The sexy political trend as of late, is that any government is bad government. This simplistic belief is catching on, and it creates the misconception that inefficiency is an imbedded aspect of government. What Obama meant to accomplish in making this statement was that government has a role, and can benefit economic activity. Without public schooling, infrastructure, and financial assistance, the American Dream that so many people seek might never have been achieved. Government helped entrepreneurs achieve that dream, as business cannot be built off ambition alone.
Obama statement in context is as follows:
"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. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.... So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together."
It is my hope that voters will understand the basic role which government plays in commerce. Obama's comments were not looking to undermine the enterprise of Americans, but instead to bridge the theoretical gap between business and government.