The Big Blur Is Not Helpful

President Obama recently:

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.

To blur the individual ideals of entrepreneurial spirit and personal responsibility into the public ideals of the Hoover Dam and fire fighting helps no one. It’s disingenuous.

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16 thoughts on “The Big Blur Is Not Helpful

  1. Contrary to the Libertarian philosophy of… Hurray for me! Screw you!

    We the people established the system libertarians use to safeguard their selfishness.

    To say that the philosophy we as a society have embraced since the Republican Great Depression of 1929 is socialist/communist/collectivist crap is uninformed at best.  Most successful people attribute a portion of their success to something beyond themselves; a mentor, teacher, book, doctor, a someone somewhere who lent a hand up.

  2. Ok. Now what? 50% of the country pays no federal tax. My total taxes are 50%+. Those teachers along the way? Me and my family paid for them. The roads? Property taxes, etc. Once one admits that you learned something from someone else at some point does that make you an indentured servant at the mercy of the State forever?

    What is the purpose of his rhetoric beyond class warfare?

  3. Rbobsanchez, what really bothers me about those comments? The implication is very clear: successful people are lucky and plenty of EQUALLY hardworking and smart people were simply unlucky or caught a bad break…and there is a way for the State to fix that. There is no ambiguity there. That is what he is saying. Now what?

  4. I get what the prez is saying. Just be a good person, and give back to a society we are lucky to be born into. I’m as capitalistic as the next guy, but MC is rabble rousing with this one.

  5. Jim, he is saying more than that. If he was only saying what you said…he would have said that. BTW, the car motivated the roads. Who invented the car? Government too?

  6. Its just depressing that America is quickly becoming a whiny & pandering baby. Those people yacking ‘right on’ would be much better off w/o the State imagining them a solution. But I do see we are past that point though as some see this as ‘a sit back in the easy chair’ government problem/solution. I will not sway those people.

  7. I don’t think Mr. Obama is being disingenuous. Like his followers, he is just completely ignorant of how the world works. As such, he actually believes the nonsense he is spouting. (Note that I’m not saying that the zombies who follow Mr. Romney, or any of the other megalomaniacs, are any better.)

    About teachers: Education would be dirt cheap on the free market. So what’s your point, Mr. Obama? On the free market you would pay a particular market price for your education, and that’s it. Why would you owe anything more than what you actually paid for a particular product or service? If one has an extra appreciation for an old teacher, one can simply visit that teacher in person. One doesn’t need to be bossed around by Federal thugs to do so.

    About the internet: Google “Government Did Invent the Internet, But the Market Made It Glorious”. There you have it, Mr. Obama.

    About firefighters: Sure, two households can voluntarily decide to purchase services from the same firefighting firm. But why, Mr. Obama, forbid other firefighting firms to enter the marketplace? Cooperation can be accomplished without your guns, Mr. Obama.

    About the middle class: Anyone who is not completely ignorant of basic economics knows that the (relatively) free market created the middle class – not the state.

    About the Hoover Dam, Golden Gate, and the Moon Mission: These were nothing but massive squandering of capital. Study Bastiat’s broken window fallacy, Mr. Obama. If the state wouldn’t have wasted all this capital on all of these wasteful projects, the original owners from which the capital was stolen in the first place would instead have used the capital to actually advance civilization, instead of driving it to the ground – which is what the state has so clearly done.

  8. I’m not completely ignorant yet… my basic understanding of US History is (Many trend lines support me in saying this) the middle class was a result of the Union Movement. No capatilist ever gave a worker squat, the freedom of contract the supreme court used to beat unions silly with is silly. When you owe you soul to the company store where is the freedom?  Not until the New Deal when the government guaranteed workers the right to collective barganing dod the “middle class” become more than a dream. You want free markets move to Somalia.

  9. 50% pay no federal tax true.  But they still pay sales tax, user fees, etc.  half the country makes less than 25K a year. I couldnt raise a family in that much less eek out taxes.  Not even if the sherriff of Nottingham sent deputies to beat it out of me. 

    When I was a kid my dream was to make it into the 90% tax bracket.  If I was that rich I’d be ble to take care of every need, want, and desire I and my family ever had. Today I hear people grousing about 35%, that’s  wrong.

  10. Rbobsanchez, whimsically recalling 100 years ago is silly (implication: we can go back to *something*). It is an intellectual economy, a service economy today…whether you like it or not. Talking of unions and New Deals is pointless in a border-less economy.

  11. So the class warfare rhetoric helps those making less than 25k more than actually talking to them about success, entrepreneurism and how to do it? Take the people who need the most help and whip them into a jealous frenzy cause someone has more than them? Sure, makes perfect sense.

  12. You don’t seem to get it, Rbobsanchez. Consider these two basic points:

    1) Nobody is against you banding with your fellow co-workers to form a “union”. But passing laws that ban others who actually WANT to work for lower wages – that is nothing but violent thuggery.

    2) Go to some desert island with only a few coconut trees and a few people on the verge of starvation, and pass your beloved union law there. Oh, what magic! Everything should be fine now, right? On the contrary, they would laugh at you.

    The problem is that you don’t seem to understand where the wealth came from in the first place. It didn’t happen by magic.

    Watch this if you want to learn more: http://youtube.com/watch?v=m-LJ3wZjD4I

    If you try using the “move to Somalia” argument, you have already lost. This has been addressed many times before, including here: http://mises.org/daily/5418/Anarchy-in-Somalia

  13. And the notion that government has created the Internet we have all come to know over the last 15 years is so outlandishly disingenuous … where do you start in response?

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