July 18 2012
President Obama: Enemy of Self-Reliance?
Quote of the Week:
“President Obama attacks success and therefore we have less success under President Obama.”
Those were Mitt Romney’s words, responding to the president’s revealing you didn’t-build it yourself remarks to American business people.
Readers of this blog probably have gathered I can’t get enough of the president’s speech in Roanoke. It is the clearest statement of what Barack Obama believes ever delivered in public (as opposed to behind closed doors—the “bitter clingers” remarks weren’t for general consumption—these were).
John Podhoretz at Commentary has also distilled just what the words show. Podhoretz says that the president’s campaign is trying to claim the words were taken out of context. They should be careful:
Obama’s utter contempt for the idea that people deserve to prosper due to the fruits of their own labors and their own skills is made even deeper and more apparent from the entire quote.
The president is saying that people who are successful in business do not deserve credit for being successful in business. He scorns those who say “it must be because I was so smart” by citing the fact that there are a lot of smart people out there. So what sets the smart people who do well apart from the smart people who don’t? Is it that they are hard-working? No, of course not, because “there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.” So if you do well, and it’s not because you’re smart or because you’re hardworking, what do you owe your success to?
Answer: “Somebody else.” As in “somebody else made that happen.” Somebody gave you some help. You had a great teacher. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. Not you.
Oh, yes, you. The whole idea of being a productive citizen who pays his taxes in a progressive system is that you are paying your own way—and even more than your own way to help others less fortunate. In other words, you are the one building the roads and bridges, or at least paying more than your share for your own use of them and their maintenance and their upkeep. The government gathers the money from every other user (and everyone else who pays for more than his use to help carry the burden of others who can’t) and pools it. That money is collected and pooled through the actions of a democratically elected legislature and signed into law by a democratically elected president, who are fulfilling the mandate assigned them by you.
Government doesn’t build it. Government doesn’t make it possible. You do.
For the president to say a taxpaying citizen didn’t build the infrastructure he uses is a fundamental denial of the entire concept of a self-governing citizenry.
So Obama defenders really ought to think long and hard about whether they want to continue advancing this meme. The longer it goes on, the worse he will look.
This philosophy has pervaded our economic policy for the last three years.
I guess with leaders who think like this, we're lucky the official unemployment numbers aren't even worse!