We lost one of the great American business and high-tech icons last week — Steve Jobs. I’ve been a huge fan of Steve for three decades. I’ve spent tens of thousands of my hard-earned dollars on his Macintosh, iMac, iPad, iPod, iPhone, iTunes, Apple Apps, and Apple Stores.
I applaud Steve Jobs for changing my life, and my family’s life, for the better in so many dramatic ways with his creations and inventions, just as he did for billions of people across the globe.
As sad as his death is, it gives us what President Barack Obama might call “a teachable moment.” Now would be a good time to reflect upon the strikingly different philosophies, accomplishments, and legacies of Steve Jobs and Barack Obama.
Jobs and Obama are polar opposites in so many ways, starting with the way they’ve lived their lives. This is the story of iPhone vs. iPhony.
Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur extraordinaire, as well as one of our greatest capitalists and visionaries. He was Exhibit A for the amazing, remarkable, magical American Dream. Steve literally defined “self-made.” He was given up for adoption at birth. As a college drop-out he started Apple in his parent’s garage.
Today Apple is worth close to $400 billion dollars — making it the second most valuable company in the world (behind only ExxonMobil).
Yet, like most entrepreneurs, Jobs failed often. It never bothered him. He just picked himself up, dusted himself off, and got back on the horse. Jobs’ first computer wasn’t the Mac, it was the Lisa (named after his daughter). It was a failure. Yet from the ashes of that failure came the success of the Mac.
Jobs was eventually forced out of Apple. He started a new company called NeXT. It, too, was a failure. But he sold the company back to Apple for the value of the software, and came back as CEO to turn around Apple (which had almost failed).
Along the way, Jobs also bought Pixar, an animated movie company. It, too, almost failed. But just as it was close to death, Pixar released its first film — "Toy Story." Disney soon bought Pixar for $7.4 billion dollars, making Jobs the biggest shareholder of Disney. Jobs never let risk or failure slow him down. He was the classic American gunslinger-turned-riverboat gambler-entrepreneur. Steve Jobs used failure as a stepping stone to great success.
Steve Jobs was a self-made billionaire. He created or dramatically changed seven major industries: digital publishing, personal computers, music, animated movies, cell phones/smart phones, mobile applications (known as “apps”), and table computing.
Jobs personally held 313 patents — including the electronic device (known as iPhone), portable display device (iPad), media player (iPod), and the touch-screen controlled by a user’s fingers on the screen. All of those inventions were created without the government’s help. His creations changed the way we all work, think, play, and live today.
Steve Jobs created millions of jobs with his technological advances; changed perhaps billions of lives; increased our efficiency, productivity, and quality of life; and paid billions in taxes (both in life and ultimately estate taxes in death). He made our world a better place.
Even my children love Steve Jobs. Dakota, my 19-year-old daughter, uses her iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Apple laptop. My 11-year-old and 7-year-old sons Hudson and Remington Reagan live on their iPods and iPads. My 3-year-old daughter Contessa uses her iPad several hours a day.
My businesses are all run with Apple computers. And imagine this — all of those advances were accomplished without government involved. What a remarkable legacy. Steve Jobs goes down in history as one of the great American inventors and visionaries with Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, and Henry Ford.
Compare this amazing legacy to that of Barack Obama. Steve Jobs was the great job maker; Obama the great job taker. Jobs was the great creator; Obama the great destroyer. Everything Jobs touched turned to gold; everything Obama touches turns to coal. Jobs’ great creations were the iPhone, iPod, and iPad; Obama’s are iDeficit, iDebt, iInsolvency, and iBankruptcy.
Jobs lived for risk and adventure, and asked for nothing from government — the epitome of rugged individualism, self-reliance, and American ingenuity. Obama lives for the safety net and expects government to do everything — from creating jobs, to picking winners and losers in the business world, to protecting us from cradle to grave.
Examine the results of Obama’s devotion to big government. Obama’s legacy is the loss of our country’s AAA credit rating for the first time in history; the worst economy since 1929; the worst collapse of housing in history; the collapse of retail sales and consumer confidence; true unemployment in the 20 percent range; a resurgence of inflation; the great “green energy” fraud that cost taxpayers billions; bailouts of automakers that cost taxpayers billions; a massive failed stimulus that cost taxpayers billions; more debt created than all other presidents combined; the greatest number of Americans in history on food stamps (45 million); the ban of offshore oil drilling costing tens of thousands of jobs; lawsuits against Arizona and Alabama for trying to enforce U.S. immigration law; and not surprisingly, the fastest collapse on record of a new president’s popularity.
Obama has bested Steve Jobs in one way. He has done more damage to America in three short years than all the great things Jobs could create in 30 years.
Jobs Maker. Or Jobs Killer. Which vision better embodies the American character? The iPhone or the iPhony?
Wayne Allyn Root is a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee. He now serves as Chairman of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee. He is the best-selling author of "The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold & Tax Cuts." His web site: www.ROOTforAmerica.com.
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