Friday, August 03, 2012

He Did it Without Help...Except for all the Help He Got

Today's Union Leader has an op-ed by former NH GOP Chair Fergus Cullen. Fergus is going with the silly "I did it MY WAY with no gummint help" that our friends in the GOP clown car seem stuck on. It's a silly meme that is going to continually bite them in the buttocks - but hey - what's wrong with that??

Fergus tells us the tale of Marion Noronha, an immigrant from India who started a business:

Today Noronha is president of Turbocam, the Barringtonbased manufacturing company that employs 550 people in 10 countries, 325 of them in Barrington and Dover. The company has 14 current job openings and plans to add 200 more at a new facility in Barrington.

It's a great story. Noronha came to the US with about $6 (and training as an engineer), and parlayed that into a global business empire. His first job was a volunteer position with a company that was working at Dartmouth College. There he met his future wife, and became a Christian.

After his Dartmouth job ended, he was hired by a shoe manufacturer using CAD (computer aided design) and moved to Madbury with a group of Christian families, to start a church at UNH.

Meanwhile, Noronha kept tinkering with CAD, designing prototypes and renting machining time at plants in Massachusetts at night. Turbocam started in his basement in 1985. He bought his first milling machine in 1987 and rented workspace in Dover a year later.

He sold his first part to General Motors, hand polishing it in the back of the car while Suzie drove to deliver it. By 1993, Turbocam had 25 employees.

Then there's this:

If Noronha had help building Turbocam, it came from a higher office than any found in Washington. Turbocam's mission is stated plainly: “Turbocam exists as a business for the purpose of honoring God, creating wealth for its employees, and supporting Christian service to God and people.”

“The company is an expression of God's blessing on us,” Noronha explains. Forty percent of the firm's revenue goes to salaries, and Noronha is justifiably proud of all the families who have bread on the table because of Turbocam.

“That's a bigger contribution to the community than all the government grants and programs,” Noronha observes.

Fergus makes a point of telling President Obama that Noronha did this all by his lonesome, with no evil help from the gummint.
Except that Dartmouth College is in Hanover, NH - a town that has public water, sewer, plowing, roads, bridges - the infrastructure that we all enjoy, paid for by our tax dollars.

Noronha moved to Madbury to start a church. The US Constitution (the foundation of our government) guarantees Mr. Noronha the right to freedom of religion. That same government also gives churches tax exempt status, so that they can stretch their dollars into doing the work their religion calls them to do - and gives their members the option of making tax deductible contributions. In other words, the government is supporting Christian service to God and people.

Noronha sold his first part to General Motors. Luckily, he can continue to sell parts to GM - thanks to government assistance, GM is alive and well.

Mr. Noronha has 325 employees and intends to add 200 more. Unless he's built his own infrastructure, his employees drive to work on the same roads and bridges that his products travel to market on. Roads and bridges built with our tax dollars. A large number of his employees were undoubtedly educated in public schools and colleges. Some of those employees may avail themselves of our public libraries. Some of them may even engage in recreational activities in our local, state, and national parks.

Mr. Noronha didn't have to cut down trees, clear a pasture, and build his own barn. He wasn't Pa Ingalls out on the prairie. The infrastructure that is part of his success was already in place, thanks to the local, state, and federal government.

Fortunately the same government that is considered unimportant by Mr. Noronha also provides him with the First Amendment, that allows him to criticize that government, without any repercussions. He can say any fool thing he wants, and Fergus Cullen can write piously about it in the Union Leader.

Truth can also rear its ugly head.

Turbocam is one of the US Govt. Small Business Administration's SBA 100, one of the business that has created over 100 jobs since receiving SBA assistance.
Assistance? From a government program??? Oh, say it ain't so! From the SBA website:

Turbocam grew from a modest beginning in Dover, NH. The company has used SBA-guaranteed loans on seven occasions to provide more than $5 million dollars to help support its growth between 1992 and 2009. During this time the number of employees grew from 18 in 1992 to over 250 in 2009.

This just illustrates the point the president was making. None of us succeed in a vacuum. We aren't in this together alone. Mr. Noronha had a great idea, and he used the resources available to him to parlay that idea into a very successful business.

This story illustrates why this is a silly GOP meme that will continue to bite them in the behind. I'd suggest that Fergus and his pals stock up on Neosporin - except that it's produced by a government subsidized drug company. Better stock up on leeches, Fergus.


Peadar said...

So, God, Allah, Jehovah, the Great Spirit, the Alpha and the Omega, the Creator, used Turbocam when he created the universe? That's an impressive endorsement.

Julia Riber Pitt said...

As far as I'm concerned, there's no separating the government from the capitalist marketplace. First of all, market economies themselves were the creation of the state. David Graeber wrote an entire book about this (Debt: The First 5000 Years; very good book, I highly recommend it). Secondly, almost every single business receives some kind of benefit from the state, even if it's just protection of private property. They also get good stuff like IP, protectionist tariffs, roads, a schooled workforce, police, all that. Even institutions which are claimed to be enemies of business, like the FDA, initially help business due to the fact that they shield businesses from potential lawsuits for faulty products.

In an actual free market system, it would be incredibly hard to make loads of money, simply because private property ownership would be on an occupancy-and-use basis (therefore, no absentee landlords or CEOs who control tons of factories and swarths of land) and things like being able to charge interest on loans would be next to impossible. It's funny how the first free market libertarians were market socialists who saw capitalist property relations and the rule of the rich over the poor as being highly antithetical to what a free market should be.

Modern-day libertarianism is a walking contradiction. Proudhon and Marx already pointed out why the system we have is based on contradictions over 165 years ago so I won't get into that. What I fear is how so many people, especially the free staters and tea partiers here in NH, insist that there are no contradictions and keep putting faith in such a system.

Anonymous said...

I just hate hypopcrisy but no more so than plain lying. And the right seems to enjoy an abundance of this. In India there are many, not all, but many universities both professional and technical that are 50% subsidized by the Indian government i.e. the Indian tax payer. I have news for the right and Mr. Cullen et al, we are a socialist country. Our infrastructure, education, yes, government and their wonderful health care systems, our law enforcement, military, social security, medicare, medicaid and Wall Street are all tax payer subsidized and funded. I wonder if the bright engineer from India would have made out as well as he has had he not received any formal education in his own country? The kind of education that the right here abhors. And with a population of over 350 million people, I wonder exactly how the right thinks a nation can be well oiled and run with strictly limited gummint.

Jim Spaulding said...

This thread is a microcosm of the basic differences between the right and the left to be decided this November. Just a couple of comments from the right:
The left seems to believe that the government provides the first amendment, thus I assume by extension our first amendment rights. I believe that God provides these rights as did the founders. The constitution does not give us rights it limits the powers of the government to infringe upon these rights. I and you have these rights because we are human not because the government or the constitution gave them to us.
The left seems to think that because the government builds the basic infrastructure it owns a portion of someone's wealth. Without the wealth creation of individuals the government would not have money for constructing the infrastructure.
You seem to believe that GM is a healthy corp, if it had to pay back all it owes the tax payers it would be backrupt. The tax payers continues to subsidize it.
You state that the gov is subsidizing Christian Service. This seems to go back to the left's contention that not taking money from someone is a subsidy. Remember that a church or any non-profit is a collection of people who creat wealth and pay taxes.
I fear that the left will be successful this fall and move us away from the individual to the collective by appealing to people's basier instincts of taking from someone else and giving to me. Remember you can not give up economic freedom without giving up all freedoms, he who controls you economically controls you. The left does not appear able to look around at the larger world and 20th century history and see the error of their thinking.
I fear for the future direction of our country.

susanthe said...

Dear Mr. Spaulding,

I believe that the First Amendment comes to us from the US Constitution, a document written by white men, for the benefit of other white men. It is the foundation of our republic. I'm not sure why that annoys you, given that the right is always bleating about the Constitution. If God wrote the Constitution, why didn't he sign it?

We live in a nation called the UNITED States. We live in communities. The price we pay for civilization (roads, bridges, water, schools, sewer, police, fire departments) is contributing dollars to the pot to pay for all that. Do you personally use our roads, bridges, etc - or have you built your own personal infrastructure? Why does it annoy you to have to pitch in for the benefits you receive as a member of a civilized society?

As for GM - it's paid back the bailout $$. Let's talk about subsidies for a moment, though, since you're annoyed about them, too. Are you in favor of nuclear power? The nuclear industry is almost completely subsidized by taxpayers. We pay for the loans, and if the company defaults, we taxpayers pick up the tab. We pay to insure the plants, since no insurance company will touch them. In the event of an accident, once the owners reach their liability cap, the taxpayers pick up the rest of the bill for clean up. We also pay for decommissioning. The entire industry is socialized - except for the profits, of course. How do you justify that, Mr. Spaulding? The free market doesn't support the nuclear industry. Why should I have to?

Big Pharma gets gummint subsidies, to produce more drugs for men who should be accepting impotence as God's will for them. Big Oil - the most profitable companies in the world are subsidized by taxpayers. Do those subsidies offend your sensibilities? Or is it just companies that have union employees that you object to? Why doesn't God want folks to get a decent paycheck and have good working conditions?

You believe in God, but I'm sure you hate "Obamacare." How does that square with Christianity, Mr, Spaulding? Does God believe in pre-existing conditions? Who would Jesus refuse to insure?

I fear for the direction of our country, too. I fear that far right ideologues will destroy us by their overweening greed, selfishness, and their lunatic anti-science crusade. The Christian Taliban is only a few steps away from reinstituting stonings, lynchings, and witch burnings. I fear for the racism, misogyny, and homophobia on the right, Mr. Spaulding. I fear the Christians who whine about persecution while trying to force their narrow views on the rest of us. I fear the dumbing down of the nation, being accomplished by right wing influence on textbooks and education and finished off by right wing corporate ownership of our media. Add to this the lunatic military spending, the increasing militarization of our police departments, and the increasing personal arsenals and folks like me have to live with a certain amount of fear. You people are intolerant and increasingly fascistic, and it won't be long before you start just killing people you disagree with.

I wouldn't shoot you, Mr. Spaulding, and neither would any of my friends. Can you say the same?