President Obama visited Roanoke, Va. late last week where he made the worst speech of his life – really. Apart from a lot of his usual deceitful rhetoric about Republicans only wanting tax breaks for your jerk boss, he shared with us this gem:
“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own … 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.” (Emphasis mine)
Mr. President, your collectivist is showing.
Anyone with any sense was obviously offended at this. And businessmen and women took to Twitter to voice their concern to the president. One user commenting: “So Obama says I didn’t build my landscaping business, someone else did. Who would that be, Mr. President? Wasn’t aware I had a partner.” Newsflash, @rvaTeaPartier, your partner is the government. Now go pay your taxes, you one-percenter!
Obama mentioned the government either directly or indirectly three times in about 80 words. You see, on his way to his landscaping success, a public school teacher taught this businessman compassion, wisdom, and mathematics (we can probably rule out Wisconsin as the location of that school). And after graduating, he used the roads and bridges built by the government to drive to the lawyer’s office he found directions to off the Internet (thank you, government!) to finalize some business papers.
This is Obama’s worst attempt to make government seem productive and its destructive actions permissible. He’s telling businesspeople in the country how thankful they should be for the big government bourgeoisie that built their business for them. They should be thankful for each and every bureaucrat who stood in the way of their progress to make sure the right paperwork was filed. They should be thankful for the endless regulations and tax burdens that delayed their entry into the market.
All those long nights of crunching numbers, of praying to stay afloat, of calculating and worrying about business decisions? Fantasy. Obama had been doing the work for them the whole time!
I’ve got news for you, President Obama: every business in this country has succeeded in spite of government, not because of it. Last time I checked, this community organizer (and part-time construction worker, apparently) was planning to penalize businesses with 50 employees or more and screeching at every campaign stop that their taxes should be raised.
It’s all good though; his trillion dollar stimulus paid for the roads they use to drive to the IRS. So we’ll call it even.
This, of course, is part of Obama’s overarching philosophy. He thinks no one should be singularly credited with anything. Obama’s American Dream minimizes the individual. It not only takes a village to raise a child, but a village to build a road for that child to walk on, and a village to make the Internet that child uses to apply to his first public-sector job. I can already hear the speech: “If you’ve got a child – you didn’t have it. Somebody else made it happen.”
The politics of his decision to make this speech is strange. Earlier this year Mass. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren made similar remarks, and it didn’t work out well for her. “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own – nobody. You built a factory out there, good for you! But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for,” said the 1/32nd Cherokee Senate candidate.
Democrats believe that because the government builds roads that means they’re entitled to our wallets every time they come up with a new crazy program to fund. It’s an insane proposition. We built your roads, now fork over 35-percent of your income. Hurry, we’ve got a student at Georgetown who needs birth control!
As a nation, we tend to repudiate this collectivist rhetoric. Sure, we’re suckers for sob stories, and you can probably get elected by telling a story of a single mom who needs someone’s paycheck, but when push comes to shove, candidates running on the platform of “you didn’t build your business, I did” most likely won’t do too well in elections. (For an example of this, come see me on November 7th.)
Perhaps the best thing Republicans can do to ensure victory is to tell Obama to keep talking. After all, who can argue with the cold-hard facts of life?
“I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.” – President Obama, Roanoke, Va. July 13, 2012
Keith Fierro | Cal State Fullerton | @KJFierro