"If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?" — Frédéric Bastiat (The Law)
It is a lie premised on Marxism. It really is. It is not hyperbole to say it. Prior to Marx, people did not think of economics as class divided and did not think of the collective overriding the individual. Certainly the thinking was there sociologically, but not crystalized in economics. In my recent posts regarding the economic philosophies of Frederic Bastiat and other clear thinking economists I covered this issue in great detail. Class warfare does not create jobs or grow an economy. On the contrary it brings it down to a government imposed tyranny.
As Daniel Henninger noted in the Wall Street Journal recently, “There is no theory anywhere in non-Marxist economics that says growth’s primary engine is a social class. A middle class is the result of growth, not its cause. Barack Obama not only believes in class-based growth but has built his whole growth strategy around it.”
Thus we arrive at President Obama’s very troubling statement in Roanoke on Friday. He told the crowd:
“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.”
This begs the question: does the President think government policies got him where he is?
The implication of Barack Obama’s statement is that we owe something to the government. The implication is that people succeed because of the collective conducting its actions via government. Most entrepreneurs would tell you they succeed in spite of the government. Barack Obama views it differently.
He clearly believes we all owe our success to government.
Does he not attribute his success to his parents and, more particularly, his grandparents? What about teachers at his private school? Or was it government policies?
Few people would ever acknowledge it. Most people know intrinsically that it was, contrary to what the President believes, their hard work and ideas that got them were they were. No one denies that others played roles in their lives, but the people who played roles were, in fact, people. Mentorship and obtaining assistance and guidance depends on two factors and two factors only. One is that person “A” the person wishing to learn and be mentored must seek out and convince person “B” the mentor that he or she is worthy of person B’s time and effort and is willing to provide some value to person “B”. Second person “B”, the mentor or teacher, must want see a value in person “A” worthy of his or her time and effort. This is an arrangement between two people — government or the collective have no role to play in this process.
The President clearly believes that individuals give back to society by paying into government. But people give back all the time through volunteerism, charitable contributions, raising families, and their own individual work product. Government’s whole responsibility is protect your rights and allow you to live in a free society where you can pursue life, liberty, and happiness. This means you are free to succeed and you are free to fail. It’s up to you, not some mastermind in Washington, D.C.
No one denies there is a role government plays, but most people — the President notwithstanding — are more likely to view their lives as their lives, not the government’s. They view their accomplishments as their accomplishments while acknowledging others who helped them.
The President seems to have taken Oscar acceptance speeches literally. Everyone thanks their agents, parents, directors, etc. But it was the actor’s hard work that won them the award. The President seems to think the Oscar needs to be chopped into bits and divided between everyone who played a role or, better yet, handed over to the government to be redistributed.
Henry Ford did not rely on the government. The first roads built in the nation were roads built of necessity, not by government. Many were toll roads built by private persons or companies. When more and more roads were built cities and counties used the money from property taxes to fund them just as they use property taxes to maintain other city services. When the Interstate Highway System was built it was funded through the collection gas taxes, license, and other user fees — all paid by those who used the roads.
The Model-T, the airplane, or the electric light bulb did not come out of DARPA, but a man’s mind. And that man then put his idea to work, employing other people, who made and sold a product, generated a profit, and paid taxes into the system.
President Obama believes the rich should pay more in taxes because, in his mind, they have benefited more from society. The reality is the opposite. Society has benefited because of these people. They have profited not by pillaging society, but by providing good to society. They have given back.
Throughout human history, the pattern repeats itself — men live in squalor and government is corrupt. Good society does not come from good government, but that is the essence of what Barack Obama is saying. He reflects the elite in Washington, DC. He wants individuals to give to government so, as he has practiced, government can give to its choice of winners and losers, with the winners being campaign donors. This is nothing more than legal plunder.
Barack Obama’s statement, in fact his whole campaign speech in Roanoke, suggests good society is derived from good government. Truthfully, it is that good government is derived from a good society — our Founders believed this and crafted a form of government to allow society to be free from a tyrannical government of masterminds and those who express that they know what is best for us. As I mentioned above governments sole purpose is to protect our natural and God given rights and defend our shores. It is not to find us a job, educate, feed, or cloth us. This is pure Marxist thinking that has resulted in tyrannical government after tyrannical government — and all have eventually failed.
History shows us that the best societies, generating the best governments, are those societies that value private property. Societies founded on a private property rights are far more stable than others. (See: What Separates the Rich from the Poor) What Barack Obama suggests when he says, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” is that you owe more than your exchange of your private property to another for them building your business — you owe government too.
And the net conclusion is the most dangerous bit of government — allowing government, via politicians; to decide what more you must be forced to exchange.
Barack Obama wants to be the arbiter of fairness. And no society long remains either moral or uncorrupt when it lets its leaders arbitrate fairness. They might decide fairness means giving money to Solyndra, General Motors, or some other business or faction drawing favor from the government at the expense of others. In essence this is government plunder of the first class.
Just like the good old apparatchiks of the Former Soviet Union the Obamas have a predilection for luxury travel; Barack Obama has an addiction to golf and enjoys pick- up basketball games — sometimes with NBA stars; Obama spends more time fundraising than he does dealing with Congress to solve our problems, or so it seems; Obama has turned the East Room of the White House into his own private nightclub and has said that "we never need an excuse for a good party."
All the while Barack Obama preaches shared sacrifice and hectors people not to take vacations to Las Vegas or buy SUVs, millions of taxpayers struggle to pay their household bills.
Is it fair that after the first three years of the Obama presidency, the poor are poorer, the poverty rate is rising, the middle class is losing income, and millions of fewer Americans have jobs today than on the day he took office.
Is it fair that his daughters get to attend a fancy private school (he admits their future is now assured) but he deprived other children in Washington, D.C. of brighter prospects by killing the voucher program in Washington, D.C., to serve the interests of the teachers unions instead of the children ?
The President should now answer, based on his own statements, the simple question — is he the product of government policies or a life of his own making and interactions with others?
Exit question: does the President regret going to private schools?