Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Adventures on Bootstrapping: Part A Million

Seriously? Again, Mittens? This is getting sad:

Dennis Sollmann, the owner of Sollmann Electric Company, appears in a Romney web ad released Monday morning that plays off the president's now infamous "you didn't build that" line. [...]

“I mean, I’m thinking, 'You’ve got to be kidding me,'" Sollmann says in the ad. "He was trying to say: ‘Hey, you didn’t build that business on your own. The government helped you build it.’ And that’s what ticked me off more than anything. Mr. President, unfortunately you have no idea how we here in Midwestern Ohio have to try to run a small business from  daylight till night."

And just how much did the government NOT help ole' Dennis out?

An electric construction company in Sidney, Ohio, Sollmann Electric has done work on commercial, residential and industrial properties. It has also serviced "hospitals, government and educational" facilities -- many of which rely on taxpayer funding. Neither Sollmann nor his company returned a request for comment as to how much money in government contracts they have earned. But a quick Google search turned up several instances in which the company either sought out or worked directly with government entities.
According to notes from a Jan. 26, 2006 meeting of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, Sollmann Electrical Company was rewarded a $915,117 contract for work in the Trotwood-Madison City school district.
Notes from a May 31, 2007 meeting of the same body show that Sollmann Electrical Company placed a $1,080,700 bid to do work in the Dayton County School District. This was the lowest bid offered and the commission recommended that it be finalized.
According to notes from a May 25, 2010 meeting of the School Facilities Commission, meanwhile, Sollmann Electrical Company was awarded a $1,689,829 contract for work in the Miami East school district.
Sollmann was also a contractor for work on the Horace Mann School in Dayton, Ohio, according to an Ohio School Facilities Commission form filled out in April 2008. Horace Mann is a public school, an official there said.
In November of 2011, Sollmann made a $274,792 bid with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services to do work on a building expansion at Rhodes State College, another public school.

Apparently, for the fine folks in Real America, Ohio, the government directly helping you build your business doesn't count as government actually helping you build your business.

Remember kids: It's not socialism if you don't admit it.


  1. The characterizing of the contracts awarded to the Sollmann Electric Company as government subsidies is false. Those “hospitals, government and educational facilities” paid for work that they needed after deciding that Sollmann Electric had submitted the best bid and assuring that the work done by Sollmann Electric was of good quality. Sollmann was paid to satisfy a need.

    If you needed electrical work on your house and paid someone else to do that work would you be subsidizing the provider? The fact that Sollmann Electric was chosen to fulfill the contracts you cited is a testament to the quality of the work done by Mr. Sollmann and his employees.

    Bidding for work contracts from any entity private or public, is how construction related companies operate.

    1. True. But the point the President (and I believe the author) is making is that a business is not made in a vacuum. It is a part of the community and benefits from the community. To say that you never needed the help of the government is ignorant, if not an outright lie. Sollmann has taken tax dollars to make a profit. It has employees who benefited from a public education. It has profited off all kinds of social programs so it needs to pay its fair share of taxes and offer its employees basic healthcare.
      If you hold up the free market like it is some kind of Holy idol and socialism is a demon, then don't bid for or take public dollars.

    2. True, but all members of the community who pay taxes provide the means for the government to facilitate the roads, bridges, schools etc that make the economy run. Mr. Sollmann’s company paid its share of taxes. Why should any business forgo bidding on public jobs? Winning public or private projects does not mean receiving a hand-out. The money paid is for services rendered, not a hand-out.

      I don’t hold the free market to be a Holy idol, but I am suspicious of socialism. Perhaps my thinking is colored by my age. I lived through the Cold War and can remember the pogroms of Stalin, the oppression of Eastern Europe, the great leap forward of Mao, the Killing Fields of Cambodia and the re-education camps of The People’s Republic of Vietnam,

    3. Nobody here, at least on the staffing side, on this blog supports Cold War Russia or China. What we are supporting are a change back to some of those economic policies we in the U.S. had during those same times. The wealthy paid a lot more, and we were able to finance things like the interstate highway, NASA and other important projects. Nobody claimed we were socialist or communist back during the times of Eisenhower, and Kennedy.