'Somebody else made that happen' - a symposium (updated)
Michael Harlin comments:
I read President Obama's comment from late last week regarding business owners: "If you got [sic] a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
What I didn't read until this morning was the next sentence: "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." Now darn it, he's right.
The government authorized the creation of telegraph in the 19th century. Lines were strung everywhere, even to California. Later came telephone lines and now the internet. Government, too, in that century authorized the creation of the railway system linking the East and West coasts. Later in the 20th century, the government regulated air lines allowing flights with routes across the country. In the 1950's the Eisenhower administration created the Interstate Highway system allowing more commerce to be had. And let's not forget the US Postal Service. Planes, trains, automobiles and internet, by golly, how could we have ever survived without these marvels without our government? Who could possibly have a business without this help?
Well Mr. President, you miss the point once again. Businesses do use these governmental created systems. But it is our creativity that makes the business work. Yes these systems allow commerce to work better, faster and thus potentially more profitable. Yet if any one of these systems did not exist, we would still do business just as the founding fathers did. They did without, but used their creativity to earn money in the absence of these systems.
I suppose that the argument could be made that the Beatles would never have been in business but for the help of Edison, inventor of the phonograph and Marconi, the inventor of radio, or Ed Sullivan for having a TV program. Neither Bach, Mozart, nor Beethoven had any of those things either. But the music lives on because of their hard work.
No Mr. President, "someone else" didn't make those successes happen, the person creating them did. Something you will never understand.
Michael Harlin is a commoner and attorney at law
C. Edmund Wright comments:
In the ever-growing roster of Barack Obama's ignorant statements about how business works, about how America works, about the reality of our nation today, Obama's pronouncements Saturday in Virginia probably will put the notion that Cambridge cops "acted stupidly" and that the "private sector is doing fine" into the second tier of rhetorical lunacy.
In chiding and insulting the rich, telling them that they "didn't get there on (their) own," the President has moved the economic debate as framed by his campaign and his Presidency to a new kindergarten intellectual low. It really takes talent to shoehorn this much ignorance and hate and misplaced anger into such few words. And yet he did.
And in response to his signature line from the speech: No, Mr. President, the rich generally don't "get there on their own" - but in case you haven't noticed, they rarely "arrive there alone" either.
Take any rich guy you want -- like, say, the late Steve Jobs -- and apply the "didn't get their on (his) own" warning. Steve Jobs, like almost every rich businessman in the nation, did not get there on his own but -- as if any of them ever claim to do so -- he didn't arrive by himself either! And this is what Obama and most liberals tend to miss.
The Apple empire has created hundreds of millionaires working directly for Apple or by working for any number of other companies who have ridden Apple's coattails in the high tech field of applications and the low tech fields of distribution and delivery and marketing. Steve has lots of company in his winner's circle. That's how this works.
And how did he and the other winners get there? By making millions and millions of customers happy and therefore making them repeat customers. Win, win, win!
The same is true of Fred Smith of Fed Ex or Eric Schmidt of Google or Bill Gates of Microsoft. And to smaller degrees, it is also true of the guy who owns the best sushi bar and the best construction company and is the best HVAC contractor or owns the biggest insurance agency in your town. This is the dynamic that makes the market march.
And in addition to the direct employees and partners in these success stories, they all have to hire professionals like accountants and consultants and lawyers as well. Success does breed success.
A legitimate free market business cannot win and will not win unless most of his/her customers and employees and professional associates do so, too. But for some reason, Obama thinks all of his pet constituencies must have a piece of every success story as well.
And he delivered this blithering ignorant economic talk with a cadence that was somewhere between Hillary's fake Selma accent and Jeremiah Wright's best GD America tone, saying:
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.
Fine Mr. President. So what's your point, besides just insulting every entrepreneur who worked for weeks or months for nothing on the outside chance that perhaps he or she would make it?
Where those teachers not paid while they were being great? The last time I checked, union teachers in Madison Wisconsin were making double what the rest of the state is making and retiring in their early 50's. And then this takes the cake; are you saying that you agree with those who helped create this unbelievable American system you want to fundamentally transform into something else? And about those roads and bridges? Were the folks who designed and built those doing volunteer work? Were they built for free? And BTW, didn't you repair and rebuild all of those with your shovel ready stimulus?
But he continued with his embarrassing diatribe:
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.
Ah yes, Obamanomics 101. When in doubt, hire more teachers, firefighters and cops. That's the answer to any question apparently. But I have another question: Is this nation burning down due to a lack of firefighters? To hear Obama tell it, our nation is full of students begging for more teachers and buildings on fire with no fire fighters in sight. Is this really the case? I must be missing it.
But the straw arguments and the straw man complaints were not over:
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.
Frankly, I am always struck by just what the hell country Obama lives in and by what he thinks real business is. He apparently has only been around the bullying success that comes from powerful compulsion via the government. He must think that the only way to succeed is to have Chicago pay to play power on your side. He apparently thinks models like Solyndra, not to mention stealing GM from the bond holders as a gift to the unions, really is what business success is about.
Yes, I know, some say he knows exactly what he's doing and he fully understands. Others say he really is economically ignorant. It is really a distinction without a practical difference, since the result of his success - either in the election 2012 and/or in policy deployments between now and then - are the same. He will continue the destruction of this country as founded. Whether he applies his Marxist style governance out of ignorance or out of willful maliciousness, it is equally devastating.
But one thing is for sure. He is counting on the ignorance of the voters and of the media to allow him to get away with shameful exhibitions like the one Saturday. That was a national disgrace. If the Romney Campaign does not jump on this hard, it will be a huge opportunity missed.
Jeannie DeAngelis comments:
Campaigning in Roanoke, Virginia, the President of the United States floated a new pitch to garner votes. The theme? All the credit for individual achievement goes to collectivism. Obama tossed a hunk of red meat to the ravenous and received an enthusiastic response when he declared, "If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
No longer is Obama attempting to portray successful Americans merely as selfish rich people unwilling to share the fruit of their labor with the less fortunate; his newest approach is to argue that indeed there are those who have done well in America, but that those successes could have only been attained through communal effort.
Instead of choosing to advocate for the two important pillars of liberty, individualism and independence, Barack Obama is now making the toppling of individual achievement part of his campaign stump speech and doing it by tying prosperity to group dependency.
At the Roanoke rally, Obama emphatically stressed that "If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own."
At present, Barack Obama's influence on America has helped transform it into a place where formerly free people are being denied the "inalienable right" to live as individual entities with individual hopes, dreams or goals. Neither are Americans any longer free to pursue personal success or happiness without government interference or censure. And if they do, those successes are now being publicly put down as not really personally achieved.
So, according to Barack Obama, "The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together." In other words, Barack Obama is of the opinion that the qualities of pluck and fortitude coupled with individual resourcefulness are now insufficient to achieve success.
Using the analogy of a fire department putting out a fire, the President told the cheering crowd full of fainting fans and lifesaving "paralegals" that in order to attain success, teamwork is imperative. Obama then said, "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."
One wonders whether the fire department analogy is Obama's standard for success. Because if success is unattainable for a single individual, then Barack Obama is finally admitting he's an abysmal failure and raises the question of whether the lone cowboy/Executive Orders option he seems so fond of contradicts the teamwork ideology he pushes for everyone else.
Nevertheless, the President haughtily reminded those who might take pride in individual achievement that humility is in order when he told them, "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."
Unable to defend his own record, it's clear that what Obama is attempting to do is to debase the business successes of Mitt Romney. The President is trying to make the point that without the support of the collective and some government backup for good measure, men like Romney would never have accomplished what conservatives believe is attainable by everyone.
In short, Obama's clever tactic advocates for collectivism versus individualism, maintains that individual effort is insufficient, and that if by chance a person does manage to surmount government-imposed obstacles and reach the summit of success, Obama is about the business of convincing the public that those achievements would not have been possible had it not been outside assistance.
In essence, Barack Obama is asking individuals to sacrifice the merit of personal achievement to communalism in order to further an ideology to which he is firmly committed, as well as remediate the reputation of those who've never exerted commendable effort or achieved anything at all.
Let's not forget, this is a man who shamelessly took credit for and accepted the proceeds from a best-selling autobiography that may have been written for him by Bill Ayers. Clearly, Barack Obama had no trouble letting "somebody else" contribute to his literary success, nor does he appear uncomfortable accepting kudos for an effort he never made. So maybe in the spirit of fairness, the President is just extending the same respect to those eager to find value in being the recipient of government largesse, as he buys votes by painting individualism and personal achievement as something weak, pathetic, and undeserving of disproportionate monetary reimbursement.
And yet, as the President travels the country promoting continued "hope and change," what he fails to recognize is the dichotomy of begging for money from the successful and then going to Virginia to preach that the people financing his bid for reelection have achieved nothing on their own.
However, do not be deceived - there is a method to Barack Obama's stump speech madness. Besides revealing the true nature of his core beliefs, it seems the President is hoping to convince America that the successful couldn't have had succeeded without the village initiating and sustaining those successes. This way Obama can then justify the use of higher taxes to deliver the fruits of someone else's labor as recompense for the phantom participation he claims has enabled successful, hardworking Americans to rise above the ordinary and accomplish something to be truly proud of.
Jason Kissner writes:
Whenever Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II decides to suffer us another soliloquy masquerading as an exchange with the people, we know we can look forward to a delightful combination of pomposity, narcissism, banality, and tendentiousness.
His Roanoke speech on Saturday, July 14, however, might have surpassed all others in terms of its sheer stupidity and manifest rapacity.
Many are now aware that the Emperor spoke thusly:
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. (Applause.)
To top it off, he stated:
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.
So His Excellency observes that not all people who are smart are wealthy, and not all people who work hard are wealthy (ever one to ignore logic, he avoids consideration of how often, aside from direct or indirect participation in government, stupid, lazy people get wealthy). Who would have guessed?
He also observes that "somebody else" builds businesses. Why, under Mr. Obama's brilliant logic, we can't tell the "somebody elses" of the world that they didn't build what they built either is unknown, but we must remember that we are not as intelligent as our Ruler.
But let's not be recalcitrant; let's work with the fellow. So the "somebody else" is...the federal government, and the federal government has been filled since well before Obama's birth--especially at the upper levels--with the helpful, super-intelligent, and hardworking, which in very, very large part is what created the Obama phenomenon and allowed Mr. Obama to convert the presidency into a soft (so far) dictatorship. Haven't we seen the kind of help he's talking about? He has, so why haven't we?
Can anyone even conceive of self-sufficient states electing Mr. Obama? Look at California, New York, and Illinois--things are going swimmingly in those jurisdictions, aren't they?
The Emperor is a federal creature through and through, albeit a very hardworking and intelligent one. That's why there seem to be no pictures at all of him in the environs of Columbia University but plenty of pictures of him smoking and "chooming" in immediately preceding years otherwise obscured by a most noxious haze.
So let's look at the federal creature. Simultaneously there is so much and so little to digest. MSM talking heads, charts, statutes, regulations, court opinions, graphs, regression equations, newspapers, the National Enquirer, Jay Carneys, and still more talking heads.
However, in spite of all the talk, what is really known about the creature?
In reality, the beast is easily anatomized.
The interest on Treasurys might as well be nil. And look how secure we are! How could we not be when the government can steal on such good terms?
Realistically speaking, our currency is debauched. Home equity has been sapped if not altogether destroyed. Since yield is nowhere to be found, the few remaining with the wherewithal have been effectively dragooned into a rickety stock market.
And yet, the creature wants to tax us more. Here, we could ridicule ad nauseam the Emperor's preposterous notion that, say, a family of 4 or 5 that makes $250,000 a year is wealthy. There is, however, an even more serious issue related to taxation.
With over sixteen trillion dollars in debt and one hundred trillion in unfunded entitlements alone, how can taxation even scratch the surface of the problem? The U.S. GDP is miniscule in comparison to the wealth that has already been stolen.
They act like we don't know that the "money" they "borrowed" is monopoly money. We know that when the government runs its own printing press, taxation's (particularly income taxation's) primary purpose is: control.
Monetized debt and the fractional reserve banking system have supplied the Creature and its crony conspecifics with plenty of money. The less wealth your average, racist, lazy, stupid, barely middle class private sector worker has, the more control the Emperor has. If unsocialized racist private sector workers with their greedy, delusional dreams don't like it, they can always quit, write journals, collect interminable welfare and/or unemployment, and live off "unracist" food stamps.
Don't like either the new taxes or the dependency option? At least we're secure.
And if we're not secure now, we will be. Sooner or later, if re-elected either this Emperor or his successor will visit your community with one or more of their 30,000 helpful drones.
Jason Kissner Ph.D., J.D. is an associate professor of criminology at California State University, Fresno. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Betsy M. Galliher reminds us government didn't get rich on its own.
if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. Which, for Barack Obama, was a rare burst, in all its glorious stupidity, of Marxist honesty. From the collectivist's mouth to the nation's ear -- the money you earn isn't so much yours as it is government's. And, if that's the case, corporation America's CEO owes the American taxpayer big time.
In the words of Mr. Obama,
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 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.
Mr. Obama never started a business of any kind outside agitating, before his '08 job promotion to CEO of the greatest nation on Earth. If what Obama inflicts is considered business, it might be called something like Fundamental Transformation Incorporated. And boy, did Mr. Obama have some help on his path to running Fundamental Transformation, Inc.: Grandpa Stanley, Frank Marshall Davis, Rev. Wright, Bill Ayres, Tony Rezko, Valerie Jarrett, Saul Alinsky, Derrick Bell, George Soros; not to mention, Stalin, Lenin, Marx and Hitler. And there was no shortage of help from industry: from the manufacturers of the cigarettes he smokes, to the producers of the teleprompter; State-run media; the aeronautic engineers who make his state-of-the-art, private travel possible; the homebuilders and service workers who make his lavish and elite vacations a reality; the publishers of his composite biographies; and the chefs, gardeners, stylists, and barber he beckons to attend to his family's wants.
To his credit, Obama has had nothing, if not success, at FTI's helm: 41 straight weeks of record high unemployment; a 70% percent increase in food stamp recipients since 2007 - 45 million people -- according to the CBO; a record 11 million people on federal disability benefits, a 50% increase since Obama took office; an Occupy movement to mobilize the disenfranchised; a government takeover of the entire medical system; 15 trillion dollars in debt; neutered State's rights and an increased, even purposeful, flow of new illegal immigrants; wealth demonized; citizens divided along political, racial, ethnic, and class lines; weakened national security; a decimated military; an empowered IRS; halted domestic oil production; and billions in tax dollars to pay off unions, democrat cronies, organizers, and green companies, wasted.
Whew. Imploding the "unbelievable American system" which allows for all people to "thrive," should they so choose, takes some real work. Remarkably, there are plenty of company shareholders who continue to marvel at Obama's success, even if only at their own expense - leftists, sycophant media, the abjectly stupid, and Hollywood imbeciles - Steven Spielberg, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, to name just a few.
Most of us do not deny we had the fortune of positive influence in our lives, if only to instill that our ultimate success or failure would be our own. We grew up in the age of Reagan when the only good government was a limited government. Our parents, mentors, friends, employers, and Sunday school teachers all recognized and soundly rejected Marxism. The pharmaceutical company that allowed me my first real opportunity, among the thousands it employed, brought to market lifesaving drugs and medical devices, despite government regulation, bureaucracy, and the highest corporate tax rate in the world. To think it dared presume to profit as it bettered the lives of real people, creating foundations that provided scholarship and support to real students and the scientific community, bettering communities for the road worker, teacher, and executive alike, even as it invested in its next innovation. To think government could possibly believe it is friend, not foe, to such success.
Small business owners know exactly what it takes to succeed - risk, investment, smarts, sleepless nights, very hard work, a great deal of individual liberty, and limits to the obstacle that is government. If Barack Obama owes his real enabler, both underwriter and victim - the American taxpayer -- anything for his success, it is his failure.
Update from Steve McCann:
I have just one question for Barack Obama. Just where did the money come from that enabled the government to do all those wonderful things he claimed has been so instrumental in the success of various businesses? From the taxpayers over many decades who through the businesses they created enabled so many to have jobs, buy goods and create wealth and ultimately fund the government. But I suppose that is too much to ask that a someone steeped in Marxist/socialist thinking could ever accept or recognize.
Michael Bargo adds:
Obama said that if you built a business, somebody else did that for you. Does that mean somebody else started Bain capital, and sent jobs overseas, so Mitt Romney didn't do it?
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