Opinion: Obama and the spirit of “Shark Tank”

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In last week’s State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama spoke of many economic policies to help further the increases in the country’s GDP.  Although some of the president’s critics consider him a socialist, he is actually promoting the ideals that form the basis of capitalism.

The United States has always been a paradise for capitalism, and the results of these economic policies, which result in a cycle of boom and bust, have been both good and bad. For example, capitalist policies played a role in the 2008 recession, but it will ultimately be these same ideals and policies that get us out of it. Obama, throughout his entire administration, has encouraged individuals and companies to invest in America. 

Today, the major industries of the United States are dominated by a few corporations with six companies controlling the media, four companies controlling airlines and three companies controlling the production of cars. It would be nearly impossible to be successful in breaking into these industries. While the mega-corporations may be discouraging, there are still many opportunities to become wealthy in today’s economy, but these opportunities do not come in the way we would traditionally think of.

The hit TV show “Shark Tank” puts hopeful entrepreneurs in front of investors, aiming to increase capital, usually in exchange of a portion of the equity of their business. There have been many success stories from this show, and it has resulted in jobs created and the making of millionaires. Many of these entrepreneurs found ways to make millions of dollars because of their ideas, and there are thousands of investors looking for innovators to come up with a product or service that people need.

The nature of the economy is changing faster than before. In fact, I believe the industries we see today are industries that will not exist in a couple decades. John D. Rockefeller made his fortune on kerosene, an industry that is virtually non-existent in the United States. In our capitalist economy, we will always have those massive companies that control industries, but we will also have those entrepreneurs who start everything from restaurants to tech firms.

Obama wants that entrepreneurial spirit to be available to every American, and his policies reflect that opportunity. As long as we are able to come up with an innovative product and gain the trust of an investor, we have the potential to become millionaires as well. Obama is encouraging all of us to be like the investors and entrepreneurs that we see on “Shark Tank.” 

Contact CU Independent Writer Ryan Hite at ryan.hite@colorado.edu.

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