Individuals shine brightly

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(In) Roanoke, Va. (on) July 13, declared President Obama: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. There was a great teacher in your life. Somebody else invested in roads and bridges. If you got a business, you didn’t build that – somebody else made that happen.”

Well, yes and no.

Yes, the great teacher, roads and bridges Obama spoke of, provided by society and government, are useful and available to all. A benefit of collective “social solidarity.”

No: The bankruptcy of Solyndra – the poster child of hype, government endorsement and recipient of a $535 million loan from the Department of Energy. What failed was its business model. Despite that great teacher, roads and bridges.

Other the other hand, consider Apple, the epitome of an innovative, successful American company. Apple’s success is its business model: clean and attractive products, easy to use interface designs and great customer service provided by a tech-savvy staff well-versed in Apple’s products. That was Steve Jobs and Co. with a different business model, different outcome.

Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist, sums it up: “Roads and schools are the constant. What’s variable is the energy, enterprise, risk-taking, hard work and genius of the individual. It is precisely those individual characteristics, not the communal utilities, that account for different outcomes.”


Bill Harder Sr., Auburn