You Didn't Build It
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This is the mark of a coward, not a leader.
Obama's War On Taxpayers
Now President Obama is blatantly attacking entrepreneurs and job creators out on the campaign trail as he attempts to smear Mitt Romney. You've likely heard the sound bites by now, but here are the president's remarks in context:
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back.? They know they didn't -- look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own.? You didn't get there on your own.? I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.? There are a lot of smart people out there.? It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.? Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
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.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.? There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own.? I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.? That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.?
So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together.? That's how we funded the GI Bill.? That's how we created the middle class.? That's how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam.? That's how we invented the Internet.? That's how we sent a man to the moon.? We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that's the reason I'm running for President -- because I still believe in that idea.? You're not on your own, we're in this together.
President Obama's words here are reminiscent of the rant that Elizabeth Warren went on a few months ago where she demeaned the rich and business owners for supposedly taking advantage of public services that "the rest of us" paid for. It's no coincidence that Warren, who is currently running for the Senate against Scott Brown in Massachusetts, used to be a Special Advisor to President Obama.
And President Obama's remarks are just as ridiculous as Warren's. The entire argument is a straw man ' as far as I know, even the most conservative small-government Republicans aren't objecting to spending their tax dollars to pay for roads, bridges, teachers, firefighters, and police officers...and even if a growing number of conservatives object to seeing their tax dollars wasted on the overinflated wages, benefits and pensions the public employee unions have secured for government workers, it's not, as Democrats would have you believe, that conservatives hate teachers, firefighters and police officers ' it's because those wages, benefits and pensions are unaffordable. The recent bankruptcies of the cities of Stockton and San Bernardino in California and the upcoming Postal Service default can be traced directly back to massive pension obligations brought on by the public employees' unions.
But even more than that, President Obama's comments carry with them the assumption that the people of our nation would not be able to function without a cradle-to-grave federal government watching out for us every moment of every day of our lives. It wasn't that long ago that the president's campaign released its "Life of Julia" cartoon, a laughable depiction of a woman going through life completely dependent on government programs for her success. The problem with "Life of Julia" and President Obama's tax-the-rich strategy is, if we get everyone on the government dole ' which seems to be one of President Obama's primary goals ' it doesn't matter how much we tax the rich, there is no way we will be able to pay for it.
Beyond even that, there is a larger issue with this line of thinking.
The president is right - there are a lot of smart, hardworking people out there...and in many ways, success is a team effort. But America's greatest successes haven't happened because the government is so great at doing its job. Maybe they had something going 70 years ago or so, back when honest men with good work ethics who were down on their luck took government jobs and built America's highways, dams, and many of our bridges...but even that was more of a credit to the American spirit than it was to the US government. Since then, our government has become bogged down in bureaucracy, inefficiency, waste, fraud, and corruption, with a populace that is growing increasingly dependent on government hand-outs. If the government were to try to implement the same kind of "workfare" programs today, there would be riots in the streets, led by people who feel entitled to their government "benefits."
In a very limited sense, the president is right: businesses are not solo affairs. You have to have the right employees and the right customers in order to make a business successful. But the idea that businesses require government intervention in order to thrive is absolutely ludicrous. It takes a lot of gall for a president with no business experience to tell people who have poured their lives into businesses they created that all of the credit goes to the government.
The government is not an enabler to businesses. In fact, all of the examples President Obama named ' roads, bridges, dams, and the Internet ' all were created as a response to private sector market forces. Roads were paved and bridges were built because the private sector was building and selling cars and businesses needed to transport goods. Dams were built because homes and businesses were using more electricity - because innovators and entrepreneurs were inventing new technologies. The Internet started out as a Department of Defense project designed to facilitate communication between DOD computers, not, as the President put it, "so that all the companies could make money off the Internet." That came later, when the private sector innovators moved in and pioneered the solutions that turned the Internet into what is now the world's largest marketplace of ideas, products, and services. If businesses were not succeeding, we would not need the roads and bridges. If the private sector had not been prosperous, we would not need the Internet. The few examples that the president named are a few shining examples where the government and private sectors came together to accomplish great things. Most of the time, that just doesn't happen. And it especially doesn't happen without private sector business owners and entrepreneurs, who are responsible for paying the bills for those projects.
How does the President of the United States fall so far that he has the arrogance to tell business owners that "somebody else made that happen?" Who are "the rest of us," as Elizabeth Warren put it?
President Obama doesn't know anything about the work it takes to build a business. In one of his memoirs, the president wrote that in the short time he worked in the private sector, he felt like "a spy behind enemy lines."
Business owners are taxpayers. If businesses are successful, they make more money, and pay more taxes. They also hire more people ' and people with jobs also pay taxes. So if President Obama is talking about the people who pay for those roads and bridges and teachers and police and firefighters, somebody else didn't do that ' the American taxpayers did that. If you pay your taxes, you did that. Roads and bridges and police officers and firefighters and teachers aren't the government's investments, they are the taxpayers' investments. "Somebody else" didn't make it happen, we are the "somebody else." The welfare recipients and people living on food stamps and unemployment checks may be going through some hard times, but people on welfare and unemployment don't build our economy. They aren't building roads or bridges. They aren't paying the salaries of teachers, police and firefighters ' and neither are public sector workers, which is why expanding government employment will never help our economy. Taxes payed by government workers are just tax dollars from businesses, business owners, and private sector workers that get recycled back into the government coffers.
The only defense the Democrats have come up with for the president's galling remarks is that "they were taken out of context." That is why I made sure to include several paragraphs, copied directly from the White House web site (I did remove the applause notations, but that's it). Even if you read the entire speech, it is perfectly clear that the president said exactly what he meant to say.
But it isn't enough for Democrats to claim President Obama was taken out of context - now, the Obama campaign has released an add claiming that Mitt Romney mis-quoted the president when he read Obama's words during a campaign speech, calling it a "false attack" and saying "that's not what he said"...then later on in the same commercial, they play President Obama saying the exact words that Romney quoted, proving that President Obama's "Truth Team" is made up of a bunch of liars. So it isn't enough that the President of the United States dissed each and every hardworking American taxpayer and business owner, now his campaign is saying that he didn't say exactly what he said, while using they say he didn't say to prove their point. Confused? I think that's the Truth Team's goal.
In these times of economic hardship, all Americans are depending on smart, hardworking business owners to do whatever they can to overcome President Obama's over-regulation and build up their businesses and hire more employees - and it isn't easy. Over the course of his term, President Obama has stood firm as a roadblock to economic growth. His "investments" have failed in a mess of waste and corruption. He has established a reputation for personally taking credit for the few meager positives our economy has experienced during his administration, while blaming every negative on someone else. And when he faces backlash from the American public when his true beliefs shine through, he is not above lying to the American people.
This is the mark of a coward, not a leader...and certainly not the mark of a historic president.
Robert Cleveland, Senior Conservative Editor: Robert Cleveland is the IT Director for a document management services company. When he isn't working on computers and scanners, he's spending time with his wife and kids, or writing about just how jacked-up Washington politics is. He is a strong believer that hard work and freedom are what make America the greatest nation on the planet, and it is of the utmost importance that we never lose those values. Robert's other writing can be found at his blog, more...)