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Re: Real job numbers are better than reported by media" [Village News, Letter, Miller, 9/27/18]


Last updated 10/7/2018 at 9:38am

The letter referenced in the title above asks you to believe that President Obama said: “If you built a business, you didn’t build it.” He didn’t say that. He did make an error, the grammatical error of ambiguous antecedent. Here’s the context:

“f 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. “

The “that” in the quote has an ambiguous antecedent. The antecedent choices are “a business” or the previously mentioned support system. Context determines the correct choice.

If one selected “a business”, that would have Obama saying you didn’t build the business you just built. Of course he meant you didn’t build the support system that provided the environment for your successful business. He was trying to summarize what Elizabeth Warren had said so eloquently: Google “Wikipedia You didn’t build that”.

As I mentioned before, the Army and Navy alone recently issued contracts for $200 billion worth of goods and services. The federal government sets aside a portion of its prime contracting for small business (currently 23 percent), and large contractors can employ small business subcontractors. So I say again, the government provides a lot of private sector jobs.

Concerning the efforts of the Tea Party Congress: you can thank(?) them for blocking all three of Obama’s efforts to pass an infrastructure bill, and thank them for the resultant slowest recession recovery in recent history.

Regarding respect for Trump: he has flouted all the presidential norms and insulted people while hiding behind the shield of the Presidency. Accordingly, he deserves the kind of respect he just received at the UN General Assembly.

John H. Terrell


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