June Smith

Last week, President Obama told Charlie Rose that “When I think about what we’ve done well and what we haven’t done well, the mistake of my first term – couple of years – was thinking that this job was just about getting policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”

“President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sat down Thursday [July 12, 2012] for an exclusive interview with “CBS This Morning” host Charlie Rose.” Credit: CBS News

This week, now more clearly understanding the nature of the office and the need to give us “a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times”, the President told us a story.

Skipping the “Once Upon a Time” preamble as, according to Obama, there wasn’t one, and drawing upon his successful life in public service and his interpretation of the American Dream in his “Audacity of Hope” memoir, he had the audacity to tell this fictitious tale about our success:

“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own… 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.”

It was a grim thought, especially for those who have been and continue to be successful in their own businesses—the risk takers who relied upon owner investments, loans, credit, and sweat equity—that are responsible for the success of entrepreneurship in America.

The story lacked any sense of unity, purpose, and optimism during these toughs time, and was much like a spinoff of one of the warning tales by The Brothers Grimm of how Obama and those in public service and the government view successful business owners.

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Successful business owners are well aware that the laissez-faire state and a free market don’t exist due in part to government regulations, but that capitalism has thrived in American. Private ownership provides goods and services, competitive markets, and the endless flow of tax dollars to the government.

But I digress…

Let’s get back to “Once Upon a Time”. Here’s the story of how, like many millions of other Americans, I built my business, once upon a time, known the old fashioned way.

My business was built from the ground up, based on my experience, expertise, energy and belief in the American dream. I’m an independent contractor providing marketing, writing, editing, website content and strategic planning.

I can’t afford to create a job for someone to assist me so I have to do all the work myself. I use the roads and bridges paid for by taxpayer money to meet with clients, potential clients, and to get to destinations where I spend my after-tax dollars for necessities and occasional luxuries. I’ve yet to travel on any of the bridges built to nowhere or benefited directly from any “pork belly” spending that primarily benefits particular constituents or campaign contributors.
I’ve had the good fortune to have many great teachers in my life, mostly those who were successful in their own businesses. Any help I received came while working with those business owners. I figured out on my own how to apply what I learned from my work experiences to establish my own business and expand my business acumen.
None of that teaching or help came from anyone in government.

Owning and running your own business is often like trying to comfort someone else’s screaming baby. It’s not easy but it can be done.

According to the U.S Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, Business Dynamics Statistics; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BED, only “Seven out of 10 new employer firms survive at least 2 years, half at least 5 years, a third at least 10 years, and a quarter stay in business 15 years or more. Census data report that 69 percent of new employer establishments born to new firms in 2000 survived at least 2 years, and 51 percent survived 5 or more years. Survival rates were similar across states and major industries. Bureau of Labour (their spelling, not mine) Statistics data on establishment age show that 49 percent of establishments survive 5 years or more; 34 percent survive 10 years or more; and 26 percent survive 15 years or more.”

I’m hoping my small business survives but that’s yet to be determined due to the recession and difficult economic times.

My after tax business income is used to pay federal, state and local taxes on taxable income; tax on interest; taxable refunds; self-employment tax; self-employment taxes;  real estate and school taxes; taxes on pension and social security benefits; and to make estimated quarterly federal, state, and local income tax payments.

Those after tax dollars also pay for Medicare Plan B coverage, monthly supplemental health care insurance; the $753 calendar year supplemental care plan deductible; the amounts over the maximum reimbursable charge or products or services not covered by that plan; and all dental and vision care.

In addition to those expenses, I use what’s left of my after tax dollars to pay taxes on gasoline; a Federal Universal Service Charge, a State Gross Receipts Surcharge, and a State Telecom Tax on my mobile phone; and a state tax surcharge for Energy.

Then there are the taxes paid with after tax dollars on a variety of taxable items like food and beverages, general merchandise, cosmetics and toiletries, and medical equipment and supplies. Check out this compilation of taxable items from It’s stunning.

That’s how I deal with the “unbelievable American system” creatred by Obama and his ilk. They believe that’s how we thrive. I believe it allows me to survive.

No doubt there will be other stories spun and tales told if the current Chief Storyteller in Command stays in office for four more years. 

June Smith is the widow WBAL talk show host and Sun columnist, Ron Smith, who posthumously received an Emmy® for his lifetime achievement in television and radio at WBAL in Baltimore, MD. Smith was a media titan in the central Maryland area and beyond for almost forty years. Mrs. Smith’s tribute website honoring his legacy is  She is working diligently to raise one million dollars for the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Johns Hopkins. Her email is

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