This week, President Obama spelled out just how much he hates American business in an off-prompter moment in Roanoke, Va. If "you've been successful," said Obama, "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 here. 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."
So, according to Obama, it wasn't your brains or your work ethic that made you successful. What was it? Obama continued: "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."
In other words, the government did it.
Now, if Obama were merely saying that without roads and bridges it would be more difficult for businesses to function, he'd be right. If he were saying that we all need great teachers, he'd be right. If he were saying that businesses require a law and order society to thrive, he'd be right, too.
But he wasn't saying any of that. Because if he were saying that, we'd all presumably earn about the same amount of money. We'd have the same amount of success. After all, we already pay trillions to guarantee decent teachers for our students, good police and firefighting forces, and decent roads.
And yet we don't. Some of us are more successful than others. So if that inequality still exists, despite government providing for basic communal needs -- and if inequality can't be explained by personal decision making -- then something else is needed.
This is the philosophy that underlies Obama-ism. We shouldn't be proud of our success, says Obama; it's not our success at all. We didn't build it. All success is reliant on the helping hand of government. If you have liberties that allowed you to create a company, that's the largesse of the government, not some innate human right. If you have freedoms that allowed you to make the most of your abilities, that's thanks to the government, not thanks to your own choices.
And if there's inequality, that, too, is thanks to the government. The government is a cruel master -- it taketh, and it giveth away. According to Obama, it's the government's job to balance individual success and collective needs. If there's inequality, that's a clear indicator that government just isn't doing enough.
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