I couldn’t help think of Joe the Plumber when I saw one of Romney’s latest ads. The ad is entitled, “On His Own,” and features a man named Jack Gilchrist, who owns Gilchrist Metal. Gilchrist’s claim is similar to the mantra of many successful and wannabe successful Republicans; that he made it on his own; that he didn’t need the government. He’s wrong.
The ad was a response to the Romney camp’s misquote of President Obama saying that, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”
In Romney’s misquote, he said this, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
In reality he said a lot more, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, ‘Wow, 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.’ Lemme tell you something: there are a lot of hard working people out there. If you are 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’s 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 did not get invented on its own.”
Here’s the video:
Here’s the Gilchrist ad for Romney:
Romney thought he had the perfect example of a self-made man in Gilchrist. Unlike Joe the Plumber, Gilchrist actually does own a successful business, but the premise is similar. They both claim that it’s government’s job to get out-of-the-way of success. But in their own ways, they are both frauds.
“My father’s hands didn’t build this company? My hands didn’t build this company? My son’s hands aren’t building this company,” queried Gilchrist.
Of course his father’s hands built the company. Of course his hands built the company. Of course his son’s hands built the company, but not without over $1 million in government loans.
From the New Hampshire Union Leader:
In 1999, Gilchrist Metal received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority “to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment,” according to a New Hampshire Union Leader report at the time.
The federal government allocates to each state a certain amount of tax-exempt bonding capacity each year for business and housing loans.
Because the bond buyers do not pay federal taxes on the interest, the interest rate for the borrower is typically lower than that of standard bank financing.
Last year, Gilchrist Metal also received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller, $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008, according to a government web site that tracks spending.
In another bit of irony, his reasoning is that he dislikes Obama because Gilchrist may start receiving less government money after budget cuts (emphasis mine).
“Defense business is a good way to help the economy,” Gilchrist told the Leader. “But the President wants to cut the crap out of the defense budget. I’m not going to turn a blind eye because the money came from the government. As far as I’m concerned, I’m getting some of my tax money back. I’m not stupid, I’m not going to say ‘no.’ Shame on me if I didn’t use what’s available.”
And I will let that little bit of Republican hypocrisy speak for itself.