You DID Build That!

Weeks like this, I hope, remind you why you joined NFIB.

President Obama’s jaw-dropping comments over the weekend, where he said “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” felt like a punch in the gut to small-business owners all over this country. It was one of the more blatant examples of the lack of respect that I know you have felt from government – subtly or explicitly – since you started your business.

I know you were angry when you heard his words. I know you probably wanted to give the president a piece of your mind, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you have already called the White House this week. At NFIB, we did respond to the president’s offensive statement immediately. We talked to the press and took to the airwaves to share your outrage.  This is the statement we sent to the media:

What a disappointment to hear President Obama’s revealing comments challenging the significance of America’s entrepreneurs.

His unfortunate remarks over the weekend show an utter lack of understanding and appreciation for the people who take a huge personal risk and work endless hours to start a business and create jobs.

Every small-business owner who took a second mortgage on their home, maxed out their credit cards or borrowed money from their own retirement savings to start their business disagrees strongly with President Obama’s claim. They know that hard work does matter.

Every small business is not indebted to the government or some other benefactor. If anything, small businesses are historically an economic and job-creating powerhouse in spite of the government.

We are encouraged to see that the news media is very interested in your reaction to the president’s words. They have already quoted from our statement extensively. If you would like an opportunity to talk to the press directly about how this moment made you feel, please contact NFIB’s media-relations office at 

As an NFIB member, you may be inspired right now to increase your activism and involvement. If you have friends or family members who are business owners and are also outraged this week, I hope you will mention membership in NFIB as a way to fight back. Encourage them to join. After all, the more members we have, the stronger our voice will be and the less likely we will be in the future to have leaders in Washington, D.C. who just don’t get it.

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About Dan Danner

Donald A. "Dan" Danner was named president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading small business association, in February, 2009. Danner is only the sixth president in the history of the organization. Before rising to the top spot, Danner was executive vice president, overseeing NFIB's federal and state public policy and political activities as well as the organization's three 501 (c) 3 operations: the Research Foundation, Small Business Legal Center and the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. He came to NFIB in 1993 as vice president of the NFIB Education Foundation (now known as the Young Entrepreneur Foundation) and was named vice president of federal public policy in 1995. Previously, he was chief of staff to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Danner also worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison, where he was special assistant to the president and deputy director of the department. Before joining the White House staff, Danner was an executive with Armco Inc., a steel manufacturing company. He held leadership positions in sales and marketing, as well as state and federal lobbying on issues such as energy, environment, taxes and trade. He also served four years as vice president of federal relations at George Mason University. A native of Middletown, Ohio, Danner holds an MBA degree from Xavier University and an electrical engineering degree from Purdue University.
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One Response to You DID Build That!

  1. Steve Roth says:

    You know perfectly well what he was saying. We didn’t build all that stuff that allowed us to build and grow our businesses.

    It’s disingenuous to suggest otherwise, not worthy of a self-respecting national advocacy organization.

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