Small Business Owners Disapprove of Obama’s Message

September 5, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. invaluable (adj.) 
[in-val-yoo-uh-buhl] – something so important or valuable that it cannot be given a price; priceless
Example: The man’s experience on his business taught him invaluable lessons.

2. leave a bad taste in one’s mouth (idiom) [leev ey bad teyst in wuhns mouth] – to leave someone with a bad experience, feeling or memory
Example: The hotel’s poor service and expensive rates left a bad taste in the client’s mouth.

3. flourish (v.) [flur-ish, fluhr-] – to have success or growth
Example: His hard work made his business flourish.

4. depend on (phrasal v.) [dih-pend on] – to need the support or help of someone or something
Example: Children depend on their parents for basic needs such as food, clothes and shelter.

5. zealous (adj.) [zel-uhs] –having strong emotions about something; showing energetic and great support for something
ExampleZealous students dedicate a lot of time to their studies.

Read the text below.

In a recent speech, President Obama emphasized that business owners are successful only because of invaluable help from the government. His speech, however, left a bad taste in the mouths of small business owners.

Obama said that without systems and programs created by the government, businesses would not flourish. But several business owners may prove him wrong.

Among them are the Sutton sisters, 7–year-old Clara and 4-year-old Eliza, founders of a lemonade stand in their neighborhood in Texas. Through their business, they learned basic business skills like how to return customers’ change, serve customers and advertise the business.

The Sutton sisters’ parents disagreed with Obama’s opinion and pointed out that they were the only ones who helped their children put up the business without any government assistance. Andrew Sutton, the girls’ father and owner of a music instruction business, expressed his disappointment with Obama’s speech. He said the president should have thanked businesses for supporting the economy, instead of saying businesses should thank the government.

Jeff Brown, the head of a group that teaches children about starting a business, was also disappointed with the speech. While he agrees there should be a good relationship between businesses and the government, he believes the two do not depend on one another.

Nellie Akalp, who provides legal service to small business owners, adds that her children are learning business skills from her and her husband.  She teaches her children to be zealous about working and to learn the importance of working hard on their own and not depending on others for success.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think children should be taught about business early in life? Why or why not?
·         How else can adults teach children the importance of money or working hard for money?

Discussion B

·         Do you agree that businesses cannot be successful without the government’s help? Please explain your answer.
·         How can the government help businesses to be successful?

September 5, 2012