You have to wonder whether someone actually wrote this (as quoted by the Washington Times) for Barack Obama, or if he thinks up these himself:
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.)
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.
Independent of the fact that Obama has no idea how businesses are created given his lone private-sector experience (working at a law firm that he compared to being a spy on the wrong side of the border), such a statement is a grotesque, but hardly surprising, insult to millions of American business people, whose taxes paid for teacher salaries, roads, bridges and the Internet, and some of whom vote Democrat.
(By the way: The first American fire service was organized by my favorite Founding Father, Ben Franklin. Not the government.)
This piece of insight that demolishes Obama’s argument comes from the private-sector creation called Facebook:
Technically, none of us do anything, or have done anything ever, with out the help of others, and nobody has accomplished anything completely on their own. Even typing this sentence requires a multitude of things other people have done. There is a point where a person does create something new though, building some thing that is their own. It is a bad semantic argument, the winner having to go back to the statement: without me this would not exist.
So, counter to Obama’s statement: a small Business exists because of an individuals actions, choices and work, and would not exist without them.
Businesses of course get “help.” However, that help is something a business earns; permission to go into business is not something upon which Comrade Obama signs off. Financial help comes from investors and financial institutions, whose help is voluntary, and who have to be convinced to put their money into the fledgling business. Businesses stay in business by selling products and services their customers need.
In addition to being obnoxious, Obama’s comments are ironic, as the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto points out:
… it takes chutzpah for the man who boasts of having personally killed Osama bin Laden to tell businessmen, “You didn’t build that.”
Second, the government did not create the Internet “so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.” It developed the Internet’s predecessor, the Arpanet, as part of what everybody agrees is the legitimate function of national defense–the one area of government Obama is anxious to cut.
Not surprisingly, Obama’s latest is really popular (/sarcasm) on Facebook:
”As a small business owner who took NO gov’t assistance, I am appalled at the arrogance of this fool who wants me to believe that it’s the govt’ that is responsible for any success that may come my way…. I have had to fight tooth and nail to keep afloat BECAUSE of this ass-clown and his cohorts… And I will keep fighting to succeed IN SPITE of them.”
~Nancy Milesky, small business-person, one of millions who create 70% of all American jobs.
John Podhoretz adds:
Obama’s “we’re all in this together” bit has been a feature of his speeches over the past year, as he cites the government-led activities that have made this country better—land-grant colleges and infrastructure and the social safety net. It sounds kind of uplifting, which is why he likes to say it, and it fits his general message of a country in which government plays a central role for the good of all.
But when he extended it to personal and private endeavor, the president revealed the danger of this message—to him. ”If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” Obama said. “Somebody else made that happen.” Aside from the fact that this isn’t even remotely true—if you’re a taxpayer and government funds were used to “make something happen,” then by definition you paid for it—it was profoundly stupid politically. In 2007, the last year for which we have data, according to the Census Bureau, there were 21.7 million businesses in the United States with no employees—meaning they were sole proprietorships, or free-lance businesses employing only their owner. Of the six million remaining businesses in the U.S., more than 3 million had 1 to 4 employees, and 1 million had 5 to 9. So, all in all, small businesses run by one person employing fewer than ten numbered an astonishing 25 million.
This is probably the matter of greatest pride for each and every one of the people who runs that business. He or she views himself or herself as a hard-working, go-getting, scrappy individualist. And it’s likely that many of them—many, many of them—are independent voters. …
And a man running for national office just said of their own businesses that they “didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” This statement is a colossal opportunity for Mitt Romney and will prove a suppurating wound for the president, who revealed a degree not only of condescension but of contempt for the very people who are going to decide this election.