
    2 – Obamacare will drive up taxes – spending and debt.
    3 – Undermines the doctor patient relationship
    4 – Dismisses religious liberty
    5 – Greatly expands roll of government in our lives
    For everyone who supports this action on the grounds it is helping the poor. Everyone would like to help the poor also but there are others ways to fix health care in the private sector without giving the government control of 20% of our economy. They have done such a good job with Medicare, Medicaid and with every other program they run.
    In 5 years we will see a program that will undermine our healthcare system and put us on par with Canada and France. Everyone who supports this massive government takeover will be to blame.
    I talk to business people all over the United States everyday and no one is excited about anything. Everyone is worried about our future.
    Scott this president and Ben Bernake the Federal Reserve Chairman with his quanitative easing is setting this country up to be like Europe, and if he is not replaced we will be in trouble. Is Romney the answer. Maybe not but he is much better choice by business owners than our current options.

  7. Keep preaching with the fire you’ve gotten in your belly!! Love it. Thankful for OBC and you.

  8. Mr. Marshall,
    I would have to disagree with your view of the President’s statement. While you included the entire statement of the President, the context of “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” svy plain and doesn’t apply to infrastructure.
    Without getting into a deep political debate, it is obvious that the President thinks more highly of government than he does of common Americans and hard work.

  9. It’s fairly clear that the context of the soundbyte was referring to the infrastructure surrounding the business. The president is making the simple point that you and your parents were likely educated in the public school system (something built by all of us via taxes). The road to your business was built and maintained by your local municipality through local and state taxes. It really shouldn’t take a lot of reading comprehension skills to read that and understand that the “That” that he was referring to was not your business but the infrastructure around it. He also went on to say in that speech,
    “The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.”
    Seems to me like that’s exactly what your parents did in starting the grocery store. They were partners with a family member. I am not sure why there is such an Anti-Community and Anti-Family sentiment in this blog while also expressing how they succeeded through the exact same measures described in that speech. Furthermore, it is a little insulting to our public school educators to claim that the education that was provided by them didn’t in some way shape or form help you become a successful business person. I think it did. Personally, I am thankful for those public educators and they did help me become successful in life and I didn’t make it here on my own. I did it with the help of great people in my family, church, and community!

  10. Mr. President, the way I see it is that “Somebody” you refer to, it is our Lord and Savior, Jesus. To Him, all of the Glory, Honor and Praise. Try gving Him the credit.

  11. Excellent point L. Garrett!!! Below is a a few quotes from his speech last year at the National Prayer Breakfast:

    “It is good to be with so many friends united in prayer. And I begin by giving all praise and honor to God for bringing us together here today.”

    “At a time when it’s easy to lose ourselves in the rush and clamor of our own lives, or get caught up in the noise and rancor that too often passes as politics today, these moments of prayer slow us down. They humble us. They remind us that no matter how much responsibility we have, how fancy our titles, how much power we think we hold, we are imperfect vessels. We can all benefit from turning to our Creator, listening to Him. Avoiding phony religiosity, listening to Him.”

    So it looks like he has publicly given some credit where credit is due. I’m all for healthy debate over taxes and policy. I agree with some things this president has done and I disagree with some things he has done. However, I just can’t stand behind twisting the words of another person to benefit a personal political agenda. I think that is a huge problem in this country on both sides of the aisle. This country desperately needs our citizens to simply listen to the candidates (not the media pundits) and then critically think about what was said and the context it was said in. Listening to pundits who twist soundbytes to fit their agenda is truly just laziness. I just shake my head in disgust when I see this sort of thing happen whether it is from Pastor Traylor or Pastor Sharpton. Same offense just a different view.

  12. That sentence is taken completely out of context. I encourage everyone to go to the link below and watch the 2 minute and 39 second clip of that speech. I find it hard to believe that anyone could disagree with the overall point the president is making: that public investment in schools, roads, law enforcement, and the Internet benefits everyone, that there is such a thing as a common good.
    I think this is a case of opponents of the president’s policies hearing what they want to hear, even if it’s not at all what’s being said. I hope the pastor will post a correction.

  13. An erudite response to the foolish responses to this ridiculous post. Stop watching Fox News, people.


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