Small Businessman Who Hit Obama at GOP Convention Got $850,000 in Government Loans

Harry E. Walker/Mct/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com

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At the Republican national convention on Tuesday, nearly every speech invoked—in an unfair, out-of-context manner—President Obama’s statement that successful small business owners benefit from government investment in roads, bridges, and education. Republicans have repeatedly used Obama’s line “you didn’t build that,” excluding the crucial context, to imply that Obama believes that entrepreneurs didn’t build their own businesses.

One small business owner tapped by the Republican National Committee to speak at the GOP’s “I Built That”-themed convention Tuesday was Phil Archuleta, owner of P&M Signs in New Mexico. “President Obama talks like he supports small businesses, but his actions are destroying us,” Archuleta told the thousands in attendance Tuesday night. “His administration is putting us out of business. It is our turn to put them out of office!”

But Archuleta’s business, like those of several other business owners at the GOP convention, benefited greatly from government help. Through the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, Archuleta secured an $850,000 Small Business Administration loan guarantee to build an 11,700-square-foot building for his company.

The Minority Business Development Agency’s website also says that Archuleta worked with the US Forest Service, to which he supplies signs, and a Department of Energy laboratory to develop environmentally friendly sign materials. So not only did Archuleta build new infrastructure for his business with a government loan, he collaborated with government agencies to improve the quality of his product.

Archuleta’s small business, in other words, directly contradicts the GOP’s “I built that” nonsense. The Republican National Committee has trotted out business owners to highlight Obama’s and the government’s supposedly harmful effect on businesses. In Phil Archuleta’s case, government has had the opposite effect.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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