Here’s a point not being raised: Let’s bypass the debate about taking President Obama’s “You didn’t build that [business], someone else made that happen” comment in context and grant the Left’s ostensible meaning in context. Basically, it’s this: No single person deserves all the glory, laud, honor . . . and/or, money for their hard work in starting a business. No one is solely responsible for starting their business. If they think they started it with their smarts, well, they needed to be educated by teachers in the first place. If they think they are extraordinarily creative at marketing, thereby bringing customers to their locale rather than another, well, those customers could only get there on public roads that we all pay for. Or, if the business does not need roads but earns money online, a la Amazon, well, the proprietor “didn’t invent the internet, government research did so that all the companies could make money off the internet.” Thus, since the creation of the citizen’s business was a joint societal endeavor, requiring all of our help in some way or another, this means, per Obama and the left, that the business owner doesn’t deserve all the credit. We share the credit. We share the praise. It isn’t laid all at the feet of the business owner. We share the profit, which is done, in part, on the business owner’s end, by his paying higher taxes. You know, giving back.
So construed, Obama and the left cannot take issue with the above presentation of his comments. In fact, the above reading is supported by Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor who will be introducing President Clinton at this year’s Democratic National Convention. Here’s what Warren said:
“You built a factory out there? Good for you,” . . .But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.” She went on to say people who build factories should be able to “keep a big hunk” of wealth, but should also pay a hunk in taxes.
Now, leaving aside comments on imprecision and opacity of terms like “big hunk” and “hunk,” I could multiply quotes supporting of my read. So we can all agree I’ve presented Obama’s statements “in context.”
Here’s the upshot: The Obama campaign, his PACs, and various supportive politainment shows (e.g., Bill Maher’s, Rachel Maddow’s, Chris Hanson’s, Lawrence O’Donnell’s, etc.) frequently lambast Mitt Romney for his business practices at Bain Capital, even going so far as to suggest a causal link between Romney’s actions at Bain and a woman’s death from cancer. Now, these allegations have been judged false, but that’s not my point. My point is this: Obama and his various supporters want to play the Borg civilization card when it comes to the praise and reward a citizen should get for the successes of his business, okay fine, but then why do they want to place complete and full individual blame on evil rich people for what are taken to be the unsavory consequences of the business owner’s work? Why don’t the roads, bridges, teachers, tax payers, and “government research” likewise share the blame for, say, Mrs. Sestak’s death? Why don’t they say of Wall Street, “You think your investments are so smart? Well, you needed teachers, didn’t you? How did you get to work? By New York bridges, tunnels, and subways? And how did you contact your marks? Perhaps by using the internet or the U.S. Mail? You didn’t scam or invest that, someone else made that happen.”
So how does the Obama campaign and its supporters justify this unfair double standard? Why the asymmetry? Why don’t individuals get all the praise or reward but they do get all blame and punishments? If you agree with the injustness of the asymmetry and you’re a liberal, that’s consistent—but now you must really scale back the criticisms of Romney’s business practices in so far as they’re directed solely at Romney, which, to date, they have been. This means Obama, government, and Mrs. Hall, your 5th grade teacher, gets some blame too. Sound . . . fair?