The Man Behind the Curtain

by James Banakis

May 22, 2024

If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Someone else made that happen.

– Barack Obama

These remarks made by our former President in Roanoke Va. on July 13, 2012, represent a seminal moment in American history. The statement was and still is shockingly un-American. It infuriated people like me, a small business owner. Those of us who developed an idea or a dream into a business can recall when we had to provide a personal financial statement to a lending institution in order to receive a business loan.

Many like me, had signed over all we owned as collateral. For the first few formative years as our business gained a footing, we went to bed each night knowing we might lose everything. There were times that we had to be creative to meet payrolls and make sure the bills were paid. I used to require myself to do something every day, however small, to improve my business. I did this because I knew that it was in a sense a living thing that once neglected could be lost.

Back in 2012, most of the press defended President Obama’s remarks saying he was merely touting the importance of government and infrastructure. I think it was a head on attack on the individual verses the glorification of the state. It was the beginning of his program to fundamentally change America. It’s a plan to make every American completely dependent on government from cradle to grave. Sadly, it is working, and the architect, much like the Wizard of Oz, is behind the curtain operating the controls.

Today the risk and reward of building a business, the cornerstone of our individual freedom is under assault. It’s up to us to build on the original vision of the founders. Jefferson knew that the essence of America was an idea that needed to be nurtured and protected. Part of his vision for all of us is, “the pursuit of happiness.” Remember, he doesn’t tell us we’re guaranteed happiness only the pursuit of it.

Before Jefferson, never in the history of mankind was happiness a part of any human covenant. Jefferson understood that if mankind was free to pursue happiness there is no limit to what he or she can achieve.

The assault on small business is a national problem, but let’s just concentrate on Chicago, a market I’m most familiar with. Nightlife in the center of the city is disappearing. Our landmark hotels are suffering, and some have closed or reduced services to an alarming degree. Chicago’s mayor and states attorney have not been interested in arresting roaming mobs of looting anarchists who terrorize the downtown area. The mayor makes excuses for their behavior. Armed robbery, carjacking, and assault have become commonplace in broad daylight.

Brandon Johnson is proposing that the city open and operate grocery stores and pharmacies in the inner city. Instead of addressing the root causes of why CVS and Whole Foods have closed their inner city businesses, he thinks it’s ok for the taxpayers to pay for all the massive theft.

Losers in life never accept personal responsibility. The theft is not a result of an impoverished senior stealing a can of tuna. It’s a mindset promulgated by leaders like Johnson. This idea is so blatantly Marxist from a guy who wasn’t paying his own utility bills before his election. If you own a small business and you don’t pay your electric bill, your power gets disconnected. You are out of business. “Brandon Mart” would just keep stocking the shelves and send us the bill. It’s ironic that Johnson is not the least hesitant to float such a radical idea. He makes most constituents nostalgic for Lori Lightfoot by comparison.

Every neighborhood has been decimated by massive theft and crime. Johnson cuddles and excuses the looters and car jackers and continues to defund the police. He ignores his primary sworn responsibility which is to protect the citizens, and businesses.

So, what is the result of this Marxist assault on the Chicago economy? There is a 40 percent vacancy on Michigan Avenue, the shopping district of choice for looting mobs. Our convention business is overtaxed and has evaporated and relocated to Orlando and Las Vegas.

Tourists fear to vacation here. Suburbanites fear to come downtown for entertainment on the weekends. Since the pandemic, stay at home workers have decimated the lunch business in downtown restaurants.

Let’s not forget about Governor Pritkzker who proudly promotes the state sanctioned casinos. Much like legalization of drugs, casinos prey on those least able to afford its consequences. Casinos also appropriate the deposable income customers would otherwise spend on dining out or attending theater or sporting events. Remember casinos and marijuana emporiums were kept open during the pandemic and churches were shuttered.

On February 9, 2024, Illinois’ General Assembly introduced legislation to eliminate the tip credit in Illinois by January 1, 2025. If passed, ALL Illinois employers will be required to pay All of their employees at least the minimum wage. This includes employees who earn tips and gratuities. To the casual consumer, this doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.

It is a bad thing for all of us except the politicians pandering for votes and more taxes. If this legislation becomes law, many businesses in the hospitality industry will close. The ones that survive will be forced to lay off or eliminate servers, and or raise already high prices.

The result will be more unemployment, more inflation, and compromised service to the customers. No one in the hospitality industry ultimately views this law as a good thing.

My grandfather, a restaurant owner, once told me that during the worst period of the Great Depression, he had already lost one business he owned with his brother-in-law. His remaining restaurant was on life support, as he was unable to pay his note and his purveyors. With a family to support, one night he was unable to go home and sleep after closing the restaurant at 10 p.m. Sick with worry, he rode the El train downtown from Oak Park and back all night. He didn’t know where to turn. He was out of options. Without really telling me, I knew there were tears because his eyes filled when he related the story to me 40 years later. He got off the train at 6 a.m. and opened the restaurant without sleep. His story had a happy ending. From that day forward, he said things turned around after hitting rock bottom.

I like to think prayers were involved and a lot of self-examination. Whenever I’ve had business setbacks I think of this story and his courage and determination. This isn’t a unique story; it unfolds with entrepreneurs everyday across the country.

The original intent of the founding fathers was to limit government and protect the freedom of the individual. Ronald Reagan once famously said the most frightening statement he could think of was, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” When an entrepreneur has an idea, their creativity and thoughts are nurtured from family, churches, community organizations. Those elements of society that lie outside of government.

Government and infrastructure are constants. We all use them. It’s the enterprising energy of the risk takers, and the genius of the individual that has separated the United States other failed European socialist experiments. Whenever government runs a business be it the post office, VA hospitals, welfare, food stamps, it turns into a taxpayer’s nightmare. Outside of running the military, and public safety (which is under attack), government has always made things worse.

In the past, we always believed in the future, and we were proud to have the world’s highest standard of living. Individual freedom brought the greatest good to the greatest number of citizens. We were always a hard-working, optimistic people who celebrated higher education. We were always proud of our cities as safe centers of commerce and business.

Obama’s vision for America has successful people who create wealth as the enemy. He promulgates the myth that they don’t pay their taxes. This is because his vision of America needs an almost unlimited amount of tax dollars to fund his wealth redistribution.

The boarders are wide open to mostly exclusively young males, looking for a handout, not work and assimilation. They revolt when they feel those handouts are not adequate. Public assistance is freely passed out to anyone who doesn’t care to work.

We are told that our best days are a thing of the past. Our churches are under attack. Antisemitism is alarmingly on the rise. Some of our Supreme Court Justices cannot define what a woman is. Aspiring for excellence in education, has been replaced by fairness which creates people who graduate from high school and are unable to read. Statues celebrating our past are being taken down, because woke mobs deed them not aligning with their twisted ideals.

Whole segments of the country have been made to feel aggrieved for anything and everything. Appliances in our kitchens are being condemned as destroying the environment. Runaway government spending has resulted in massive inflation which the administration says it’s our imagination. Even as we see our $40.00 bag of groceries 3 years ago now cost $75.00.

Our elected official’s main responsibility is to keep its citizens safe, yet they’re more concerned with pandering to criminals. A good business owner knows he must cherish his customers to be successful. Our politicians ignore the safety and liberties of their constituents. They enrich and protect themselves and pander and defend criminals.

The Biden administration is the third term of the Obama administration, and if the Democrats win in November, it will become his fourth term, and the damage will be irreparable. We have a president who is incoherent unable to hold a press conference, and he gets worse by the day.

CBS offered Biden 30 minutes on Super Bowl Sunday and his administration has turned it down. If his Press Secretary, or Secretary of Homeland Security are asked about the open boarder, they claim it doesn’t exist. There are no follow-up questions or fact checking. Ask yourselves why is the boarder open? Why are we giving illegal migrants, including Hamas terrorists all forms of assistance not granted but paid for by the rest of us? I think the answer is to create an underclass so large and dependent on government that we can never go back to where we were pre-Obama.

The risk and reward of building a business is a cornerstone of our individual freedom, and today it is flatlining. If we fail to take action, everything in the near future will be run by a few “Amazon” type mega conglomerates.

We need to guard against those who want to take away from us the unique ability to grow and prosper and replace it with government control. When we allow others to control us, we allow them to strip us of our humanity and individuality.

I’ve always felt that our journey in life is a series of doorways. We have free will and we can enter through a door open to us or we can move on. Some of us never enter any of the doorways. Some enter the wrong ones, and try another. The enlightenment we seek is always within us. We need to take up the challenge. Steve Jobs, an example of someone who fundamentally changed us for the better once said,

“Every story you’ve ever connected with, every leader you’ve ever admired, every puny little thing you’ve ever accomplished is the result of you taking action. You have a choice, you can either be a passive victim of circumstance, or the active leader of your own life.”


Jimmy Banakis is a life-long restaurateur.  He was an honorary batboy for the White Sox in 1964. He attended Oak Park River Forest High School, Nebraska Wesleyan University, and Chicago-Kent Law School.  He claims the kitchen is the room he’s most comfortable in anywhere in the world. He published an extremely limited-edition family cookbook. He’s a father and grandfather, and lives in Downers Grove Il.

Comments 57

  1. Margret Thatcher commented that ” Socialism is great fun until you run out of other peoples’ money”. The Democrats response is to print money and cause inflation and destroy the economy in another way, and by the way, blame the inflation on everybody else but themselves. Try as hard as they might, the Democrats can not repeal the laws of economics, but they don’t understand economics anyway. The voters keep voting for those that are destroying the voters, and yet the voters can’t or will not understand the connection. The buzzards will come home to roost eventually, and the voters will bleat that they were betrayed by the government they elected.

  2. Mr. Banakis,

    You have summmed up past, present, and future. Quite a task. Your words are perfect. Thank you for detailing your family experiences and for allowing us a glimpse into your life. The world saddens most of us. Unfortunately there are too many sheep in the flock and they just keep moving along with an utterance of dismay.

    1. Pretty soon there will be no actual taxpayers to pay for the Democrat’s plans for Chicago. If they are hoping for Biden to help pay for this, they are going to be out of luck–he has disclaimed responsibility for anything anywhere.

  3. Xristos Anesti John. I do not understand why people are so dumb as not to know that Obama and Michelle are behind all that is going on in America. He told us and she told us that they would change the face of America and he always wanted Kamala to be President so he can tell her what to do. They know she could never win on her own so they are pushing an old man and when and if he wins push him on the side and make her President. The Government is run by Obamas, George Sotors and his Son Alex that is best friends with Obama and he is worse then his Father. The College and University hoopla are run by Obama like the DOJ, and the rest of the Government. Michelle hates Trump and they want to destroy him like the rest of the Christians. Are we nuts not to know and recognize what is happening to America? Finally a man that is telling the truth and you must find out more of the truth and let people know. PLEASE. May the Risen Lord protect and watch over you and your family.

  4. Thanks for a terrific article, Jimmy! I have said many times that Obama couldn’t run a one-man hotdog wagon. He would be too busy lecturing his customers instead of making their hot dogs.

    Matt Marciniec

  5. Spot on Jimmy. But I fear all the leftist and socialist chumbolone voters (aka democrats) got the government they deserved, and foisted it upon the rest of us! Let us pray for guidance… Ο Θεός να βάλει το χέρι του!

  6. Outstanding commentary. This really gets to the fundamental truths regarding what made America great- individual responsibility and the acceptance of personal accountability and autonomy.
    Idiots like Johnson and Pritzker and all their fellow travelers will be the end of American greatness. We see it every day under that brain-dead fool Biden. Unless this country changes course, we are doomed.
    You don’t have to love Trump, or even like him, but we need to reelect him.

  7. So often we hear the phrase “Rules for thee, but not for Me”. People need to open their eyes to see what is behind that phrase. Those elected officials in our Nation’s Government, who before they took office, were pretty much Middle Class American Taxpayers. One only needs to research the financial status of these Servants of the People who elected them to see the picture. Remember when Hillary and Bill claimed to be “broke” when leaving the White House? There seems to be a vast difference in understanding the meaning of broke. Very few Millionaires run for Public Office, yet most of them leave Millionaires or better. Those who make the Laws/Rules, think that the average Taxpayer should be grateful for what they “give us”. Truth is they are only out for themselves and rob us blind, without even drawing a weapon.

    This has to stop.

  8. Well, at least Mr. You-Didn’t-Build-That did build something: contempt for Americans who risked everything to create jobs and growth, a pushback for the collectivist economics that seemed to have been defeated in 1991, and respectability for racial animosity.

    And, unacknowledged by his media allies, Obama built his own safe haven home. It started with a sweetheart deal for his first house, made with his pal, Chicago mobster Tony Rezko, and extended through a palatial estate right on the Atlantic Ocean shore, though his environmentalist dogma promises that oceans are going to swamp such homes.

    I’d say that Mr. Banakis represents everything that’s made America a success. A certain former president represents everything that’s trending America toward failure.

    1. David – as you point out – Mr. Obama’s vision of America is a failed America. Yet the irony is that his cynical “collectivist” vision led to unimaginable personal wealth and success. So the lesson for all us deplorable capitalists: build a business peddling failure and victimhood (consulting, marketing, education, media) and future riches are assured … until (as PM Thatcher implied) there not. Is this a great country, or what?

  9. So well put. We are definitely in Obama 3.0 and facing 4.0. Then what? Michelle decides to run for potus. I weep for my kids and grandkids to be. Biden gaffes his way day to day there is no world leadership from the US. It’s all about being elected and pandering for votes. When masses of Somali refuges ended up in MN sane folks said What? Where? Totally different climate and setting from their native one. But there were enough to grab a house seat —-the balance of power in the Congress is precarious. But one does not blatantly chew off a huge piece but nibble one tiny piece at a time. Likewise Liberty.
    Great column.

  10. what i never understand is how voters can give one party control of government for so long even when their situation gets worse. Are so many so easily fooled that they continue to do what has not worked?

      1. Perhaps not, but why would we expect that they be so remarkably better than what/who is re-elected over and over and over again? We’re not happy with the current situation, but lack the courage of our own convictions to bring about change; to do anything material about it…..and so it goes on, because most of us don’t really seem to care.


  11. Never before in history have success and prosperity been vilified as today. It’s truly frightening. What an excellent article! Obama started the fundamental change and his sock puppet gas continued it.

  12. Mr. Banakis

    The American dream we knew no longer exists. Thank you for an excellent article, and the contributions your family made making this country great..

  13. California has made headlines for its “progressive” service industry wage of twenty dollars an hour. Now let’s do the math. Deduct federal income tax. Now deduct Californias highest state income tax in the country. Now social security and unemployment insurance. Get the picture? You’ll be lucky to keep 12 bucks take home. No more tipping allowed. Not necessary, you’re getting it tacked onto your check. The government knows that tips are not reported on tax rolls and wants their cut. So do the service unions who are funding legislation for their own financial gain. Anyone who opens any business in Chicago or the State of Illinois seriously needs their head examined. To end this rant on a more amusing note, Illinois knucklehead legislators want to change the term “offender” as in “criminal offender” to “justice impacted individual”. There will be no more “victims ” since there are no more “offenders”. If you legalize crime you’ve solved the crime problem. Simple. Ya can’t make this stuff up..

    1. Well Enrique the irony is this. Not only is tipping still allowed California, it is encouraged. In fact one rationale for this is that even though the $20 / hr minimum wage now applies to restaurant workers, it is still not enough to “get by” in the very expensive Golden state. One restaurant we frequented in the past actually stated on the bill – “the ‘hospitality’ charge is NOT a tip.” The message: not only was the minimum wage now increased, but tips were still expected. Needless to say we no longer frequent that restaurant. We’ll see how this shakes out in California.

  14. Our military used to be the one government operation that was not hopelessly corrupt and inept. The effect of Obama 3.0 has been to bring even the Pentagon leadership into the failure fold as the last to succumb.

  15. And yet, we continue to elect these socialist, marxists . Are people too dumb to see the damage? Apparently, yes.

    More casinos? Just another “dumb tax.” A tax on people for being dumb.

  16. I am old and will not be around to see the destruction or the revival of the finest nation in history. But my kids will be, as will my twenty-something grandkids who have just started out on their life’s journey. James Banakis lays it all out in a stark summation of what has been, what is, and what it seems will be. The academy and the media have polluted the minds of our children to the point where, in Chicago, they managed to elect a mayor even worse than Lightfoot — a glib, empty suit, sock puppet for the execrable CTU. I have been an optimist most of my life, but am now fearful of the future. How different our attitudes would have been had Chicagoans put Paul Vallas into office. We have the opportunity in November to reset the nation’s course, hopefully as an example for our state and local governments. But I am not sanguine.

    1. Paul Vallas is NOT the answer! In my opinion he is the reason Johnson got elected. Only if he had dropped out and backed Willy Wilson. That would have been the only way to bring sanity to the city and deny CTU access to our wallets.

  17. Well over 50 years ago I saw a poster in a Girl Scout camp unit house that has stuck with me. Sadly, I don’t remember the name.if the person who originated it.

    It read: Each man gets out of life only what he puts into it. For things don’t happen to people: it’s people who happen to things.”

    That second part is so important, and so ignored.

  18. My father dragged me into his business way back in 2000. Kind of a bait and switch move, as my mother was terminal with cancer and he was falling apart. So he kind of made things look better in the business than they were. Well, the best experience of my career! I owe my Dad (God rest his soul) and for the rest of my life. I knew there was a reason why I never went back on got my MBA, being the owner of a business is an experience like no other – talk about transformative.

    Our government really could care less about entrepreneurship. Its the antithesis of Government

  19. What a luxury it must be to be adored by millions who are hoodwinked by your cool zen like demeanor all the while you methodically deconstruct ever institution previously admired and respected in our constitutional republic. I’ve come to loathe Barack Obama, and apparently it’s becoming obvious to many. We might just escape without his fourth term in November.

  20. Great writing Mr. Banakis, and spot on. I was an electrician in Chicago & still have ex “co-workers” & a brother who always praise the union & curse the contractor. They still don’t get it. The owner of the business is the one that provides your work & you owe he/she the best of your ability. Once the contractor is out of business, where will you be employed? I’ve never been a business owner but have gone through lean years, but not where everything I own is on the line. My heart went out to the tale of your grandfather. The fear he must have felt! I’m happy he made it and for you also. Hope John has you write many more articles.

  21. Yes Bruce, one of our aldercreatures here in Chicago reiterated the same thing. You are still free to tip if you feel guilty that the taxman is eating up the new raise your server is getting. The only thing left is for them to do is grab every server by the ankles before they go home and shake them upside down to dislodge any hidden tips. That’ll keep the taxman happy!

  22. Nice send up of one of the dumbest people ( think Ted Baxter) that I have ever met. Illinois State Senator Barry Obama was a presenter for an amateur boxing event at the Saber room in the early days of this idiotic millennium. I worked with the celebrity presenters, like Tim McCarthy, who saved President Reagan and Illinois Representative Kevin McCarthy. A very irritated Senator Barry Obama demanded of me, ” How in the Hell am I supposed to get in there?” I rejoined, ” Climb through the ropes.”
    A few years later, President Barack H. Obama became a Nobel laureate.

    In the words of Flann O’Brien, ” Out of such events weaves of the pattern of what I am pleased to call my life.”

    Well done, Mr. Banakis!

    1. Pat: I think the future President Barack H Obama was expecting Presidential treatment whereby a subordinate acolyte grabs the top rope with one hand and the lower rope with another and separates them thereby allowing easier access to the ring … and also a more elegant “Presidential” entrance to the ring that would other wise be if ole Barry had to squeegie between the ropes all by himself. After all, only appropriate for a future President. Right?

  23. Thanks for summing it up so well Jimmy! The Obama’s 4.0 would be a disaster for the country! The bureaucracy, controlled by the progressive elites, grows ever larger, controlling more and more of the economy and stifling innovation through red-tape & over-regulation of the myriad of small and mid-sized businesses that make up the core of the country’s economy. I hope the conservatives can help keep populist Trump from self-destructing the election this time around and provide enough guidance to unravel the stifling bureaucracy with, hopefully, both houses of Congress aligned. Until the big government bureaucracy (swamp) is significantly reduced in scale and impact and new controls are put in place to keep the bureaucracy in check, who is in the Presidency only controls the rate of it’s growth.

  24. I did not know or even “meet with” Mr. Obama while he was serving as POTUS. I did, however, have several opportunities to spend time with him in various situations when he was serving in the Illinois Senate. As President of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Association, and on behalf of my own village, we were privileged to accept the invitation of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Assn. to help them develop a broad, overall plan for stormwater management. Flooding is often devastating in that part of the metroplex, and when our brothers and sisters call for help, we were eager to jump in. We worked together to put together a day-long seminar, graciously hosted at Governor’s State University. Superb speakers, break-out sessions, sample engineering efforts, ways to work with and communicate with the residents most affected by the routine flooding, etc.

    Mr. Obama was invited because that area was his Senatorial district. He joined me at my table for the opening breakfast. He had been asked in advance to make remarks, which he did – but they made NO SENSE!!! Then came the various break-out sessions for village engineers, village attorneys, public works people, etc.; a general session led by a professor from Roosevelt University on metro planning, and then lunch. At the lunch, Mr. Obama asked me “Is this flood water stuff all we’re going to talk about all day?” Yes, sir, it is the whole purpose – to assist the local governments in your district. His response, “This is b—s—! I’m outta here!” and he left!!!

    The next time I met him was in his office in Springfield. We had sent a packet of information on pertinent to his committee work, along with summary sheets as requested, etc. When we got to his office at the appointed time, we waited – and finally were welcomed into his office. Presented another copy of the bill summaries, and he glanced over them. He stood up, excusing himself to say he was “needed on the Senate floor for a vote”, and left out his office back door…..except we saw that he went the opposite direction. We knew the Senate wasn’t even in session. Asked his secretary when she thought he might return, and with her head down – unable to look at us – said “Senator Obama has left the building.”

    The third time I had reason to interact with the Senator, we were at the Kohler American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin as guests of the Metropolitan Planning Council, supposed to be working on visioning for the region for the next 50 years. Several hundred of us were there, all attending workshops and presentations on topics of interest to us and/or the municipality or county we represented. Along with about 30 others, I signed up for a presentation to be done by Mr. Obama. We all sat in the room for about 15 minutes past when the event was supposed to begin….but he never showed. It was too late to wander the halls and find some other program which would have by then been well underway, so about 20 of us went down to the Lobby Bar….and there sat Mr. Obama with some friends….feet up on the coffee table, slouched down in one of the lovely leather sofas, drink in hand. We let him know we’d been waiting for him and his program. His response? “I didn’t think anyone would really be interested so I didn’t bother! Have a drink!”

    I mention these three incidents in detail to illustrate that these were not just passing contacts….they should have been and could have been of great substance for the intended audiences. All of this to say: I do not believe he is smart enough to be the machinery behind the destruction of the United States. He enjoys being seen as Mr. Slick, considers himself to be “too cool for the room” on most occasions, but he has ZERO SUBSTANCE!!! There’s nothing there! So, who IS running the show? Michelle and Valerie Jarrett. You can bet on it, and they’re working with others, whose names I do not know. Barack is the ‘front man’. He’s picked up some phraseology over time, his cunning has gotten him through, but he is NOT the brains of the outfit.

    1. Karen, I didn’t realize that Barack was that much of a crum. I will admit I voted for him twice. I figured local kid, it’ll benefit us in Chicago/Illinois. I will admit too I was wrong. The second time I know he was begging to get beat and I really wanted to see him go down. But every time Mitt Romney opened his mouth, it made you cringe. Kind of like Ron DeSantis now. What amazed me about him (Obama) was the amount of Blacks who truly despised the man. I was working on the Metra Electric in those days, I guess what you can now call it the Toni Preckwinkle (destroyed) line. Anyway, it was amazing to hear comments going through Hyde Park and down into South Chicago just how much this man was disliked and how the community felt betrayed by him. It was an eye opener.

      Obama became the first of many disappointing choices made. Next was Rham, then Lori (had to be over Preckwinkle anyway), JB and the lot. Brandon (both of them 😉) was never truly a choice so they can’t be considered disappointments, just ongoing failures.

      You summed things up very well. You opened my eyes wider than they were. A definite learning experience.

  25. BTW are those workers receiving the $20/hrs wages complaining. Are they returning their wage increases to their owners? What’s wrong with workers earning a living wage. If these businesses can’t afford the minimum wage then let them fold. Less businesses means out of work employees meaning that wages will drop. That’s the CAPITILIST SYSTEM my friends. Dog eat dog.

  26. Mr Benakis makes many good points but he needs to keep in mind that Obama was a community organizer–emphasis on community, so he gave in the case of his comment too much credit to community for success in business. Remember that Obama was in spirit a closet socialist. But you can’t make money in any business including the restaurant business without some comittment from the community at some level. Of all the countries in the world the US is always recognized uniquely as a place where community spirit in concert with individual enterprise has worked wonders. A lot of restaurants fail because community patronage vanishes for whatever reason.
    At the same time Greeks in America are recognized as one of the most successful groups in their initiative and energy, despite their small numbers, to open and run their own businesses, so Benakis is justly proud of this as he should be.

  27. Mr. Banakis has written an excellent column which sums up many of the things that afflict our country today. I feel sorry for my grandkids; they will never experience or know how great this country was at one time.

  28. Great article. As you say, if we don’t defeat the leftist regime in November, we may be too far down the slippery slope. My small and petty critique; We have illegal boarders to support because our border is open.

  29. Terrific article. Someone once said that “The business of America is business”.
    America was built by small businesses.
    Individual freedom offers the opportunity to work hard and to achieve.
    Freedom isn’t free, it is a gift of opportunity to give, not take.

    Now work itself and business is being demeaned. Accountability is being tossed in the wind.
    Handouts are not free, theft has consequences.
    It’s all paid for by taxpayers.
    I agree that life is a series of doorways, some doors are good, some are not.
    The important thing is to keep on going forward one day at a time
    and open those doors.

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