You’re either missing the point or deliberately twisting his argument to the point where it’s unrecognizable. He doesn’t say that we owe everything to the government, but his point is that we owe part of our individual success to other people in our society.
Most of these people who make it in America have, at one point or another, used publicly funded roads, schools, police and fire departments, public transportation, rely on the military to keep our country safe, etc. A lot of rich people today have grown up in households that relied on government programs, such as Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment benefits, and so on.
The least they can do is pay back into the system that keeps on providing these services to other people, and give them a good chance of making it in America.
When the richest people in our society don’t pay their fair share in taxes, the burden falls on the middle class, and even then the programs that could help the poorest in our society are unsustainable.
How To Not Make It In America
I didn’t throw the pitch and I didn’t invent the game of baseball, but if I put that ball in the upper deck, you can bet the house that I’m going to run myself around the bases and collect my high fives at home plate.
Obama’s idea that we didn’t build our own businesses and we aren’t responsible for our own success is misguided. in his eyes, I’d hit the home run, allow my teammates to run the bases for me, thank the inventors of baseball once the run was scored, and no one would get a point since the opposing team was just as responsible for the score as were I and my teammates.
Look, I acknowledge that all great men stand on the shoulders of giants. No one man invented the world and cultivated it for his own gains. But progress and evolution, those are things that individuals can and should be proud about. Many tell me that the government invented the internet, and sure, to a degree I agree. But government is made of humans. Without government, those same men and women would still be able to develop the internet. To take it further, government didn’t invent the computer or the semi conductor, or silicone or metal or plastic. Government didn’t harness the power of electricity let alone invent it.
To attribute people’s success to government and to say that no one is responsible for their own success is ridiculous. That’s like saying the only reason LeBron James scores 30 points a game is because his teammates pass him the ball. Sure, as if passing the ball to just anyone is a guaranteed basket. As if LeBron didn’t have to work on his craft, as if he didn’t perfect his skills of cutting and slashing and dribbling and shooting.
Government itself does not exist. It owns nothing and can give you nothing which it does not take from others. Government funding stems directly from the people, as does government’s power. Without the private citizens and their wealth, what would government have? Without us granting government power, where would they derive it from? Without the increased success and wealth of private citizens, where would gov’t find its increased revenues?
So, yes, Mr. President, no one exists in a bubble but no, we don’t owe everything to government. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. We are all a part of a giant living organism we call society. We are all cogs, we all function together, we don’t exist in a vacuum. But it’s thanks to those that function the best and perform the hardest that we advance and progress. And it’s thanks to these men and women that we invent new and better ways to do things so other brilliant and hard working men and women down the line can start in a better place and guide us even further into the future.
If it weren’t for the efforts of these individuals, there’s a chance we’d all seize to exist. There’s a chance that without the applied genius of the few, the many would vanish. Slowly or quickly, that’s just the technicality, the truth is we’d either be wiped out from the face of the Earth or live in a primitive society, no more relevant than a blade of grass.
If you begin to belittle the idea of progress and individual achievement and look to shun and even punish, through taxation, the efforts of the few who are capable or willing or both, then you are chopping down the tree of civilization from the roots.
I’m not missing his point. His point is that we all owe it to gov’t for helping us get there. We don’t. Gov’t doesn’t do anything for us which we couldn’t do ourselves. People and their ideas exist without gov’t, gov’t doesn’t exist without us and our ideas.
The wealthy people in this country pay plenty into the system. Yes, they control money but they also pay it. 47% of this country doesn’t even pay income tax, some even get money back which they didn’t pay.
They enjoy the roads and schools thanks to the billions of tax dollars paid in by the 1% of this country, not despite them. Obama criticize Romney (who I’d never vote for) only paying 15% of his income in taxes. What he doesn’t tell you is that Romney paid 15% of $21 million. 21,000,000. That’s over $3 million dollars in taxes paid by one single individual (and he donated another $4 million to charity). That’s more income tax paid in a single year than the average person would pay in a lifetime. Not only did he pay his “Fair” share, he paid the fair share of a 50 or so individuals who have never paid income taxes in their lives.
The problem with Obama is that he believes in finite success and finite wealth. He thinks that you must take from one person in order to give to another. He doesn’t believe that people can create wealth for their own and that one person’s success is due to the failure of others. This is why he thinks “you didn’t build that [business] Somebody else did.”
He genuinely believes this. This isn’t a misquote, this is a speech that’s been authored and reviewed by a dozen advisers. What came out is what he meant. He can try to backtrack all he wants once the public is upset, but this is Obama’s fundamental belief. It has been since he got into office. He’s not trying to help us all succeed, he’s trying to get us to share what we already have. He doesn’t want us to order more pizza, he wants us to cut up the one we have into more slices.
My question to you is how much in income taxes have you paid, in total, over the course of your entire life.
Let me guess, libertarian?
I live in a European country, where people don’t have a problem with paying more in taxes to provide for people who, for whatever reason, can’t afford to live a decent life. This, in America, is worthy of evil branding like socialism, or even communism (used by those who don’t even understand what these terms mean).
Again, Obama’s point is not that the government is responsible for all of our success, but that we have all relied on government programs that we, the people, funded in the first place, to get to where we’re at today. He’s not glorifying the government, he’s glorifying those who paid taxes to keep these programs alive.
When you pay money in taxes, that goes back into your society: funding education, the military, the police, fire departments, roads, public transportation, welfare programs, which are ultimately used by you and the people in your society.
I’d like to think that a guy that makes $21 million a year wouldn’t mind paying 15% of it so that some people can have a shelter, or have something to eat tomorrow. We live in a civilized world, not in Darwinian society where if you can’t pay for your food, home, or medicine, you’re left to die.
I don’t do labels much. I’m more of an anarcho-capitalist, I guess, if you want to play the label thing.
And it’s cool to assume I know nothing of communism, but my family moved to America from the USSR.
Yes, we depend on those that came before us but we advance due to the brilliance of those that work hard in the present.
As for taxation, let me know how that’s working out for you. Europe has crumbled into a heap under the extravagant weight of the unrealistic riches promised to the people by gov’t. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone has to pay for it. If you think the method by which people advance is by taking from others, you’re ignorant. That’s the concept that’s inline with imperialism and pirates. Capitalism believes that wealth can be created so long as people are willing to create. The politicians of the world believe that wealth must be redistributed, hand cuffing us all.
Government doesn’t sit there and try to figure out how to maximize the benefits of the people, they try to figure out how to maximize “revenues”. As if tax dollars are earned, not taken.
The right to property is freedom. The right to choose is freedom. The right to tax is theft. The power to tax is the power to destroy.
I’m not here to promote Social Darwinism, i’m not here to say “I got mine, fuck you”. I think that we have a duty to look out for our fellow man. We have a duty to help others. Treat them like we’d want to be treated. I also don’t think anyone can have a claim on my property without my permission. You can’t take what I earn simply because “it’s fair”. That’s not freedom, that’s enslavement. Man has the right to choose what his actions are. If we choose to live isolated, uncharitable lives, then we are all surely going to die miserable deaths.
If we help others better themselves, we also better ourselves and our situation. It’s mutually beneficial. But I don’t think that choice should be made for us. We should decide. And more importantly, we should force people to comply, we should educate and teach them as to why complying is beneficial for them and for all.
Laws don’t correct morality, only people can correct that. It’s illegal to kill but people still kill. You don’t choose to obey the law simply because the law exists. You do it because it is morally correct to you.
You can’t fix the flaws of society through taxation. You have to help them change their paradigm.
But that’s something Statists don’t comprehend. They think that gov’t force is the only way to do things. “Who will build the roads!” “Who will fight the wars!” “Who will grow the crops!” Private citizens built roads before gov’t and they still do (have you heard of gated communities and HOA fees?) Who is be our military? We fought the greatest revolutionary war the world has ever seen in 1776 and we didn’t have an established gov’t or full scale military. Private citizens took arms to defend what was theirs. Impossible, right?