President Obama and Bob Brunton the Small Businessman

In an attempt to cut down on the expense of college, I navigated the curriculum efficiently and managed to graduate in three and a half years.  As a result, about 20 years ago I went home to live with my parents for nine months before starting a graduate program in public administration.  Starting over with a new program meant that I needed to save up some money for an apartment deposit and other expenses.  For reasons I can’t recall, I visited a neighborhood drug store called the Brunton Drug Company.  The proprietor, Bob Brunton, hired me to make deliveries and work the cash register as needed.  

I almost quit the job before it began.  Bob showed me the truck I would use to make deliveries.  It was a Mitsubishi Mighty Max with a stick shift.  I did not know how to drive a stick shift.  I went home, downcast, planning to find a non-humiliating time to leave a note under the door explaining why I couldn’t start the job.  Instead, I talked with my dad.  He and I went out to a big parking lot at Point Mallard and worked on my technique.  I reported for work the next day.  It’s a good thing Bob didn’t ride along to see me driving his truck.  It wasn’t pretty.  But I learned and eventually became proficient at getting the job done.  

My job with the Brunton Drug Company lasted several months.  I worked right up until it was time to go to the University of Georgia.  It was a great experience.  I have always liked to ask questions of people with whom I work so I can learn.  Bob taught me a lot about his operation.  

When I heard President Obama’s comments about people who start businesses, how they didn’t do it by themselves, how they aren’t smarter, and how they don’t work harder, I thought about Bob Brunton.  When he started his drug store, Bob had to take all the financial risk of failure.  He had to stay open long hours each day and worked weekends, too, for years until he had a solid client base and could afford to work fewer hours.  But even when I was there, Bob was putting in a lot of time.  He didn’t take off for lunch.  He just heated a little container in the microwave and kept going.

Over time, he extended his business to include a local branch of the Roche medical labs.  Bob managed his drugstore and the medical lab at the same time.  Each day, some of the medical lab work would come over to the pharmacy and we’d stop and pitch in on labeling containers and sorting.  He was very shrewd that way.  He knew the big drug stores would continue to cut into his business and took steps to protect himself.

Bob Brunton worked hard.  Bob Brunton took financial risks.  And Bob Brunton was smart about the way he conducted his business.  I’m sorry to say that Bob didn’t live all that long after he retired.  He had given a lot of himself to his work.  

The president talked about how we can’t take credit because somebody helped us along the way.  I think he was thinking mostly about the state when he made the remark.  I can tell you that Bob Brunton helped me.  He made a big impression both in his work ethic and in how he treated me.  On my final day, it was time to close the store.  Bob and I were the only people still on the premises.  He gave me my final paycheck.  Then, he pulled out a second check.  Before he gave it to me, he said, “This is not a gift.  This is not a loan.  This is an obligation.  When you are successful someday and you can help a young person, I expect you to do it.”  He handed me a check for an additional $500.  At that time, my pay for the part-time job was $120.  

The president can build up the role of government all he wants.  I concede that it is important.  But he really should not downplay the contribution of the small businessmen and women who do so much to make our country great.  But if that is the case the president wants to make, he’s got a long way to go to convince me, because I worked for Bob Brunton of Decatur, Alabama who ran a drug store.

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85 thoughts on “President Obama and Bob Brunton the Small Businessman

  1. Pingback: Acton Commentary: It Takes a Village to Raise a Business | @ActonInstitute PowerBlog

  2. That is an amazing story . . . that is the kind of stories that made America great. Not stories of government hand-outs. But even better, I didn’t realize you were from the “great state” of Alabama!!

      • Hunter, that was what my Dad called hitting the nail on the head. “Keep your nose to the grind stone” he’d say to me. I’ve been with Boeing Aerospace in Huntsville, AL for over 30 years and take his values to work with me everday. Great article Hunter. You see, Bob Brunton was my DAD. Thanks for writing such a touching, and true, article.

        Sincerely, Bruce Brunton

    • What is noteworthy, is that it is not amazing. That sort of story has been repeated millions of times in this country. And it has NOTHING to do with government smoothing the way for entrepeneurs.

      What it is testament to is the spirit and determination of American business people…people who despite the odds of failure, risk all to make their dream of financial independence and success become reality.

      The President stepped in it this week. In a rare moment of unguarded, straight-from-the-hip candor, Mr. Obama gave us insight into his core belief that we are nothing without government.

      And he couldn’t have been more wrong.

      • If you read the entire thing that President Obama said, the right wing has delightfully taken the whole thing out of context. You folks are wrong about this man.

    • Bob Bruntron did not stop helping others when he retired. There is a young pastor in Memphis whom Bob and JoAnn are personally responsibly responsible for much help along his way. Not just any young man, but one who will rise to the top. I knew Bob and I know Nick Hughes. Nick always gives credit to Bob. Look for Nick and see where he is in 10 years. Quite an investment in someone’s life by the Bruntons. Dr.Jerry Weaver

  3. Remarkable story, well told. Thank you for sharing this, Hunter. Ricochet sent me over and I’m glad they did.

    We are, finally, getting to see the true nature of our current president. I pray he doesn’t have a second term. We need more Bob Brunton’s and less wards of the state.

  4. Pingback: President Obama: ‘If You’ve Got a Business — You Didn’t Build That. Somebody Else Made That Happen’: « "It's Elementary, My Dear Watson!"

  5. This makes me think back to all the people (not government policies/departments) that helped me along the way. Just the little things can count; like the person that sold me my first car dirt cheap so I could get an after school job; like the teacher that spent extra time helping me with my Algebra since I had to leave class early for my full time after school job (3pm to 11pm); like the person who gave me a chance with my first post H.S. job when I was only 17 and had to get special permission from the labor department (I have been with that same company for 39 years now). Although I can not go back and express my appreciation to these people now, I try to pay it forward by helping out other young hopefuls. Little things done by big people have given me a step up in life, not the government. If anything, I have helped the government with my tax dollars that are spent mindlessly than they have helped me. Kudos to you Mr. Baker for remembering Mr. Brunton with this lovely piece.

  6. You are wrong in your interpretation of Obama’s statements. Here’s his expanded comments:

    “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.

    The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/13/remarks-president-campaign-event-roanoke-virginia

    It’s fine and dandy to use anecdotal evidence completely devoid of any meaningful context, but I can guarantee you that Bob Brunton did not get to where he was completely on his own. To claim otherwise is simply foolish. He came in contact with people that helped him along the way the same way he helped you, and yes the government probably also played a part in his success be it in his education, small business aid, infrastructure, etc.

    Far from degenerating the American small business Obama ha done exactly what he espoused in this stump speech by coming alongside the small business and ensuring that they have the help they need to thrive. How has he done this? By cutting taxes on small businesses not once, not twice, and not even three times but 17 times ( http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/jun/13/debbie-wasserman-schultz/dnc-chair-wasserman-schultz-says-obama-has-signed-/ ).

    There is an American myth that those that succeed in this nation succeed solely on their own initiative, which, is why it comes as no surprise that the Republican party wants to paint the government as someone who gets in the way of small businesses. That is a bald -faced lie. The post-World War II miracle was built on the back of a partnership between the government and individuals. The GI Bill educated that generation, the FHA loans helped them buy homes, etc.

    The response the president’s speech is ridiculous and based mainly on a mischaracterization of his message. A mischaracterization that, unfortunately, you have chosen to perpetuate. I do hope you did so unaware of the context of the President’s statements.

  7. Ben Domenech of ‘The Transom’ linked to this piece, Hunter, and I’m glad he did.

    Thank you for a beautifully written tribute (and a profound rebuttal.) And thanks to Bob Brunton and a lot of folks like him who went before us and helped make this country great.

  8. Never disparage the American work ethic. Too many people have worked too hard for too long to achieve their dream, not Obama’s, of success. Hear, hear Mr. Brunton.

  9. Hunter Baker, I clicked to read your article because my son’s good friend’s name is also Hunter Baker. But by the end of the story I was crying. Not because it’s a sad story, but because both my son and his friend Hunter are the same age you were in the story and I feel this president is ruining our country for them. That makes me very sad. I know that MittRomney(.com) is our only hope for saving the American way of life in which I grew up. Thanks for writing this wonderful article.

  10. A great story, sir, which I found via the link on RCP.

    People are so quick to say, “What can one person do?” The answer is, quite a lot.

  11. THIS is the Real American Ideal and Value. Thanks for shining some badly needed light on what really makes this nation great. Too bad our educational and political establishments have forgotten these truths!
    Carpe Diem!

  12. The president talked about how we can’t take credit because somebody helped us along the way…

    But he made the gutsy call and single-handedly killed Osama bin Laden.

    • The President did single handedly kill bin Laden. The u. S. Navy Seals did the work. He gave the order. Give credit to the men who took on the task and completed it.

      • I hate to break the news to you, but the Navy SEALS are part of the g-o-v-e-r-n-m-e-n-t, paid by t-a-x-e-s.

      • To Love the USA
        I certainly understand that the Seals are paid by the government, most likely better then you do. However, your statement that the President “personally” killed bin Laden is a misuse of language. He “personally” gave the order, but did not personally participate. He further endangered all Seal Teams by announcing which Seal Team followed his command. Living together makes families vulnerable from such public statements. Having said that, many politicians give out to much information (in both parties) because they have no sense of the ramifications of talking to much just to get press coverage to be important!

  13. The president never said people that built businesses did not work hard or take the risk! He simply tried to get across a point. A belief that used to be common in America and even more so in the South. That no one person does or is a success entirely on their own! We ALL have people who have given us a chance or advice! And in the case of government ensured our rights and protected our wealth and investments. Contrary to what some people would like to think he is not advocating that everyone receives the same benefits no matter the risk they undertake or the amount they work. He is suggesting that those who benefit most from ‘the system’ (protected by the government) pay more to insure the viability of that system! That is a VERY American concept, indivualism tempered by community!

    • Shari.. I agree. We who have more have higher obligations. The rub is in what is our “fair share” How much should I pay. Personally, and through my companies ( company taxes which I personally had legal obligation for) I paid 4.5 million in taxes this past year. The president thinks it should be closer to 5 million. A little personal information: we live in a 370K house and drive cars that average 6 years of age. No airplane, no vacation home. I can figure out how to pay that extra half million but there is an opportunity cost to that (i.e. where does that half million come from and what were its alternative uses) Lets use some of the things my wife and I did this past year as examples of things that I couldn’t do in the future or couldn’t do as extensively or effectively.

      1) Development of a non profit that equips businesses to effectively partner with their employees in improving their children’s educational outcomes.

      2) Initial development of a training program that equips businesses with the tools to hire disadvantaged minority young people and to provide on the job training to equip them to quickly move into positions to make above median wages.

      3) Formation of and endowment of a unique college program that allows individuals to graduate debt free in four years .

      4) Construction of a secondary school in a Tanzanian village that will provide a high school education to a group of young people that would otherwise have had less than 3% chance of completing their secondary education.

      5) Investment in a couple of start up ventures that if successful will create some great jobs and happy customers, and which if they fail will cost you and the federal government nothing.

      So the rub is.. I think I’m already doing my fair share.. I believe that we will use that extra money more effectively and productively than the federal government.

      • Bill, you need to pay more taxes so that GSA can take more lavish vacations to Las Vegas and Hawaii (and make more silly videos) on your tax dollars.

        All of those great things that you do for the community with your money do not matter to liberals. Liberals generally do not donate as much to charity. They want YOU to pay more to the government so that THEY can get more free stuff.

      • This is going to sound like class discrimination; however, as you do more than a fair share, are the Presidents of Exxon, JPMorgan, Shell, Hp, IBM, Ford, Gm,etc. doing their fair share. Are any of those people really worth what they are paid. I think not! If we are going to have class discrimination, as apparently we are, let us make it clear exactly which money class needs to pay a fairer share. If these major business tycoons are the job producers and finders of business growth, show me the jobs (new) and the small business loans (new) they have provided. Perception is everything and there it is not currently perceived that they are doing or paying their share.

    • Shari, what rock have you been living under? Come out into the sunlight so you can see more clearly what Barry has done that runs counter to building the American dream. Would you call many of those on welfare “hard working” enough to take the risks needed to become successful? Of course each successful person that workede hard to become a success in America had the benefit of roads and bridges to get it done. But, so did those who failed to make a business successful. And so do all those are wallow on welfare or unemployment compensation for weeks, months and years. Perhaps the answer for those 49% who do not pay ANY taxes would be for all of them to join a union so they can pilfer excessive benefits for themselves from taxpayers and big corporations.

      • Everyone who receives TANF (the replacement for “welfare”) is raising one or more children and must meet a work requirement beyond that. The same people who claim Ann Romney is hard-working because she raised children (with a lot of help) love to dump on folks who try to raise kids, work some low-paying job, and maybe get a little help. That meme had a grsin of truth to it in Reagan’s day. Now it’s just a way to scapegoat the poor.

    • Shari,

      The financial reality is that raising taxes on the rich will barely put a dent in the deficit and will almost certainly shrink the tax base. Obama has said himself that “you don’t raise taxes during a recession”, and he was right. We would need a tax increase of roughly 30% to meet our financial obligations for 2013, an increase that would crush our economy. And let’s not forget the role that government played in the housing and financial meltdowns.

      This is nothing more than an election-year appeal to the envy of people who don’t know any better. Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric – his policies are anti-growth and are hurting the very people they purport to help.

    • Not exactly. What Obama was trying to get across is that those who are successful are really just taking advantage of the system put in place and supported by the government.

      Obama has never had a real job. He’s never run a business. He doesn’t understand that small business owners take huge risks, they work hard, and sometimes they have really bad years. Other years, they might have some strong success. They don’t need to be burdened with extra taxes in those strong years because they have loans to pay off because of the risks they take. What’s more, Obama doesn’t understand that those successful businesses are the ones whose taxes built the infrastructure. They give back far more than they take. Obama’s comments were an insult to the American dream and Americans everywhere. Obama’s comments explain what many of us already realized. Obama does not understand business because he has never had to sacrifice and take the risk to run one.

      Our narcissistic President also often takes personal credit for things which others have done, and yet now he wants to take credit for businesses like mine that have succeeded in spite of him. He has put obstacles in our path. And yet we still succeed.

  14. Shari, as much as you said is already the case in terms of policy. Those who earn more pay the lion’s share of the federal tax burden. What was so offensive about the president’s remarks was his apparent feeling that there is nothing special about what entrepreneurs do. To paraphrase, “Well, lots of people are smart. Lots of people are hard-working.” Yes, but some take the risks and reap great rewards, employing many of us at the same time. We should be more grateful to them and less eager to tax and regulate them via the state.

  15. OBAMAS -NOT QUALIFIED TO RUN A HAMBURGER STAND, LET ALONE THE WORLD’S LARGEST ECONOMY……YES WE CAN…RUN AMERICA OFF A CLIFF….8.2% UNEMPLOYMENT-25 MILLION AMERICANS OUT OF WORK-RECORD AMOUNT OF BANKRUPTCIES and FORECLOSURES under OBAMA- and a RECORD 16 TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT…YEAH OBAMA IS OFF TO A GREAT START.

  16. Pingback: The Elves in the Mountains « Reflection and Choice

  17. Shari – It is sad you have to make excuses for the most powerful man in America. Someone the whole world listens to. He insulted the American business owner…period. There is no excuse for what he said. You paraphrased him. If that is what he meant, he would have said it. I was not thrilled with either candidate, but that comment sealed it. I work too hard for my busienss and already pay too much to be insulted by our president. Hope you enjoyed your only term Mr. Obama.

    • What Obama said was not a one line gaff. It was an entire speech filled with attacks on business (so that he can justify taxing them more). The only people who didn’t understand what he was saying are apologists like Shair that either didn’t listen to the entire speech, or people on his campaign staff that understood what he said but wished he hadn’t (and are trying to rewrite it).

  18. @Shari: Out of curiosity, exactly how do YOU now what he MEANT to say, but clearly did not say?

    Or, perhaps more appropriately, what qualifies YOU to interpret the meaning of another, any other, persons statements?

  19. Thank you for this lovely essay about Bob Brunton. it captures the quiet dignity of the hard-working men and women who run small businesses. My husband is a small businessman who works 80-90 hours a week to provide for our family. Our President doesn’t seem to understand the demands or the contributions of those who work so hard.

  20. We have a President who has never been self made. He resents it, as he resents anyone who took the risk and is now successful. All anyone needs to know about our President can be summed up in two numbers. Between April and June 225,000 American’s started working in new jobs. 285,000 began taking disability pay. Our President has said the private sector are doing fine. I guess he means it is doing find because more and more people are now on the government dole.

  21. Dear Hunter,
    Just respond to one simple question… the roads that you drove on in your stick-shift truck, the policeman that protected the store from being robbed, the fire-fighter that would run to and risk their lives for if the store were on fire… Who made them available?

    You have obviously never been in third-world countries, where that infrastructure is not available – that is where an entrepreneur is really responsible for ALL his/her accomplishments.

    I also find it funny how a business owner that works long hours is anymore honorable than someone like me that works long hours for someone else…

    • pancas, let me answer for Hunter.

      The roads that he drove his truck on were paid through his taxes (and those of other successful businessmen).

      The fire-fighters are paid for through Hunter’s and Bob’s taxes (and those of the other successful businessmen who pay about 65% of the taxes in the US).

      The policemen are paid for through Bob and Hunter’s taxes too.

      Government derives its power (and its funding) through the people. Not the other way around.

      pancas, you take very little risk in your job. Bob put his life on the line through his pharmacy business. And he hired other people like Hunter. He provided economic growth (and valuable services) for his community. I’m sure that he paid more in taxes than you did too. It is easy to see that Bob is putting more into the system than you do. But even if he is not, why should he pay a much higher tax rate than you (who risks virtually nothing in your job) do?

      Obama and his stupid friends want us to believe that Bob is a leech on the society so he needs to give even more back. Obama is an insult to the American dream.

  22. Pancas, the question is not whether we should have a government, but how much. The things you’ve mentioned are uncontroversial. The state needs to enforce property rights, enforce the rule of law, and put in place some infrastructure. Nobody would criticize the president for those things, but his priorities have been substantially more expansive. That is problem. He has much more faith in the power of government than in the power of individuals. And yes, I think there is something special about the person who makes sure that payroll gets met. You don’t have to worry about that when you go to bed at night. The small businessmen and women of the nation do.

    • I think you may be distorting the words (and actions) of the President. He is countering the argument of “the free-market fixes everything” and the “private sector should be responsible for everything”…

      All I hear from the republican side is we need smaller government (small enough to fit and regulate in the bedroom it seems…) – so I need to understand, where exactly would you make it smaller?
      If not police, fire dpt, teachers, then what? Take unemployment insurance away? Maybe remove the insurance that protects our savings at the bank?

      I have never met a business owner that didn’t sleep worrying about payrolls… I do remember quite a few worrying about their profits though. I have seen hundreds of companies that make a profit and still lay off folks.
      And the fact that business owners take the risk is absolutely true – they also take the biggest rewards if they prevail. that balances out. And if they don’t prevail, we have a social insurance safety net to get them back on their feet (maybe that’s where we take from government?)

      • Pancas.. I think you may be confusing big (too big to fail) biz with most of us out here. I can very clearly recall the sleeplessness associated with upcoming payrolls where the money wasn’t in the bank. The other thing that distinguishes most small businesses is that there is little if any in the way of “safety net” When we borrow money we personally guarantee the repayment. I was awake more than one night worrying about and visualizing the process of failure and what that meant. It would have meant professional and personal bankruptcy where I would have had a used vehicle left to my name and a few personal possessions and a very difficult time getting any kind of job. It would have meant that years of 70 hour weeks and almost no compensation would have been for naught. It means all the myriad sacrifices my wife had made would have been in vain. We were oh so close more than once. That will make you sleepless. So when you have finally made it and contributed multi millions in taxes to “give back” for what government has provided you get a bit aggravated when you’re vilified, made out to be greedy, and had the value and difficulty of what you accomplished dismissed.

      • How about if we eliminate the GSA and all of their trips to Las Vegas and Hawaii, and their videos that are made using our tax payer dollars? How about if we eliminate Obamacare instead of creating another huge entitlement program that will degrade our health care and bankrupt us? That would also remove the need to hire 2,000+ more IRS agents working as Big Brother. We could reduce the size of the EPA.

        But more importantly, many of the things that you mention could be outsourced to private entities. Private schools, for example, are vastly superior to public schools. Why is government running education anyway? The Post Office is already bankrupt. Turn that over to FedEx and UPS (and others), and let those who are more efficient deliver our mail. Government doesn’t have to do everything. And generally, everything government does is less efficient than the private sector because government has no competition (so it is loaded with waste and fraud).

        We have a big choice in November. Do we continue to grow government and continue on the road to bankruptcy, or do we restore prosperity and the American dream by empowering the people instead of the government. I choose Romney and prosperity.

      • pancas,
        please meet my hubsand, and our small business of 17 years. He has gone without sleep many nights, worrying about payroll and other expenses. And taxes, and if he was going to have to lay off that 20 year old whose wife just had a baby.( he didn’t) And when this economy was going to get better. I cannot tell you how many times he didn’t draw a paycheck. And in New York- no safety net for self employed- you cannot draw unemployment if your business and all your investment fails. Start your own business. Jump thru the flaming hoops. Work 60 hrs a week for 20 hrs pay. Manage to keep it going as the president drives this economy in the ground with his tax, health and energy policies. Then talk to me….

      • I can think of one huge way to make the government smaller. Exit the US Department of Education! Since its inception our public schools have been in a huge downward spiral. The management is so far removed from reality in schools they have no effectiveness in policy making. They make wonderful salaries for a lack of knowledge or usefulness.
        Before you start with this raising unemployment, send them back to the classroom to teach if they still have the knowledge or ability to do so (doubtful).

    • I disagree. I think Obama is saying that our strength is in the strength of all our people – healthy, educated and with opportunities. What he is trying to overcome is this notion that the businessman, in his drive for autonomy, should not be setting the priorities for the community at large. It is a constant tension between the government, the people and private business. It’s not a war, it’s a mutual sharing of responsibiltiy.

      • I disagree. With Obama, it is a war. He has continually attacked business from the start.

  23. To the Sharies of the world:
    With the Makers (top 20%) paying 70% of the taxes, I’d say the builders have already and continue still to more than pay their way. I’d like to know what “skin in the game” the bottom 49%, the Takers, who pay ZERO, ZILCH, NADA in taxes, have in this great Republic? If they paid their “fair share” we could all pay less in taxes, which would unleash the “animal spirits” needed to turn around the economy.

    • Actually, the top 5% pay over 65% of all taxes.

      But you are right. The bottom 49% who pay no income tax need to have a stake in the game. Otherwise, there is no “fairness” in a system where half of the people only take and don’t give anything back.

      • Apparently you missed Jimmie Stewart’s speech in It’s a Wonderful Life. To paraphrase: that 49% does the same amount of living and dieing in this town. Is it too much to ask that they have a decent place to live?

  24. To the Wm. Ws of the world:
    Too bad Utopianism, Communism and Socialism have ALL failed as an economic/social/political organizing principle. Collectives only work in the absence of Freedom and Individual Liberty. History has already proven that only Capitalism works to generate rising standards of living for the largest number of people. You need to read Adam Smith along with Milton Friedman and Frederick Von Hyack…von Mies too! Ignorance CAN be cured with Education.

    • You are painting with a very broad brush – Adam Smith never advocated pure capitalism. He did not trust the moral judgment of business. Friedman’s models work well in small market places with perfect transparency – hardly what we have today. Hyack is a kook (like Ayn Rand). The government does not exist for the benefit or protection of business, it’s a by-product of the protection of the community as a whole. Hyack invisioned the Rule of Law as a protection for private business and their contracts – he could not imagine a regulatory agency or laws protecting the consumer from the abuses of business. I agree with him that the Rule of Law and predictability (certainty) are highly important to a free society, but socieity is much more than a group of business transactions.

  25. Mr. Baker, I’m very curious – did you ever follow through with the obligation that you were assigned? As RCP has linked to your article I believe that readers like me would find knowing that you did that – although unrelated to the premise of the article – would be the proverbial cherry on the top of the cake. Nothing stands farther against the progressive view that government has to step in and provide than proof as much as possible of the charity of others.

    (And if you do mention it I wouldn’t go into details if you don’t feel like it – even knowing that you remembered that and paid it forward as he told you is quite a powerful statement IMO.)

  26. The roads, bridges, internet and everything else the government runs, rents and owns was paid for by taxes. Almost half of Americans pay no income taxes. People on food stamps, subsidized housing, and other government “welfare” programs pay little if any taxes. Yet they all use the services PAID for by those who do pay taxes. So I don’t want some IDIOT telling me I’m not paying my “fair share”. Who determines what is fair? Flat tax? Oh no, that’s not fair to the poor? Sales tax? Same thing. If you don’t like the current IRS/tax rules, change them. But don’t villify those who used the LAW to minimize their taxes – the very laws approved by the president and congress. CLASS WARFARE WILL BACKFIRE!

  27. pancas, et al, the thing most people seem to miss… everyone has the same roads, infrastructure, etc., as the next guy. some really smart people work in jobs and don’t get paid very much. some really hardworking people do it for minimum wage.

    Obama doesn’t give a crap about any of us. He is merely dividing the country and pitting one class of people against another. It is right out of the Rules for Radicals (Alinsky) book.

    To think that it took the government to make roads, create policemen and firefighters and teachers is laughable. They were created out of the needs of groups of people getting together to solve their local problems. I happen to live near one of the country’s early toll roads (here in Bucks County, PA). It was privately owned and maintained.

    Individuals making local decisions about local issues is the best way to go for a free nation. A bunch of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., should not have a say in the education of my children.

    Civilization as we know it can collapse. It has many times in the past when the governed became disconnected. In the (pseudo) words of B. Franklin “When you can vote other people’s money, the republic is doomed.” And similarly, Plato noted: “You get the government you deserve.”

    This Progressive disease that has wreaked havoc across this once great nation has been at it for over 100 years.

  28. Hunter,
    One part of the story you tell has been missed by most comments. It might be the most important of all. You needed a job. You did not know how to drive a stick shift and almost quit before starting. Instead, you had your dad teach you how to do it so you could work at that job. Today it seems some people just throw up their hands and give up. Glad you didn’t.

    • And the correct point is that it is only “some” who give up. Most don’t take “government” assistance just because it is the easy way out. Most have similar dreams and aspirations as the rest of us, they are just a bit downsized from the “Makers” who may have had the benefit of parents and a community with greater expectations.

  29. @ bill,

    What I meant by safety net that a “failed” business owner could rely on would be the same as for any other worker – anything from SNAP to assistance on health care (Obamacare) to assistance in education and training, to support for children, etc.
    Don’t you think having that safety net (even if you never take advantage of it) is a good idea?

    And yes, I am talking about big business, not small business – when you think of successful entrepreneurs, my mind goes to IBM and Kraft, not “local mom and pop shop”. The big ones are also the ones that would have any tax problems with Obama because only 3% of businesses make more than 250000 a year….

    @ John Davis and don perry,

    Maybe we should have republicans in congress stop wasting my money trying to repeal Obamacare and we would save more than in eliminating 50 GSAs????

    The “makers” (I love that title – I wish you could tell me the products that Wall Street scam artists like Mitt Romney MAKE!!!) pay 70% of taxes and take home 90% of the income – is that what you feel is fair?

    There is a clear reason why the lower 49% don’t pay taxes – because they barely make enough to eat… Explain to me what is a fair share if you get paid crap wages like many and take home $500 a month?

    I, thankfully, have a good paying job and probably make more money than most of the small business owners out there. Yet I am not a greedy pig and don’t have a problem paying a bit more so that the not so fortunate can catch a break.
    I pay my taxes (about 30% and not 14% like Romney) and give to charity (no, Mr Romney, your mandatory contribution of 10% to your cult is not charity in my book – not when they spend it on lavish temples and political contributions…)

    And I love that private schools vs public schools argument. :D Genius… Now explain how everyone will be able to pay thousands of dollars a year to get our kids to private schools, where the cost for each student is 10x what it is in public schools (which is the whole reason they are better)… Oh, I get it, your idea is – if you don’t have a lot of money, then you can’t go to school!!!!!

    I can see one point there that supports your reasoning – if you don’t go to school and remain dumb, you will probably believe everything Fox News spews, take the Bible as literal history and vote Republican…

  30. Hunter,

    I clicked on your article on RCP because I recognized your name. We were friends when we were much younger. I haven’t read anything else on your blog yet but really enjoyed this article.

    Mr. Brunton was a great guy and gave many young people great experience and advice. I never worked for him but remember many folks who did. I’m glad to see you are doing well and look forward to reading more of your work.

    Take care.

  31. @ barbi,

    I don’t want to start a business because my skills are better used in working for a large organization. And to climb the ladder I have worked many 100+ hour weeks while drawing the regular 40-hour salary. So I know about hard work, it doesn’t take owning a business.

    From your description, your business is not a huge success story, so I would really like to understand where exactly you think that this president has made it more difficult for you. Please name 3 policies with the facts and how they hurt your business.

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  33. Dear Hunter Baker:
    Please read Liberty the God that Failed: Policing the Sacred and constructing the Myths of the Secular State from Locke to Obama. His earlier book finds that the Acton Institute economics in in conflict with Catholic social teaching. Regards, Anthony sistrom tsistrom@yahoo.com

  34. It is just amazing watching otherwise intelligent people cling to the lie that Obama said something other than what he said; or persist in the fiction that he meant something different than what he actually declared. Denial is more than a river in Egypt!

  35. Linked to this via RS. Worked construction(inspector) for 25 plus years and learned from the ground-up. A bunch of people helped me and I passed it on whenever I could. It is what makes us ‘human’
    and is only moral and seeming.All OJT and no Gov’t had a single thing to do with their volunteerism.
    I surely do not need, want ,nor wish for this crass, bilious poseur ‘telling me’ anything. While he has been POTUS I have trained MySelf to control “Rising Gorge Syndrome”. I do not know how long I can hold out. So, Barry can take some credit for my self-control of this malady.
    May-be,…. 109 days or so…………I can relax, and ‘let go’ for old times’ sake……

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  37. Pingback: Hunter Baker | Obama and Bob Brunton the Small Businessman | Congress Arizona

  38. Pingback: Hunter Baker on Political Thought and Building a Small Business » Coffee and Markets

  39. What a wonderful story about a great man! I was blessed to work for Bob Brunton doing exactly what you did for several years and I am proud to say I was the first one, besides Mr. Bob, to drive that Mitsubishi Mighty Max truck!

    I was thrilled to hear from Ms. JoAnn earlier today and I thank her sharing the link to this article, which she knew would mean so much to me. I have countless fond memories of Mr. Bob & Ms. JoAnn, both of whom will always have a special place in my heart!

      • It’s possible, Mr. Hunter. I started working there in 1989 and left in late October 1991 to have my baby…Mr. Bob used to tease me & say I better not have my baby in his delivery truck. I went back later the following year & worked til sometime in 1994.

  40. I’m not sure exactly why but this website is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later on
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  41. Pingback: Capitalism Destroys People & Civilizations! (Right?)

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