Monday, July 16, 2012

Educating Barack

Speaking mostly to a group of people who have lived the President's words, Mr. obama laid out his view of the world.  He said:



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.
There is a lot of truth in this statement.  Let's break it down from the top.
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back.
This is both true and false.  A lot of wealthy people do agree with Mr. Obama.  They donate a LOT of money to his Presidential Campaign.  The second part is a half truth and an intentionally misleading statement wrapped together.  I'm sure that many people who donate to Mr. Obama DO want to give something back, but that is not their basis for agreeing with him nor is it the reason they give him money.  The misleading part is that he implies that ONLY THOSE WHO AGREE WITH HIM "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.
Of course not.  Most of us have families and mentors and friends to whom we could never repay the debt we owe.  But to claim that the mere existence of a society creates a debt to said society is ridiculous.  The best thing any of us can do for society is to do well for ourselves.

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 are successful and smart, it's okay to feel pride in your success and to credit yourself.  Yes, there are smart people all around you, there are hard working people all around you, but do not let that take anything from what you accomplish.   Your success is your own.  The mere existence of others does nothing to lessen what you have done.


 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.

 Like I said earlier.  Plenty of people probably helped you along the way.  Most of you had parents who worked hard to raise you right, fed you, clothed you, housed you.  I only know a few people who self-educated, and they all had a basis of education.  But do not believe that that was free.  My parents paid property taxes that paid for public education in two states.  They also paid for private school tuition, because the education provided by the government was sub-par.  Since then, it's only gotten worse.  Did teachers teach me, yes.  They were compensated for their labors.  Did someone build roads and bridges?  Yes.  And I have more than paid for my use of the same via taxes on gasoline and fuel.

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.

You want to take credit for my business?  Go to hell.  You didn't sweat over this.  You didn't cram for these tests.  All you have done is make my job harder.  Somebody made this happen?  (doing breathing exercises, bringing down my blood pressure)  With all due respect (not much), please do not comment on what it takes to create a business until AFTER you have done so.  Put your own blood, sweat, and tears into making something and then tell me that I should give the credit to another.

Yes, government researchers did invent the internet, a technology that languished for several decades of moderate usage until it was opened up for private use and development.  Only then did it become the communications and technological marvel that is such an intrinsic part of so many of our lives.

 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.

The first part of the first sentence is spot on!!!  The rest is drivel.  Yes, cooperation and partnerships help everyone.  No, I'm not very good at fighting fires.  (At least, I don't think I would be.  I've never actually tried though.)  There are people out there who ARE good at fighting fires...and a lot of them are volunteers.  Aside from that, these services could very easily be provided by the private sector.  Someone told me earlier today that such essential government services such as Teaching, Firefighting and Policing couldn't be provided by the "scraps" that individuals would be willing to pay them.  I can't imagine why not.  These are things that add value to your lives.  Now, perhaps we would get a better deal if we got to negotiate those purchases on our own.  The way things are currently run, the government sets it's own price for the services it insists you buy (even if you intend to purchase those same services from a private source).  Could you imagine if Wal-Mart tried that with it's customers?  They'd get run out of business. Of course, they don't have the power to coerce you to buy anything from them.  That one is reserved to the Government.

This little stump speech, like the one given by Elizabeth Warren (D candidate for Senate in MA and 1/32nd Cherokee Professor of Law at Harvard) may sound good to some people.  They contain a little bit of common sense truth.  People helped you along the way.  The dangerous part is the implication that they make on top of this nugget of fact.  That this help requires some payback that only they can name.


Don't fall for it.

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