Thursday, July 26, 2012

The myth of Romney's "we did it ourselfers"

Motto: "We became wealthy by ourselves."
Oh this is rich.

Mitt Romney's been making a big deal of President Obama's "you didn't build that" comment. But more than half of the "we did it ourself" companies he's featuring on campaign stops depend heavily on the government. They've borrowed money from, benefited from tax credits by and sold refrigerator magnets and boat propulsion systems to the federal government.

To back up a little, here's what Obama said:
If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. 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.
Romney immediately pounced. And now he's holding 24 "We Did Build This" events in battleground states. And guess what? The companies featured got lots of government help. The Miami Herald reports that Romney's campaign featured two government contractors from Tampa who said they didn't need government.

Think Progress reports:

  • Ball Office Products hosted the “We Did Build This” event in Richmond, Virginia. The company received a loan of $635,000 through the Small Business Administration in 2012, according to The company was also awarded a lucrative $52,525 contract with the General Services Administration just a year after its founding.
  • Midwest Tape, a media distributor of Holland, Ohio, was showcased at a local event and has been contracted by the Department of Defense since 2008, earning a cumulative $13,659.
  • Columbus Truck and Equipment was featured in a neighboring event and has received $6,643 in contracts with the Department of Defense.
  • Cranston Material Handling Equipment Corporation, the owner of which spoke Wednesday morning at a campaign event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has reaped a total of $61,729 in contracts with the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2007.
  • Systems Engineering Co.The owner of Systems Engineering has received a total of $180,200 in DOD contracts, as recently as last year.
  • Brady Industries in Las Vegas has received $54,425 in contracts with Veterans Affairs since 2009.
  • Pennsylvania business PRL Industries Inc. received a $167,847 contract through the Department of Homeland Security for ship and boat propulsion components for the U.S. Coast Guard in August 2008... 
  • An Iowa event featured Competitive Edge, Inc. which was contracted by Veterans Affairs for $3,543 to make informational refrigerator magnets.
  • J & W Cycles of Missouri was awarded $25,808 in contracts from the DOD and Department of Interior.
  • Total Resource, featured in a Sparks, Nevada campaign event, has been a federal contractor since 2010, and received a $11,200 contract from the DOD in 2009.
  • Applegate Insulation, which hosted one of the events in Michigan, benefited from an energy saving federal tax credit worth 30 percent of the installation project, up to $1,500.
  • Home Instead Senior Care supported Romney in Roanoke, Virginia, even though home health care companies receive 75 percent of their funding from public programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Home Instead franchises in Virginia have received at least $3,613,549 in federal funding through the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2008.

  • Perhaps Romney should go to Somalia to see how well people fare without a strong central government. Good luck with the warlords.