Obama’s Controversial Remark

Take what you want, and pay for it.

“If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

President Obama’s statement sure has incited controversy. His opponents, including Mitt Romney, are using it to brand Obama as—at best—out of touch and—at worst—an un-American collectivist. It’s also become the butt of jokes on the Internet.

Meanwhile Obama and his supporters cry foul, claiming the statement was taken out of context. (They’d never take an opponent’s statement out of context of course.) Some concede that Obama’s expression was inept, but  insist he wasn’t denying the value of individual initiative. In a campaign spot Obama says, “What I said was that we need to stand behind them [business people] as America always has. By investing in education, training, roads and bridges, research and technology.”

So who’s right? Let’s go to the videotape. And here’s the transcript of the relevant section (emphasis added; the full speech is here):

But you know what, I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them. So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask [!] for the wealthy to pay a little bit more....

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 point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

What Did He Mean?

Was Obama saying the owner of a business did not build his business or did not build the aforementioned “unbelievable American system” and “roads and bridges”? Under the principle of charity, I give him the benefit of the doubt, but you can decide for yourself.

A more interesting question is why Obama bothered to state this truism. Everyone knows that a successful business, along with individual initiative, requires things the owner did not create. Besides roads and bridges, a successful business requires other businesses. Without those, where would any firm get its buildings, materials, and machines? And remembering Say’s Law, without other people’s productive efforts, no business would have customers: People can buy only because they first had something to sell (goods or labor services). Demand is supply and vice versa.

Has Obama really run across many people who think they got “there on [their] own” only because they are smarter and harder working than everyone else? I guess there are a few people like that, but I smell a straw man. (Obama’s mocking tone at this point was certainly off-putting and did not help his cause.)

So why did Obama bring it up? (“Don’t bother to examine a folly,” Ayn Rand has a character say in The Fountainhead. “Ask yourself only what it accomplishes.”) He seems to have had only one reason: to justify “ask[ing] for the wealthy to pay a little bit more [in taxes].” For him, this is the “balanced way” to cut the deficit. “I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them,” he said.

Demagogue’s Appeal

Even without his objectionable defense of higher taxes on people who don’t “need” their money (even if true, how is that relevant?), this is a demagogue’s appeal. For one thing, no one will be asked to pay higher taxes.

How do we know that upper-income people aren’t already paying enough to maintain roads, bridges, and education? Maybe government foolishly diverts tax revenues to less important purposes.

How do we know the rich and the rest of us aren’t overpaying? Government is notoriously inefficient at providing goods and services because it gets its revenue by force and thus never faces the market test, which requires consumers free to say no. What does “fair” even mean in the matter of taxation?

Why Monopoly?

More fundamentally, why assume that roads, bridges, and schools must be provided by a coercive monopoly rather than in a free and competitive market? Obama takes for granted that monopoly is indispensable to prosperity, but that claim requires demonstration, particularly in light of the drawbacks already pointed out. Before one invokes “market failure,” one must first come to grips with “government failure” because there is no prima facie reason to prefer the latter to the former, even if it can even be said to exist. Strangely, monopoly is universally despised—unless it’s run by the government.

Not to be misunderstood, in a corporatist economy there are grounds for concern about the wealthy to the extent that their fortunes derive from government privilege. The solution, however, is the abolition of privileges, not higher taxes, which merely give more resources to mischievous public self-servants and inevitably come to haunt the middle class.

And the fiscal crisis? The path to a solution is illuminated by the fact that we face a crisis not because of a failure to tax—but because of a proclivity to spend.

Thus even if we give Obama the benefit of the doubt, he’s got this all wrong. If he is really concerned that successful people pay too little for the benefits they enjoy, radically freeing the market is just the ticket. It’s the best way to honor the Spanish proverb: “Take what you want, God said to man, and pay for it.”

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  • ||

    First!

  • ||

    Okay, somehow that didn't feel as special.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It's never as special as your First! time.

  • John||

    But it hurts a lot less the second time.

  • jacob the barbarian||

    You should ask Tony

  • Brandybuck||

    Just lie back and think of Obama

  • Ted S.||

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Because Reason made that happen.

  • John||

    Jonathan Chait says this whole thing is racist. Obama was just being black and people can't take a real black man

    Watch Obama's delivery in the snippet put together by this Republican ad.

    The key thing is that Obama is angry, and he's talking not in his normal voice but in a "black dialect." This strikes at the core of Obama's entire political identity: a soft-spoken, reasonable African-American with a Kansas accent. From the moment he stepped onto the national stage, Obama's deepest political fear was being seen as a "traditional" black politician, one who was demanding redistribution from white America on behalf of his fellow African-Americans.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2.....works.html

  • CampingInYourPark||

    There was an article about this yesterday

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Okay, I only saw it yesterday, it was published Friday.
    http://reason.com/blog/2012/07.....-dialect-e

  • John||

    Missed that one.

  • Ice Nine||

    It's bullshit today, it was bullshit yesterday and it was bullshit the day before - even if his contrived black dialect/cadence thing is always annoying as hell.

  • Brutus||

    I think it's more of a red dialect.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Why isn't the concept of talking black inherently racist?

  • Bill||

    Because a progressive who is getting down on others for being "racist" can't be racist. Just like a minority can't be racist.

  • vicky||

    He is losing some of his black base, and will do what he can, even speaking in "black dialect" to keep them..'
    He is not the adult in the room...

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    For a man whose initial candidacy was based almost solely on his speaking ability, President Obama has consistently displayed a remarkably tin ear for what resonates with the public. Doubtless there are those with darker suspicions, but I think it can be adequately explained by saying that he is a fairly typical Elitist Liberal, who has seldom emerged from the society of his fellows and thus seldom had their worldview challenged.

  • John||

    He always gets in trouble when he goes off script. And in fairness, the "you didn't build that" speech wasn't a bad speech. He was on a role and had the crowd really going. Liberals just have to claim it was a bad speech because they can't admit that he meant what he said.

  • ||

    I'm trying really hard to not call him names.

    THIS is what I said...even though I didn't say it.

    Incredible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0yK5NakN2o

  • ||

    Eerily familiar to this defensive ad by Christine Odonnel a couple of years ago.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGGAgljengs

  • Bam!||

    The emotion being expressed in his facial expressions comes off as incredibly insincere.

  • vicky||

    Roll, not role...
    Anyway... he does that well, gets the crowd going.

    But what about America? Does he get her going? The answer is no..

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Over 2 weeks and people are still talking about it. This one might make the history books if Obama loses.
    And I still want to know why the fuck are there campaign speeches on the whitehouse.gov web site!

  • John||

    It drew a lot of blood. You could tell it did by the frantic name calling it induced in his supporters. He got away with the "clinging to their guns" remark because it wasn't on take and it only insulted rural people. This remark insulted pretty much everyone, was a perfect sound bite, and was on tape.

  • ||

    My friend is a Massachusetts liberal and he saw the "clinging guns" thing as truth.

    My wife is a teacher and politically tone-deaf if not oblivious and even she said he overplays the "there was a teacher in your life" bit.

    Two problems with that. One, the good kids, regardless of teachers they've have, will succeed no matter what and who they encounter. They're self-motiviated and usually are smarter the the average kid. It has nothing to do with a teacher "helping them along."

    It also overlooks the fact that a lot of teachers don't give a shit.

    Some kids who succeed is in spite of a teacher and may even have been chastised by teachers.

    You know the guy. The one who was told to go to vocational school and who was not going anywyere.

    Next thing you know, they're building businesses. But apparently they had a "teacher in their life."

    It was amateur night for Obama. The speech was just plain faulty on several levels and deserves to be ridiculed.

    Over to Tony.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    They had a "Teacher in their life", but the question the Left never, ever wants you to ask is "But was that teacher a teacher in a public school?"

  • vicky||

    Our taxes paid for those roads, bridges, teachers.... not gov!
    we did it all ourselves, and with much prayer.
    If anyone had anything to do with it, its God.

  • Knoss||

    When Obama refers to his childhood he talks about how his mother helped him with his school work. He concludes from this, not that the school system failed, but that the president's job is to tell parents to be teaching their children.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It also overlooks the fact that a lot of teachers don't give a shit.

    Those are the smart ones.

    The country needs to accept the reality that teachers just aren't that important to educational outcomes, let alone life success.

    The ironic thing is that teachers inadvertently acknowledge that truth by opposing any form of supervisory discretion and merit pay.

  • UneasyRider||

    I disagree. I think that most people who will succeed will succeed regardless of or even in spite of their teachers, but there are some teachers that make a difference. A second year teacher that cares and works their ass off should be paid more than a 20 year teacher who does little more than show up.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    No, lots of kids (in terms of absolute numbers) never overcome what predatory teachers do to them. Many of these victims take shelter in the oblivion of addiction, and some even resort to suicide.

  • vicky||

    You kidding me? Obama gets away with everything he says!
    He never gets called into account.

    Luckily, this one is not going away.

  • John||

    And what is funny is that the one real devastating blow Romney has landed and probably will land against Obama is totally self inflicted. Obama really is Wiley Coyote Super Genius and he just dropped a safe on his own head.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    If you think about it, Romney is the perfect bait to attract Obama's sneering attitude towards success and wealth. Envy is a difficult thing to hide sometimes.

  • John||

    And Romney being so boring and predictable helps that. Romney is not going to say anything interesting much less controversial. That keeps Obama from changing the subject from his own gaffes.

  • Jeff||

    B-b-but Romney criticized the Olympics! And a million Germans didn't show up to fellate him!

    (You know who else the Germans fellated?)

  • Killazontherun||

    90% of those assholes support Obama. A grievous insult to our nations if there ever was one. We should punish them by pulling up our bases there that drive many German local economies.

  • ||

    Kaiser Wilhelm?

  • ||

    David Hasselhoff?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But he won't release a million pages of old tax returns.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    One page for every truckload of money he owes the benevolent American people! That Evil Bastard! Why, if we had that money, we could blow up more brown people with overpriced tech-toys or pay off .0000002% of the US debt!

  • ||

    "Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. . . ."

    - any way you look at it, it's non-sensical. If he meant "you didn't build the roads", not only is is command of English awful, wgat would be the point of saying "If you've got a business, you didn't build the roads and bridges" - THAT would be a head-scratcher and a howler . . .

    Notice too his choice of words:
    - "if you WERE successful", as opposed to "if you ARE successful"
    - if you HAVE a business", instead of "if you BUILT a SUCCESSFUL business"

    any way you look at it, he denigrates the method of building a successful, PROFITABLE business, which is all we need to know about him.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The construct only works in reference to someone that has inherited their wealth.

    Which, considering Obama's personal history is probably the only type of business owner or wealthy person that he's ever met.

  • gaoxiaen||

    We need Gary Johnson in the debates. He's far more typical of someone who built a business than Silver Spoon Rmoney.

  • shamalam||

    Amen, brother.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I guess you didn't know Romney gave away his entire inheritance. Would be a nice strategy to say "my guy is the only one that did it all himself" if it had any merit.

  • sloopyinca||

    I guess you didn't know Romney gave away his entire inheritance.

    [Citation required saying when he did it and how much he used that inheritance to build his wealth before he did so]

    Not that I really give a fuck what he does or did with his own money, but to say he has completely made himself like Johnson did is fucking laughable.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Mitt Romney, making the case that he made his own wealth, said, "I didn't inherit money from my parents."

    Indeed, he was already a wealthy man by the time his father, George, died in 1995. He did receive an inheritance but says he gave it away. We don't have independent confirmation of that. But a family-funded endowment at BYU started in 1998 to support the George W. Romney Institute of Public Management, bolstering Romney's claim."

    Maybe he should apologize for his father being in politics, but, then again Johnson's parents were both gov't employees. Arguing this type of crap is pathetic. Expect it from Obama, but Libertarians?

    http://www.politifact.com/trut.....is-parent/

  • sloopyinca||

    As I said, I don't care what he did with all of the wealth his dad gave him, whether it was before he died or afterward. But if he's campaigning as a totally self-made man, then he's as full of shit as Obama is. And comparing a schoolteacher (dad) and a functionary at the Bureau of Indian Affairs to a Governor is pretty laughable.

    Seriously, I couldn't care about Mitt's childhood privilege. All I care about is that he'll make a horrible president, perhaps only eclipsed in ineptitude by another 4 years of Obama.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "I don't care what he did with all of the wealth his dad gave him, whether it was before he died or afterward. But if he's campaigning as a totally self-made man, then he's as full of shit..."

    You know who else called people full of shit for claiming they made their own success? Please...tell me what the threshold is for claiming what your own choices bring you. Raised as an orphan by animals?

  • John||

    Jesus Sloopy, you sound like Obama.

  • UneasyRider||

    I don't begrudge Romney for his wealth, but it is a lot more difficult for a middle class individual to build a business and become wealthy than it is for a person with wealthy parents to become wealthy. This isn't a knock on Romney. Many children of wealthy parents are completely useless. It's more praise for Johnson.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Herman Cain's mother was a "domestic worker" and his father was "janitor, barber, and chauffeur". I suppose that means he can claim the title - Most Self Made Man of Former GOP Candiates.

  • vicky||

    It matters to me, and it should to you. Mitt Romney is a great guy. He is successful and knows business.
    Obama does not. He is a community organizer.

  • Nike air max womens||

    He seems to have had only one reason: to justify “ask[ing] for the wealthy to pay a little bit more [in taxes].” For him, this is the “balanced way” to cut the deficit. “I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them,” he said.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    And what he wants you forget is that Democrats who promise to cut spending IF they are allowed to raise taxes are never, ever telling the truth.

    Republicans are seldom either, but Democrats? Never!

  • vicky||

    Rino repubs don't, but the Tea Party type conservatives are our only hope.
    We need our tax laws changed, our Obamatax repealed and replaced, our own oil/ natural gas/ coal produced... lots of things we need, that we won't get from Barry Obama.

  • ||

    You both just replied to a spambot that copy/pasted text from the original article.

  • ||

    Spambots are getting creepy. I think when the singularity occurs, it will start with a spambot program designed to circumvent spam filters.

  • Ken Dixon||

    Hitler reacts to learning that he didn't build his own business...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfzqyTZrw7Q

  • Some Chick from OH||

    Thank you. That was the funniest s**t I've seen in some time. (Of course, I don't get out much.)

  • Marshall Gill||

    Nicely done, Ken! Very funny.

  • ||

    Ha - that deserves virality.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Awesome! Made my day. :)

  • Brutus||

    LOL...

  • vicky||

    Thats hilarious.. and I don't even like Hitler..

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Help me out here. I thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between Obama and his twin brother Romney. What's with all this harping about this gaffe, and how different is it from 4+ years ago when all those rabid, low-brow conservatives were harping over obscure marxist figures like Bill Ayers, Obama's statements about making "electricity rates necessarily skyrocket"...? Honestly, what's so surprising about this? Do you really think that since Obama pretends to be a moderate most of the time that he can't do more damage than Romney?

  • Ice Nine||

    John answered your question at 8:48.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    His answer at 8:54 is better, such as it is. But I'm not talking about Romney. I'm talking about Reason.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Wingnuts build up stories amongst themselves. Its like the ridiculous Fast/Furious bullshit conspiracy - even with an executive privilege assertion I told everyone here it would be forgotten in two weeks (as it has).

    But no! Its part of some super-secret plot to ban guns in a second Obama term!

    The fact that roads and bridges were needed to make a Wal-Mart possible is self-evident to rational people.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|7.29.12 @ 10:22AM|#
    "The fact that roads and bridges were needed to make a Wal-Mart possible is self-evident to rational people."

    Shriek, you'd better pace yourself. Spin too much too early and you're dizzy all day.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    How is Vladimir Posner doing?

  • sloopyinca||

    The fact that roads and bridges were needed to make a Wal-Mart possible is self-evident to rational people.

    Ever stop to think what the %age of taxes Walmart paid to build that road is compared to the taker class? Seriously, leftist griefers do no want to turn this into a "you didn't pay for that" war. Sooner or later, the people who actually do pay for it through taxes are gonna stand up and tell them to show what %age they paid.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Seriously, leftist griefers do no want to turn this into a "you didn't pay for that" war.

    Holy Science, I do!

  • ||

    First of all, rational people don't need to go to the point of bablbing about who paid for fucking roads. Everyone paid for it so there...it's moot.

    Second, as was the case in Canada, it's private businessman who put up the capital for the roads.

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infras.....azer01.cfm

    Jesus, how bizarre are people who so blindly are into the government? We should be GLAD it was PRIVATE PEOPLE who did it.

  • Brutus||

    The fact that roads and bridges were needed to make a Wal-Mart possible is self-evident to rational people.

    And where did the government get the money to "invest" in those roads and bridges?

    And if roads and bridges are so central to what government is and does, why is it such a small percentage of what it actually does?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Said roads and bridges built by private-sector contractors, you mean? Eh, shrike?

    Anything to prop up Barack Goldwater Obama, eh, shrike?

  • Stephdumas||

    SNL alumni Jon Lovitz teased Obama about it as well http://www.breitbart.com/Big-H.....eace-prize

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Obama is channeling Milton Friedman who warned us about the Bush deficits (they are future tax increases).

    Obama inherited a $1.3 trillion annual deficit and the GOP House is reneging on the modest spending cuts they agreed to in the 2011 budget deal.

    Like it or not Deficits do Matter - Cheney.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|7.29.12 @ 10:32AM|#
    "Obama inherited a $1.3 trillion annual deficit"

    And promptly made it far, far worse.

  • Jeff||

    "We can’t worry, short-term, about the deficit." - president-elect Barack Obama, December 2008

    He then went on to spend his entire first term not worrying about the deficit.

  • wareagle||

    what he means by short-term is not the same as what you mean.

  • Len Bias||

    Also, what he means by "worry" is the the same as what you mean.

    He's worried he might not be able to use the deficit as a pretext to inflate away people's savings and raise taxes to a level that's "fair."

  • ||

    Also, what he means by a "fair" tax rate is 100%.

  • Brutus||

    Obama inherited them from Reid and Pelosi. Official deficit was $161B the last Republican Congress. It tripled the first FY the Reid/Pelosi gang got the purse strings, then tripled again the year after that.

  • UneasyRider||

    Give blame where blame is due. He inherited the deficit from Reid, Pelosi, and Bush. They all deserve blame.

  • ||

    Obama inherited a $1.3 trillion annual deficit and the GOP House is reneging on the modest spending cuts they agreed to in the 2011 budget deal.

    That's if you attribute all of TARP and the first Obama stimulus to Bush. Nevertheless, Obama has had 2 fiscal years all to himself where he has grown that deficit. You don't inherit an annual deficit 3 years into your term.

    Also, it would be impossible for the house GOP to reneg on spending cuts in the 2011 budget for two reasons. A) there were no spending cuts, but rather decreases in the rate of spending increase. And B) there hasn't been an actual budget passed since Obama took office.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I watched the Scalia interview on FOX. No question about Raich; what a surprise.

    Scalia impressed me as an A Number One douchebag. I wouldn't hire him to mow my lawn.

  • Bob Alou||

    This is the best article I've read on this topic.

    But, for those readers with a more mathematical inclination, the same idea may be expressed as follows:

    President Obama stated that hard work and "smarts" are NOT enough to equate to success. Thus,

    SUCCESS =/= hard work + brains

    According to the President:

    SUCCESS = hard work + brains + government

    Or,

    SUCCESS = hw + b + g

    I would propose naming the above formulation "Obama's Theorem."

    Now, transposing and solving for "g":

    SUCCESS - hw - b = g

    That is, government equals success minus hard work and brains.

    This is manifestly correct. Does it not fully explain Solyndra? The "Arab Spring"? "Cash for Clunkers"? (LOL!) The notion that one might borrow and spend $5 trillion and then regard oneself as somehow more wealthy? California?

    QED.

    Note that Governor Romney, if elected, would reverse the sign preceding the "g" in Obama's Theorem. He would define success as hard work plus brains LESS government. What a dope!

  • ||

    This is manifestly correct. Does it not fully explain Solyndra? The "Arab Spring"? "Cash for Clunkers"?

    Exactly. There are things that government does that help create a good business environment. Having courts that enforce contracts equally for instance. Roads and bridges do help (although they might be provided more efficiently through the private sector).

    But what Obama actually wants is to have more money to give to green energy companies. He wants to subsidize certain industries and penalize others. More money for auto companies, less for oil companies, etc.

    What the Democrats think is that by providing certain industries with subsidies they can create sucessful businesses. That's what they mean by "government created the internet". It's wrong and it's totally oblivious to what makes businesses sucessful. Not to mention being unfair, and easily manipulated.

    The ultimate aim of their policies is that government SHOULD determine which businesses are sucessful or not. They want to be able to decide that everyone henceforth shall buy electric cars and solar-panels. They don't WANT people just becoming sucessful on their own, because they might be doing do by selling an un-approved product that doesn't fit into their master plan.

  • ||

    Not to be misunderstood, in a corporatist economy there are grounds for concern about the wealthy to the extent that their fortunes derive from government privilege. The solution, however, is the abolition of privileges, not higher taxes, which merely give more resources to mischievous public self-servants and inevitably come to haunt the middle class.

    And Obama of course is completely in favor of using government subsidies to grant favors to special industries and constituencies. I.e. "green energy".

    Or to penalize those he dislikes (outsourcing).

    More fundamentally, I have seen no sign from Obama that he has any interest in reforming the tax code to simplify it. Which would make it far less easy for the wealthy and powerful to manipulate the code in their favor.

    His approach is completely political "people I don't like should pay more in taxes so I can hand out subsidies to people I like." Claiming that the people he doesn't like somehow owe the people he likes because it's all a big interdependent mush so they don't really deserve anything they have.

  • jaydee007||

    When I strip away all the 'Finer' points and look at the overall speech IN Context I get the following Message from Obama:

    If your football team won the superbowl it wasn’t because of Great Strategy by the Coaches, (There are a lot of Smart Coaches) It wasn’t because of Hard Work of the Players (Other Team's players work hard) – It was because the Groundskeeper made the field level, Cut the grass the proper length, and painted crisp lines in the grass.

  • ||

    If that's the case, it would be nice if Obama would limit that government's involvement in the economy to ONLY equitable enforcement of the laws, uniformity of the tax code, and simplicity fo the regulations.

    But it isn't. Obama doesn't want the government to just setthe level playing field then sit back and let the chips fall where they may. He wants the government actively involved in subsidizing some industries and penalizing others.

    A better analogy would be to add "Since you all owe the government for your success, the winning team should allow me to reallocate the points and adjust the rules so that my favorite team gets more points."

  • jaydee007||

    While your assessment is accurate to what he is actually doing, it does not sumarize what he said.

    Keep in mind his statement is Justification for doing what you are talking about.

  • Bob Straub||

    'So why did Obama bring it up? ... He seems to have had only one reason: to justify “ask[ing] for the wealthy to pay a little bit more [in taxes].”'
    If all of the adjusted gross income of the top 1% were confiscated, it would just cancel the current deficit. If the total net worth of the top 1% were confiscated, it would only reduce the national debt by a little over a third. And that would leave the top 1% with nothing left to tax, e.g., for the following year. The only solution to the deficit and debt is: Cut spending, and cut it a lot.

  • Karl F||

    "What Did He Mean?

    Was Obama saying the owner of a business did not build his business or did not build the aforementioned “unbelievable American system” and “roads and bridges”? Under the principle of charity, I give him the benefit of the doubt, but you can decide for yourself."

    This is misleading on the part of Mr. Richman. President Obama himself answers this question a few lines down in the full text:

    "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."

    If you read the entire speech, it is clear what the President meant: "The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."

  • Marshall Gill||

    Who is this "we" you assholes keep mentioning? The productive people who were taxed at gunpoint paid for everything government does with the bureaucratic parasites taking a large cut for protection money.

    Government wastes. It rarely, if ever, creates.

  • sloopyinca||

    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.
    It was funded by government edict.
    That’s how we created the middle class. There was no middle class before America? Merchants going back centuries would be surprised to hear that.
    That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge Haha. You must be blind. It was done over the serious objections and obstruction by the government.
    or the Hoover Dam. I'll give you this one.
    That’s how we invented the Internet. Again, over the obstruction by the government.
    That’s how we sent a man to the moon. At great expense for little reward. After all, not even the mailboxes of Americans that went to the moon are safe from teenage vandals. :-O
    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."
    And compelling you to do things "together" via confiscatory tax schemes that penalize success (under threat of violence) are your means. Fuck you.

  • sloopyinca||

    What's the matter, Karl? Cat got your tongue?

  • jaydee007||

    Dear Karl,

    What did he Mean?

    Listening to his words and tone it's clear what he meant and where he was coming from.

    Obama revealed what he beleives in his heart of hearts, and his he revealed his utter resentment of the successful people in this country.

    "I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart," Obama said.

    This is the most telling line in the whole Speech/Context.

    Note he didn't say "I’m always struck by people who SAY,"
    he said, "I’m always struck by people who think,"

    In other words, it's what he thinks they are thinking. It's so totally revealing as to his underlying resentment of the successful people he constantly attacks.
    And then he ANGRILY answers them (mind you not the real them, but his imagined them) by saying, "There are a lot of smart people out there."

    Every successful person I know will state categorically that they are no smarter than anyone else. They often say "I just made better choices."

    The most successful friend I have (Who buys his Mercedes Benz on the One Payment Plan) told me that success is not brains, but Willingness. What are you willing to do to be successful. He told me once, "If you could go back to 1969 with the Idea for the Pet Rock, and showed that Idea to 1,000 people, the same guy who got rich off of the pet rock would get rich off of it anyway. Because Most People would not be WILLING to market something that stupid."

  • Killazontherun||

    Korny story, bro.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    What he meant was: everything that individuals create and build belongs to "us", the Great Collective. Therefore, "we" are entitled to seize however much of it "we" want so that "we" can "redistribute" it as "we" see fit (i.e. to friends of the political elite).

    In other words, every individual human being is the property of the Great Collective. The word you are looking for is "slave".

  • LTC(ret) John||

    And our glorious collective reply should be..."fuck off, slaver!"

  • Mr Whipple||

    What's the difference between voluntary cooperation and coercion?

  • ||

    So? Why would he bother to mention this?

    It's so that he can argue that people with sucessful businesses owe something to society and should "give back" more than they are already giving?

    But who says whether what they are already "giving back" in the form of taxes alreayd pays for everything that they have gotten from society?

    And who says that everything the taxes pay for is really necessary or helpful to businesses?

    Businesses benefit from various government services, therefore they should blindly contribute to every welfare state program that Obama thinks they should?

  • ||

    Fuck this guy. In or out of context, it makes him look like as asshole. And his fellating fans are nodding along because they are on his team.

    I'll say that last part again: They are on his team. He is not on theirs.

  • ||

    Or "an" asshole even.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    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."

    Good grief. What a heaping helping of vapid hogwash.

  • wareagle||

    never forget that liberalism cannot survive without a massively uninformed populace. That is the crowd Obama is addressing.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "That gold medal you just won- you didn't win that. A bunch of yowling bleary eyed drunks on barstools won it. You couldn't have done it without them."

  • ||

    Fuck this noise.

    What the statement did is make every small business owner look down a dark bottomless pit.

    What they heard Obama say is that he does not think what they built is theirs and therefore Obama and the federal government can do with it as they wish.

    I am also pretty sure that in at least part is what Obama meant it to say.

    Why can't columnists see that? It is like this huge blind spot for them.

  • Len Bias||

    "What they heard Obama say is that he does not think what they built is theirs and therefore Obama and the federal government can do with it as they wish."

    This, plus I think Obama also doesn't WANT would be small business owners, or anyone else, to do anything on their own.

    Pre-Obamacare, I could afford to buy relatively cheap, high-deductible insurance. Post-Obamacare I will be forced to buy very expensive insurance, and will need gov't subsidies to do so. Thus, I won't buy insurance "on my own" and without the help of government.

    "Why can't columnists see that?"

    Why are you sure they don't see this?

  • Gmason||

    It's worse than that. Because Obama does not see the government as a supporter of business, as a means to create a level playing field - he sees the role of government as deciding WHO should be successful and WHO should not, and HOW MUCH is "enough" for one person to earn.
    He envisions government as a means for "punishing our enemies, and rewarding our friends"
    His mindset is totalitarian in nature, and it's a scary thing to watch.

  • vicky||

    I have decided for myself.
    He said none of us did anything without gov help...

    He said it ... and he meant it.

    Vote Mitt Romney...

  • C. Al Currier||

    "Vote Mitt Romney..." ...vicky

    So sorry. I allways squander my POTUS vote on the BOTWP (bugs-on-the-windshield-party). I don't know why. They never lose, they get SKA-washhhh-edDD. Guess it's cuz I feel like a squashed bug myself and see the gov't as the windshield.

  • ole||

    Obama has said many things from "distribute the wealth" to Joe the Plumber to "you didn't build it". He then tries to pass it off as something more tolerable but, as you say, he truly means what he says. Or does one buy into the argument that the Harvard Law Review guy, U of Chicago Constitutional lecturer and elected representative can't handle the English language?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Voting for neither Obama or Romney... that's the way to go, vicky.

  • ole||

    One of the keys, in my view, to the tax rate debate is the failure of Obama to define what a "fair share" tax rate is. I wonder why the media is not holding his feet to the fire about this simple question. After all he raised the subject and should be able to defend his statement.

  • MoreFreedom||

    "The path to a solution is illuminated by the fact that we face a crisis not because of a failure to tax—but because of a proclivity to spend."

    Notice also that Republicans seldom talk of spending cuts either. This includes Romney who endorses the Ryan plan which doesn't balance until 2040 (which means not on my watch) and increases spending every year.

    Fiscal conservatives have a choice, two big spending statists, or Gary Johnson.

  • UneasyRider||

    No, it's not that simple. It's an extreme never seen in office before statist vs. a big spending statist vs. Gary Johnson and Johnson can't win. I guess I'd rather have a president who at least pays lip service to conservatives then one who hates them.

  • ||

    To anyone who wasn't plugging up their asshole with their own skull for the last 4 years, this shouldn't have been a controversial statement from Obama regardless of how much charity is given for "context". It's the same talking point he's been running on since 2007. It's not like it's a particularly new or exciting concept either. Hillary Clinton's "It Takes a Village" from 1996 relies on the same orthodoxy, but just narrows the subject to teh childrunz. And it wasn't fresh thinking then. This has been the narrative of central planning since Lincoln Steffens saw the future, and it worked. The only means by which anyone could have thought that Obama was anything less than enamored with central planning is willful suspension of disbelief.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Unfortunately, the President has it wrong. Small businesses are not successful because of government, they are successful despite government. Anyone who has attempted to start a small business is more than aware of all of the barriers that government places in the way of entrepreneurs in the form of: regulations, licensing, zoning, complicated tax codes, labor laws, etc.

    Most small businesses exist because of an individual's desire to serve his/her community by offering a quality good or service at a reasonable cost.

    Of course, business owners rely on others to a degree, mainly customers. That is not the issue. However, what the president doesn't seem to understand is that there is a difference between voluntary cooperation and free trade, and violent coercion and forced compliance.

    But who will build the roads? Merchants, maybe? Nah. Why would merchants build roads?

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ji.....-possible/

  • Nike air max womens||

    President Obama’s statement sure has incited controversy. His opponents, including Mitt Romney, are using it to brand Obama as—at best—out of touch and—at worst—an un-American collectivist. It’s also become the butt of jokes on the Internet.

  • ||

    Nice spam filter, Reason. It just marked my (singularity joke) reply to the (Reason approved) spambot post as spam. Either that, or it's ALREADY BEGUN.

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