Local Business Owner
By Tommy Brown
Andy is a small business owner in Gambier and Apple Valley, with stakes in real estate and restaurant. He has seen the real estate market collapse and his businesses take a hit in the past few years. He concedes that markets may have stabilized in recent months, but worries that the “American Dream” is all but a myth now. He credits President Obama for preventing the economy from getting significantly worse, but worries about a culture of spending that Obama has done nothing to stem and, some say, has embraced.
In 2008, Andy felt good about President Obama. He thought, at the time, that Obama would be able to turn the economy around. He was not too fond of Obama’s thoughts on expanding the welfare state, most notably through the Affordable Care Act, but he thought Obama could be a strong leader in a tough time. Andy still thinks Obama is stronger on foreign policy than Romney would be, but that is where his praise ends.
The debate concerning the national debt has been festering in Congress for the entirety of Obama’s term and highlights Andy’s major concern this election, one he doubts either candidate has the ability or will to address. Andy is worried about an American entitlement mentality that he feels has been growing in recent decades and culminated with Obama. Andy argues that Americans cannot collect what they put into their government, and worries about the expansion of government entitlements, both culturally and financially. He does not philosophically disagree with policies such as unemployment benefits, but feels the implementation has had no accountability in getting individuals back to work. Andy compared Obama’s approach to the economy to Franklin Roosevelt’s: the New Deal administered government benefits and helped grow the economy, but also required people to invest their time in improving America. Obama’s approach, on the other hand, asks nothing of citizens receiving government welfare. As a result, Andy finds it unsurprising that it is difficult to hire a minimum-wage, low-skill worker for his business; after all, unemployment checks are bigger than their would-be weekly wage.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Andy said when I spoke with him, “I doubt Romney can do anything to fix this mentality or work ethic.” He stressed that such government programs come with consequences, beyond their cost, that will outlast either candidate, leaving him to wonder whether there is a point to voting in this election.