No Thanks to the Government

Very recently, the President said the following: 

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

I don’t know about you but I couldn’t disagree more with his flawed premise.  He believes, as many on the left do, that only with government help will someone succeed.  As far as I’m concerned, he couldn’t be more wrong than if he had said the earth was flat.

Studies have shown that something as simple as sitting down and having dinner as a family contributes to a person’s success in later life – and that has nothing to do with government.

Ever since Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” took hold, our government has spent trillions trying to rid this country of poverty.  But instead, we have an increase in poverty, due in part to the increase in out-of-wedlock births, we have fewer and fewer people working, and only 50% of people actually pay federal income tax, yet boast about their “tax refund” which is nothing more than “welfare” in the guise of “tax credits.”  Unemployment remains over 8% and fewer people have incentive to work when they are given the option of receiving long-term unemployment benefits.  All this from the helping hand of government.  This is what President Obama’s society looks like.

Perhaps in the President’s little affirmative action world, he was helped along the way and that’s how his vision of America has been skewed.  But that’s not how I view America nor is it the way many others do who have shed their blood, sweat and tears to get where they are today.

I’ll admit it.  I have a comfortable life but I was certainly not born with a silver spoon in my mouth.  What I have accomplished in my life is based solely on who I am and my determination to succeed.

I went to a vocational high school and was expected to work immediately upon graduation.  Instead, I chose to attend a community college.  After using up my meager summer savings on my first semester of college and books, I had very little left over and resorted to “stealing” two quarters from my father’s coin jar for my daily subway ride.  After a couple of weeks, when my father realized it wasn’t my brother who stole the quarters but that I was the culprit, I got a job at Macy’s two nights a week and all day Saturday and earned about $22 a week which was enough to get me to and from college.  When Macy’s wanted me to join a union, I said “no” and found a better-paying job in downtown Manhattan working for an attorney.

When I moved to Los Angeles, I immediately found work and after a couple of years I went to law school at night.  At the time, I juggled a home, a husband, a full-time job and three nights of law school which required at least another dozen hours of study over the weekend.  I paid for my own law school education with monthly payments, not even knowing there was such a thing as student loans. My name appears as co-Editor-in-Chief of my school’s Law Review and my name appears on a published Law Review article.   I studied for and passed the bar exam in California and it was I who studied years later to take and pass the bar exam in Washington.

Yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some supportive people around me.  And, yes, my story is not unique.  Millions of people have similar life stories.

But for Mr. Obama to even suggest that roads and bridges, built with my tax dollars, some how contributed to my “success,” is just ludicrous.  Does Mr. Obama suggest that there were no successful people before roads were paved and bridges were built?  Hard work and perseverance has always been what creates success in this country.  Too many people choose to take the easy way out.

There are millions of individuals who have no desire to work or to do what’s necessary to succeed.  These are the people Mr. Obama is speaking to because, as long as he continues to hand out money to those that would prefer to settle for a paltry amount from the government, he and the left remain in power.

His twisted logic is that my hard work, my stick-to-it-tiveness, my perseverance, and my determination had nothing to do with my success in life.

If I’m going to thank anyone, it would be God who allowed me to be born in this great Nation.  And it was God who gave me the fortitude and strength to do what was necessary to achieve what I have today – not the government.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • Chief98110

    From time to time, Obama reveals who he really is and how he thinks.
    This latest statement by Mr. O clearly shows his belief that we should
    all just get government jobs like him. He has absolutely no
    understanding of what it takes to create or run a business. I imagine
    that after his hard work securing student loans and benefiting from
    affirmative action, his graduation from law school and into the real
    world came as quite a shock. This I note from his very brief stint in a
    private sector law firm because they expect you to actually work and
    produce billable hours.
    So, he turned to a government sponsored
    position as a community organizer (whatever that is) and continued to
    suck off the taxpayer.
    Yes, Mr O simply can’t understand why we all don’t get jobs in government just like him!

  • Roger Ward

    I (we) paid for the roads and bridges and everything else.   Government never paid for or created anything.  The only thing government did was to take our tax money, use a large part of it for their own inefficient overhead, and inequitably redistribute the remainder. 

    And another thing:  Obama’s remarks were not “taken out of context”;  they were precisely said …. and taken in the context which he stated and intended.

  • cmacrider

    Leona:  I have no doubt that YOUR success is attributable to YOUR perseverance. What seems to go unstated is  the fundamental nature of the American “social contract”  (to borrow from Rousseau). 

     Let us take your case as a microcosm of the “social contract” in action.  The society said as a society operating under the Rule of Law  “we will need lawyers and therefore we will build a law school.”   Society then said to you … if you have the intellectual capacity and are prepared to work hard and sacrifice … and if you pass your law exams and bar admission … we will give you a license to practice law.   That was the “social contract.”  There was no implied term that if you performed your side of the bargain you would somehow be forever beholden to society at large … nor was there any implied term that if you performed your side of the bargain you were not entitled to take personal credit for your success.    If it were otherwise …. presumably you would not be free to quit practicing law … retire … or move to another country without the consent of the government. Incidentally it seems that Khrushchev viewed the social contract differently.  When asked why it was necessary to have the Berlin wall and why the Soviets wouldn’t allow free and open immigration …. Khrushchev responded …. we don’t allow them to leave because we have expended a lot of public funds on their education.  And Khrushchev’s position is the logical extension of Obama’s ill conceived idea that “you didn’t build it on your own.”  Apparently Obama hasn’t read de Tocqueville and his exquisite description of the very unique and fundamental nature of the social contract which Americans created for themselves.  … and as a Canadian I might add that it has worked rather well for Americans for the last 200 years without the necessity of Obama’s illiterate  input.     

  • Artlouis

    I have had trouble wrapping my mind around his comments (which, incidentally, were pretty much lifted from comments made weeks ago by Elizabeth Warren, the MA senate candidate). OK, I will concede that many of us have had help along the way (although the roads and bridges remark is just silly).  But then, what is the other shoe? Should we give half our earnings to the aunt who gave us the inspirational book? Or to the great teacher? I would like him to spell out what type of behavior he thinks must follow from what he is telling us. Collectivism? Maybe that’s it, but I wish he wouldn’t be shy about telling us. 

  • DanB_Tiffin

    This is simply his rationalization (as in an alcoholic ‘rationalizing’ his drinking) for higher taxes on small business, along with higher taxes on the ‘rich’ folks.

  • Teddi

    Did you hear the new ad that was released where the President said his comments were “taken out of context?”  If you go back and compare his statements in the ad to his original speech, it is very clear what he said.  There was not misunderstanding of the context.  He pointblank said to small business owners, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”  Not only were the original comments insulting and out of line, but the attempt to back out of those comments is just a slap in the face to business owners and the American people.  He must really think we are stupid to not see what is going on.

  • GlenFS

    In whatever context applied to these remarks, it boils down to: “we accomplished it with you and you owe the rest of us according to our demands in order to share in your success”.  Like any marxist logic, it’s very flawed and only makes sense to another marxist or one who hopes to recieve their “fair share”.

  • Ron F

    I think what the President was trying to say, not very artfully, is similar to what John Donne said, “No man is an island”.  The part that he omitted was, that although government may have built the highway system, provided the national defense, enforced the laws that protect the business and provided education to some, it wasn’t a gift.  The items that he was referring to are items provided by government for the common good and paid for by all of us and benefit all of us.  The business owner, with the rest of us, paid for it through taxes.  The business owner wasn’t a free loader.  More importantly, it wasn’t government that created the business or the idea for the business.   If so, why didn’t someone else do it?

    • cmacrider

      But Ron … I was lead to understand that Obama oratorical skills and incisive mind was unrivaled in the annals of mankind and transformed people like Churchill and Lincoln  into babbling idiots.   How could God’s gift to the oratorical world possibly say something which was “not very artful?”  

      • Ron F

        I don’t know of anyone who thinks President Obama has great oratorical skill when he speaks freely and is not using the teleprompter.  I do believe that when he said ” If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that”, he was referring to the infrastructure not the business.  The problem with his logic is that it was not paid for by someone else, it was paid for by all taxpayers including the business owner.  I agree that he was using the argument for higher taxes.  By that standard, people going to public schools should pay higher taxes as well.

        • Roger Ward

          Ron,  it’s true that no man is an island …. but every man has a peninsula.