Obama Believes Success Is a Gift From Government

Perhaps the rain made the teleprompter unreadable. That’s one thought I had on pondering Barack Obama’s comments to a rain-soaked rally in Roanoke, Va., last Friday.

Perhaps he didn’t really mean what he said. Or perhaps — as is often the case with people — when unanchored from a prepared text he revealed what he really thinks.

“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back,” he began, defending his policy of higher tax rates on high earners. “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.”

In other words, Steve Jobs didn’t make Apple happen. It was the work of a teacher union member — er, great teacher — and the government agencies that paved I-280 and El Camino Real that made Apple happen.

High earners don’t deserve the money they make, Obama apparently thinks. It’s the gift of government, and they shouldn’t begrudge handing more of it back to government.

And that’s true, as he told Charlie Gibson of ABC News in 2008, even if those higher tax rates produce less revenue for the government, as has been the case with rate increases on capital gains. The government should take away the money as a matter of “fairness.”

The cynical might dismiss Obama’s preoccupation with higher tax rates as an instance of a candidate dwelling on one of his few proposals that tests well in the polls. Certainly he doesn’t want to talk much about Obamacare or the stimulus package.

Cynics might note that he spurned super-committee Republicans’ willingness last year to reduce tax deductions so as to actually increase revenue from high earners, without discouraging investment or encouraging tax avoidance as higher tax rates do.

But maybe Obama’s Captain-Ahab-like pursuit of higher tax rates just comes from a sense that no one earns success and that there’s no connection between effort and reward.

That kind of thinking also helps to explain the approach taken by Sen. Patty Murray in a speech at the Brookings Institution Monday. She wants a tax rate increase on high earners so badly she said she’d prefer raising everyone’s taxes next year to maintaining current rates.

Murray was first elected in 1992 as a state legislator who had been dismissed by a lobbyist as “just a mom in tennis shoes.” But in 20 years she’s become an accomplished appropriator and earmarker.

“Do no harm,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told members of Congress at a hearing yesterday, urging them to avoid the sharp spending cuts and tax rate increases scheduled for year’s end.

But Murray is threatening to do exactly that kind of harm. Those prattling about how irresponsible Republicans are might want to ponder her threat.

And to consider that Republicans remember what happened to the last Republican who agreed to such rate increases, George H.W. Bush in 1990. Seeking re-election in 1992, he won only 37 percent of the vote. Republicans won’t risk that again.

The Obama Democrats seem to believe that there’s no downside risk in threatening huge tax increases for everyone and in asserting that if you’re successful “someone else made that happen.”

But The Wall Street Journal’s Catherine McCain Nelson reported yesterday how affluent Denver suburbanites have soured on Obama. Obama tied John McCain 49 to 49 percent among voters over $100,000 income in 2008, but in NBC/WSJ polls this year they’ve favored Mitt Romney 50 to 44 percent.

Affluent voters trended Democratic over two decades on cultural issues. But economic issues dominate this year, and they may not appreciate Obama’s assertion that they don’t deserve what they’ve earned.

Author Bio:

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.
Author website: http://www.bernardgoldberg.com
  • Bob Hadley

    James King,

    My response to your post below is Very Good!  Finally someone addresses the issue without attacking a staw man or pursuong a Red Herring. 

    Apparently you disagree with the U. S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power to, among other things, regulate commerce, promotes science and useful arts, coin money and establish post offices.  Would you advocate a constitutional amendment deprivng Congress of these powers?

    Who should build roads, highways, bridges, sewer systems and waterways?  Should the government protect us from quacks who pretend to be various professionals (doctors, dentists, etc.) and contractors?  What about impurities in our medications, food, water and air?

    Should the government make an effort to give its citizenry a basic education in the three R’s, science, civics, American history and critical thought?  If not, i guess you advocate a constitutional amendment against guaranteeing virtually every adult citizen the vote?

    Remember, I asked what is the role of any government – federal, state and local – in our socierty.

    • James King

      Bob, the role of government is the same for all, unless it is changed through legislation. I do not disagree with the Constitution, but politician’s have for more than 100 years. One of these instances is the power to “coin” money, not to print money, or to create money by fiat. I do not advocate an Amendment to deprive Congress of these powers. I only ask that they do not make “rights” for themselves to violate the Constitution.

      The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate commerce. It does not give them the right to use that part of the document to invent “commerce” where no commerce exists. And no where does it require American’s to buy anything.

      Our current system is that government builds roads, but that is not provided in the Constitution. Only Post Roads. And if you want a moral government, i.e., one that protects from acts of physical aggression, it is not the role of government to protect us from quacks except in the court system. Military, police, and courts. Nothing more.

      Education is not provided for in the Constitution as this is not a proper role of government. This is the role for parents. The only reason the system is set up as it is is to profit politician’s by using feel-good language. As for citizens voting, well, they do have that right.

      But we would be better off if some of them didn’t vote. Government schools are for turning out useful idiots. Remember that phrase? This is accomplished by government collusion with unions. Collective bargaining is immoral, because it confers collective rights. Only individuals have rights. Collective rights is good for self-serving politican’s who pander to an ill-informed electorate. And if you bring up the so-called Sweat Shops, they produced better living for millions without the use of force.

      Bob, you honor and are for force. Government has a monopoly on the use of physical force and you are for it. So also is anyone who supports unions, collective bargaining, government schools, etc. Government has no right to force government schools on anyone, and they are only for the benefit of those in power and unions.

      Only laissez fair capitalism does not use force. Every other economic and governmental system uses force. Those who support it support force. Unless it is in an area you don’t like such as the invasion of Iraq. When you did not support that immoral action you were right. When you support the collective over the indivual you are wrong, and no amount of feel-good or feel-bad language can make that statement not so.

      Once again, the role of government in a moral society is protection from physical force and nothing more.

      • Bob Hadley

        “The moral government protects citizens and does nothing more. This is through a military, a court system and police, to protect individual citizens from physical acts of aggression.
        “That’s it. ”

        Mr. King,

        At the risk of being disrespectful, with no more than the education I received from government schools (K – 12), I can see that you’re projecting your own contradictory ideas onto the COTUS.  First you say that any government consist of no more than a military, law enforcement and a court system.

        Presumably the court system would be confined to criminal actions.  Under your concept of government, there’d be no civil system.  If someone irresponsibly breached a contract costing the other parties a lot of money, for example, there’s be no legal remedy under government as set forth in your post below.

        Then, above you say that you don’t oppose the COTUS and you admit that the COTUS grants Congress the power to regulate commerce and coin money.  It’s interesting that you did not admit that the COTUS grants Congress the power to promote science and useful arts.

        So what is your real view?  Should all governments, in opposition to the COTUS be restricted to military, law enforcement and courts?  Or should government have other roles in addition to those basic functions? 

        You need to carefully read the COTUS.  It deals almost exclusively with the federal government.  Whatever powers are not granted the feds are reserved for the states and for individuals.

        As I said previously, our interpretation of the COTUS and a dollar will buy us a cup of coffee.  The SCOTUS is the final arbiter of what the constitution says. 

        I learned a lot in government schools – K-12.  Without that education, I wouldn’t be able to participate in our body politic nearly as well.  I was also lucky to have two active parents who were enlightened and politically astute, so I’d be able to contribute to this country even without government schools.  But unfortunately there are multitudes who are not so lucky.

        For example, in 7th grade we learned the difference between an opinion and a statement of fact.  In 8th grade we learned about the different propaganda techniques and had to find examples of these different techniques in newspapers and magazines.  In high school we learned to distinguish between intelligent generalizations and prejudice.  We also learned American history and about the COTUS.  We were forced to think critically, independent of pre-conceived notions. 

        I didn’t learn how to type in government schools, however.  :)

        I asume all my teachers were in the union.  The public school teachers’ union is prominenmt in Hawaii.   Sometimes they had difficulty in contract negotiations and occassionally strikes were discussed in the news.   But we never heard about the unions from our teachers.

        • James King

          I did not say the courts would be confined to criminal actions. A moral government is only a policeman of sorts, and protects citizens from physical force. This includes many things, including fraud. And I just did not include science and arts. I am for the Constitution and against all who do not support it, and that includes you.

          Also, you and others say that SCOTUS is the final arbiter of what the Constitution says.  Marshall said in Marbury that it is the job of the court to say what the law is and that has been the status quo since. Marshall was wrong, and I have never read words in the Constitution that grants SCOTUS the right to “interpret” the Constitution.

          It is my view that the Constitution means what it says and nothing more. An example: There is no mention of abortion in the Constitution so the document does not make it constitutional.

          Courts have repeatedly made mistakes in violating the Constitution.

          I learned some in public school, but nothing compared to reading books on my own. For instance: The schools I went to never mentioned the action by FDR in putting American citizens in guarded camps. I learned it by reading on my own. I have also read the Constitution many times, including books about the Constitution. It was almost a perfect document for a new nation, but there sure is no mention of government schools, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaide, etc.

          Beginning with Woodrow Wilson and the action of changing how Senators are selected, Income Tax, to Barack Obama’s creepiness and all the rest inbetween, and yes, I said ALL, politicians have put their own interests above that of the nation. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution they swore to uphold. And they have done this with the help of liberals and conservatives. America is dead because of all of you, and it will not be revived. Even with the defeat of Obama. It’s too late.

          One last thought if you read this far, is a question and then an answer. Do you believe America is a democracy? Much of our education community, TV & radio, and pols of all political stripes believe this. If you are one of them, you, and they, are wrong.

          We do not say, “and to the democracy” when we recite the Pledge. A democracy is all about majority rule. Many people believe majority rule is a good thing. It is not, and the founders went to great  pains to create a constitutional republic, not a democracy. The Constitution has several areas to keep America from being a democracy, beginning with the Electoral College. If we were an actual democracy, Al Gore would have won, not George Bush, who was illegally selected by SCOTUS. But I do know that many government schools do teach that we are a democracy.

          I am only an enemy to those of you who want an immoral government and can’t seem to get it that violating the Constitution with feel-good/feel-bad language is not the way to go. But it is the way we have gone for too long, and I believe it is too late to save America.

          • Bob Hadley

            With all due respect, it seems that you read about the COTUS  and American history even more selectively than you do my responses to your posts.  The COTUS clearly doesn’t restrict government to a military, law enforcement and the courts, even if you construe “police power” as liberally as do the courts.

            The COTUS gives broad powers to the state governments in sweeping language.

            You either disagree with the COTUS or you disagree with yourself.

            As for whether this country is a Republic or a Democracy, we have already had that back-and-forth elsewhere on this website.  I told you that our original COTUS created a democratic republic.  You are correct that the original COTUS created a balance between the branches of government and the electorate.  Don’t liberals prefer keeping this balance?

            Subsequent amendments to the COTUS – enacted as provided by the original COTUS – have made this Republic even more democratic.  These amendments are much a part of the COTUS as the original provisions.  If you don’t like these amendments, then your beef is partially with the original COTUS.

            You might read The Federalist Papers, I think The Federalist No. 10 should be particularly helpful to you.

            BTW, you do realize that the original Pledge of Allegiannce was crafted by a socialist?

            Pursuant to the COTUS, the federal court shall pass on constitutional issues.  Check Article III, Section 2.  Marbury v. Madison, stated that the federal courts could decide on the constitutionality of a law enacted by a co-equal branch of government, i.e. Congress.  But the SCOTUS had the right to rule as it did in Madison pursuant to the COTUS.

            Apparently if you had YOUR way, the SCOTUS would not have been able to rule on Obamacare or any other laws enacted by Congress.

            Again, according to the COTUS, only the courts can officially decide what is and what is not constitutional.  Remember, your reality is not the reality created by the COTUS

            BTW, you do realize that our founders fought like cats and dogs at the constitutional convention, and that the end product (i.e. the COTUS) was a compromise?

  • rlpincus

    First off, Michael, that teleprompter joke was hilarious.  I mean I’ve heard corollaries of it for four years now and it still just cracks me up.  Man, you are funny. 

    The rest? Well I for one am happy conservatives are finally speaking out against the social contract.  It, like the rest of liberalism is evil and has prevented people with a lot of time on their hands from buying shell companies in the Cayman Islands.  Hopefully, sharp columns like Mike’s here will unleash some more of that inner capitalist mojo that makes the world go round.

    • James King

      Capitalism is indeed the mojo that makes the world go round, but only, completely, if it is laissez faire capitalism. The reason this is so is because laissez faire is the only system that does not employ the use of force in any way. And conservatives, like liberals, have worked for 100 years to find various means of the use of force.

      While I had not planned to say this it brings up another point. When you do not support laissez faire you announce that you think something, and it may be tiny, is wrong with “let it be free” capitalism. In the past this has included all Democrats, and nearly all Republicans. “Let it be free” is the answer to the world in economics and government, and that bans the use of force. It does allow, however, the right to RESPOND to force.

      This is a simple, easy to understand idea, and I wonder if you support it.

      • rlpincus

         I appreciate your thoughts, but the main problem is that although you may be right, the barn door has been open for way too long to make a difference.  I believe the world has entered a new phase of government driven capitalism–just check the Forbes 500 for government owned business.  The new form demands changes which we are slow to grasp.  Whether it’s good or whether I support it is secondary to the fact that it is successfully happening now.

  • James King

    Obama is no different from Marx, Engles, Rivera, and Castro. Given enough power they would take all income for the government. If Republicans do not refuse to allow legislation to raise the debt ceiling you might as well get ready to electronically have your check handed over to government and live on what they will allow you to have. That is their goal, and all who choose to poo-poo this message will learn their fate when the current president is re-elected. This will happen because of an ill-informed electroate and news media.

    Americans need to learn what the function of a proper government of free people should be, and unless it exists freedom will not exist. A moral government is to protect citizens from physical aggression from aborad and from within. Nothing else. And regardless of how much a person might FEEL, for example, that there needs to be a safety net for some people, that is not part of the role of government.

    The only economic system that is moral is laissez faire capitalism, because it is the only system that does not use force. A moral government does not use force. It may only respond to force, but it may not initiate it, and money extracted from citizens for any reason other than protection is an immoral action of force.

  • EddieD_Boston

    One of the stupidest things ever uttered. Jerry Spinger Nation buys his argument but even clueless liberal elites grasp how foolish that statement was.

    Obama is his own worst enemy and seems to be imploding before our eyes. I sometimes think these statements are out of frustration with his inability to do anything right.

    He came into the presidency a gooey-headed liberal and economic statistics are telling him how out of touch gooey-headed liberalism is with reality.

  • http://thecaptiansquarters.blogspot.com/ Capt-Dax

    The mask is fully off.

    Barack Obama is the most corrupt, power-mad politician in this nation’s illustrious history. 

    By his actions in bypassing Congress and making appointments that should be subject to Senate approval while the Senate is still in session and innumerable extra-constitutional actions since he was inaugurated, he is following in the footsteps of the despots who dominated the 20th century.

  • Bob Hadley

    Michael Barone, you should be ashamed of yourself – inserting yourself into narrow partisan politics – the talking points of your team.  You hold yourself out as a conservative analyst and I used to respect you as such, even when I disagreed with you.  Now, I’m cautious when I listen to you.  You often don your partisan talking-points hat.

    Even in your article above, you pretend to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt.  If you had thought about it, and even if you hadn’t, you’d realize that President Obama was inartfully trying to say that virtually no one achieves success in a vacuum, i.e. alone.

    Mr. Barone, how were you able to achieve your success?  Undoubtedly, it was because of your parents, your family unit, your relatives, your priests, rabbis or ministers, your teachers, your community – yes, it takes a village DUH!   Does this deny that you achieved success due to your individual talents and efforts??????  I know you’re capable of keeping competing thoughts in your mind at the same time.

    President Obama’s point was that businesses achieve successs with the help of infrastructure, the protection of various laws along with their enforcement,  and other services and conveniences provided by the government.   President Obama made his point inartfully, and the opportunists pounced.

    And I know you won’t stoop so low as to whine about the distortions of Team Obama instead of taking this constructively. 

    • ph16

      I understand your point Bob and you are absolutely right: I don’t think even the most individualistic person would deny that parents, family units, relatives, priests, rabbis or ministers, teachers, and communities play a huge role in determining individual success which of course what’s behind the meaning of the proverb “It takes a village.” However, I think Obama, like many other liberals, makes a mistake of applying a proverb about the importance of communities to an argument for bigger government which involves spending a lot of money on social programs and as a result, higher taxes to pay for them. So while in broad strokes, I do agree with his and your general point, I’m not quite sure I agree with how he (and other liberals like him) apply the proverb.

      • Bob Hadley

        OK, so let’s continue the robust discussion we’ve had elsewhere on this website concerning the role of the government – state and federal – in good economic times and in bad economic times.   Let’s continue the discussion as to what role, if any, the federal, state and/or local governments should play in issues of national prominence, e.g. childhood obesity, the culture of poverty, the overburdening of our health care system, the education of our citizenry.

        But, Michael Barone simply rips the stuffing out of a straw man.  That is not constructive.   He knows better.  I more-or-less expect that from those in the heat of political battle. 

        • ph16

           Forgive me for asking, but what exactly do you consider the strawman? I read your first post, but I couldn’t quite understand what you considered to be a strawman argument. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I just don’t understand what it is that you’re arguing against.

          • Bob Hadley

            The strawman that Michael Barone and other so-called conservative analysts (like O’Reilly and Mr. Krauthammer) construct is that President Obama was saying that when a businessman succeeds it has little of nothing to do with his talent and the hard work.

            Any fool would know that President Obama acknowledged that individual hard work and talent is ultimately what makes a business and what makes it successful.

            President Obama was obviously – and inartfully – saying that even the smartest, most hardworking businessman could not succeed without  infrastructure and other goods and services facilitated by the government.

            As you apparently agree, it’s a question of how big a role and what kind of a role government should play play in our society.   

          • ph16

             Yes it is, while I don’t think I would agree with you or Obama on the size of the role government should play, I do agree that at least a bit of government is needed otherwise it would be anarchy. Thank you for explaining your position.

    • Tim Ned

      Bob, when Henry Ford rolled out of the garage with his first car there was no infrastructure for it.  The best roads, if we could call them that, were cobblestone.  Innovation came first and infrastructure second.  I believe that when it comes to infrastructure spending, you and I could probably find a lot of common ground.

      However, this presidents remarks came with much personal offense with how hard I have worked and others in my small company.  Government today places more burdens on the small business person and more so ever in history.  Even though you may be small, the government looks at all small and large enterprises equally pertaining to law.  To have your books audited or even reviewed by a CPA firm is expensive.  If you seek investors the Coso Sox audits can bankrupt you.  More and more companies we work with are demanding thorough documentation and SOPs that can be audited.  They are simply protecting their butts and I don’t blame them.

      However, if you are a minority firm, these issues are mostly overlooked.  And more so for government contracts.

      If I recall correctly from previous posts I believe you have a law background as you seem to speak well in this area.  Early on as a rookie in business I made the crucial mistake of attempting to interrupt what people meant from their comments.  I learned from experience to listen carefully and to accept meaning from the words they choose to use.  The President was clear in his choice of words and how he used them.

      This President firmly believes that more government leads to the great innovations of this nation.  It is interesting that a nation as ours that has had the least social programs in the world, (compared to Europe anyways), has had the most profound impact on it.  One would think that with the free education Europe has to offer, the infrastructure in trains; government airlines; free buses; free health care; that the greatest technology innovation in history would result from it.  But is doesn’t.

      • Bob Hadley

        ” I learned from experience to listen carefully and to accept meaning from the words they choose to use. The President was clear in his choice of words and how he used them.
        “This President firmly believes that more government leads to the great innovations of this nation. ”

        First, the President was not clear in his words.  HINT:  You need to listen to the whole clip, not just the cut-and-paste job of Team Romney’s ads and the clips played by the anti-Obama crowd.  He was garbled.  But the message he clearly intended was that success doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  High achievers are helped along the way by others.  Successful businessmen are aided by, among other things, elaborate infrastructure. 

        Remember, both Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney are under tremendous pressure, spitting out countless speeches as they trot across the country (and, in Obama’s case, tending to his presidential responsibilities).  They must average less 5 hours sleep a night. 

        It’s almost inevitable that they are going to misspeak and say things that are garbled.  I don’t think Gov. Romney’s “I like firing people who don’t measure up” comment should not have blown up.  I don’t think many other of Romney’s comments were worthy of being blown up. 

        Here, I guess you and I have learned different lessons.  I’ve learned that even people in ordinary situations often misspeak and frequently make statements that can be distorted by those who are merely looking for fault.

        I know of no solid, credible evidence that President Obama firmly believes government leads to the great innovations of this nation.   You will probably have trouble finding anyone who believes this.  The idea, shared by most, is that government CAN play a certain role in educating and assissting those making great innovations in this nation.  The question that you and I disagree on is what that certain role it. 

        I have alslo earned, however, that you can construct a case for any conclusion you’re determined to reach, e.g. President Obama was born in Kenya, the moon landing was a hoax, 9/11 was an inside job, Pres. Clinton murdered Vince Foster.  The case will sound convincing until it is examined by someone knowledgeable who is willing to spend time debunking it.   

        • Tim Ned

          I listened to all of it as well as the White House Press office the next day and I did not hear one denial.  This wasn’t a misspoken word.  This was a speech.  And the question isn’t the words but the topic and this war against those who have achieved financial success.

          I don’t construct conclusions because he said he visited 57 states.  I know what he meant.  And the “it took a village” story is silly.

          • Bob Hadley

            According to Mr. Barone, President Obama said successful businesses are created by government.  This is a strawman argument that the intellectually lazy build (all by themselves :) ). They’re too cowardly to confront and grapple with real issues, so they accuse their opponents of something outlandish. And of course if your opponent has an outlandish position, you don’t need to think.

            I suspect that for Mr. Barone, it was a business decision.  After all, if he were fair minded he’d have nothing to write about. 

            President Obama was saying that people don’t succeed totally on their own.  Then he said that successful business don’t succeed totally due to individual effort and talent.  Then he said something like “What about the bridges and highways?  You didn’t build those.”

            He was clearly saying that successful businesses thrived in large part due to the highways and bridges and that businesses did not create the highways and bridges.

            I can see why some might have raised their eyebrows when listening to his inartful comments.  The tone and demeanor of his comments were to de-emphasize hard work and talent and to emphasize government.  Taken out of context, this de-emphasis turns things upside down:  we both know how much hard work and talent can be required to make a successful businesses.   

            But President Obama made his remarks in response to the anti-government sentiment.  The thrust of his inartful remarks was to point out the importance of government in repsonse to those who almost exclusively focus on individual hard work and talent.

            Back in the 1990’s I saw an interview Tim Russert had with William Bennett on CNBC.  Bennett, who I normally respect, criticized Hillary Clinton’s book “It take A Village.”  His basic message was that Mrs. Clinton was anti-family. 

            Later, in that very interview, Bennett bemoaned the the break-down of tight-knit, supportive communities that aided in childrens’ upbringing and development.  As an example, he said that when he was a kid if any of his friends cut school or exhibited unacceptable behavior members of the community would set them straight and would also report them to their parents.

            If you don’t think this is silly, in fact incredibly stupid, then we have an inherent communication rift.  Bill Bennet says it takes a tight-knit, supportive community to properly raise children but to say it takes a tight-knit, supportive village is anti-family??????????  I wish Mr. Russert (who was typically a fantastic interviewer) had asked Bennett what the difference is between a community and a village.

            Yes, there are REAL issues as to what role the federal government should play in this country.  There’s also the issue of what role any government should play in our lives.  Almost no one says the government should be totally eliminated and almost no one says that government is everything…. OK, let’s have this discussion.

            Back in the 1990’s, on This Week with Sam and Cockie, a question was posed to the entire panel regarding success – I forgot the precise question.  All but one of the panelist talked about hard work and talent.  William Kristol, the prominent conservative, provided balance by saying something to this effect:  “I think we just forget how lucky we are.”

            I think we all agree that success is made possible by a wide array of factors:  pre-natal experience (including genes), parents, family, community, health care, government-federal, state and local, individual character and determination, hard work, talent, etc.

             We’re within the 30 or 40 yard lines, more-or-less.  Let thoughtful discussion begin.

          • Bob Hadley

            Oooops!  It’s Cokie, not Cocky.  If there were a negative ad campaign against me, there’d be ads and articles saying I call the beloved journalist  Cokie Roberts cocky.

          • wally

            I realize that no matter what Obama says or does will keep you from voting for him again. Obama stated that he would change the US and he is living up to his commitment. He  truly believes in the redistribution of wealth. That is why he said what he did about nobody can make it on their own. His aim is to make the federal government so strong that it can dictate everything. He isn’t concerned about getting people back to work. He wants to make everyone dependent on the government so he and his party can have absolute control. This is evident in his handling of the existing energy industry. He stated that he will make coal and existing energies so expensive that they would not be able to compete. He is so ignorant that by making existing energies so expensive, he is willing to cause everything in the US to be noncompetitive as compared to the world market. He gave Brazil billions of dollars to drill for oil and agreed to purchase oil from them rather than drill for oil and gas in the US and to thereby provide jobs for US citizens and create US revenue for the people and the government. If you can’t see the damage he has and continues to do, you are lost and beyond help.

          • Bob Hadley

            “He truly believes in the redistribution of wealth. That is why he said what he did about nobody can make it on their own.”

            That is a classic example of a non-sequitur. 

            And if President Obama so ardently  believes in the redistribution of wealth, why did he bail out Wall Street?  Why under President Obama’s watch has there been a continuation – perhaps even an acceleration – in the concentration of wealth in the upper brackets?

            Why have so many on the Left accused President Obama of selling out to the Republicans and the moneyed interests?

            It sounds as though you might be living in a paranoid fantasy.  Are you living underground yet?

            BTW, I can’t remember anyone ever saying that individuals can make it on their own, i.e. without any assistance from anyone or from anywhere.  Do you realize how ignorant such a statement would be?  The REAL question is what role, if any, should the federal, state or local governments play in our society.

          • James King

            Bob, I can answer the “what role” question, and I will. The problem with my answer is that few are ready to accept it.

            The moral government protects citizens and does nothing more. This is through a military, a court system and police, to protect individual citizens from physical acts of aggression.

            That’s it. And no amount of hand-wringing over the so-called poor or other phony contrived issues can change that one basic fact. I also know that it will certainly not happen in my lifetime because I am old. But liberals and conservatives do not have the answer, because both support the use of force in different ways. Combine the best of both and America will live. Without it, America will die.

          • Bob Hadley

            Very good!  Someone dfinally addressed the issue squarely.  There was no attacking a strawman or pursuing a Red Herring.

            Apparently you disagree with the U. S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power to , among other things, regulate iterstate commerce, coin money, promote science and useful arts and establish post offices. 

            So you advocate a constitutional amendment denying Congress any such powers?

            What about roads, highways, bridges and sewer systems?  Should government protect us from impure food and medications and from quacks claiming to be any of various professionals (doctors, dentists, lawyers) or contractors?

            Should government make an effort to see to it that our ciotizenry receives a basic education in the three R’s, civics, and american history?  If not, you probably also object to virtually all citizens being allowed to vote.

            Remember, I asked about the role of all governments – federal, state and local – in our society.

          • Bob Hadley

            James King, my reply to you is, very good!  finally someone addresses directly without attacking a strawman and without pursuing a Red Herring.

            You apparently disagree with the U. S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power to, among other things, regulate commerce, promote science and useful arts, coin money and establish post offices.

            What about building roads, highway, bridges and sewer systems?  What about protecting us against impure medications, food, and water?  What about protecting us from quacks prading as various professionals (doctors, dentists, etc.) and contractors.

            Should government give its citizenry a basic education in the three R’s, civics, American history, science, adn critical thinking?  If not, you probably oppose voting rights guaranteed to virtually all adult citizens.

            Remember, I asked about the role of any government – federal, state and local – in our society.

          • James King

            Wally, I agree with what you wrote, but one thing you did not write is the ultimate end game. That is, I believe, when you are speaking of all forms of income and how much Obama wants for government, the answer is 100%.

            I think I heard this from some Obama lover on TV. It might have been Beck, but I just do not remember. But there have been lefties in the past who have admitted that what they want is all that you have and earn, and they will tell you how it will be allocated.

            I am also certain that the most intelligent of that crowd does not want it exposed, but they really do want it all. I am also certain that many would become very upset when they actually learn what happen if that day ever arrives.

    • Will Swoboda

      hey Bob,
      The business of America is business. Without business there would be no America. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s exactly what Obama is doing. No business, no America. Yea, yea, now it’s becoming clear
      Bob, just in case you haven’t noticed (and you probably haven’t) the infrastructure is for the benefit of us all. If it helps with business that helps us all, then that’s very good.

      Will Swoboda from Ellicott City, MD?

      • Bob Hadley

        Hey Will,

        Stated another way, America’s commerce is business.  Without commerce there’d be no America.  And yes, infrastructure helps us all, and commerce helps us all.  Tell me something that is not obvious to liberals, conservatives, moderates and pragmatists.

        Your insinuation that President Obama is anti-America is hogwash.  Look at President Obama’s actions.  ALL his actions, not just the ones you like to complain about. 

  • Bruce A.

    I work nearly 70 hours per week at my own business.  I do not take vacations & have missed out on numerous family events over the years.  I consider myself lucky, my grandparents & parents often worked 80 hours er week in the past.
    If the President thinks I don’t deserve  what I earn, he is clearly mistaken

    • Tim Ned

      Same story with me Bruce.  Some people who start their businesses achieve immediate success and never have to look back.  But for the vast majority of us business owners every day is a challenge.  Most people have never worked a 70 hour week like you I have.  Most people don’t realize the sacrifice we make and here is the question; why should we pay more than our fair share for those who don’t make the equal sacrifice?

      In light of the sacrifices, we made the choice to provide better educations for our kids, better vacations, and perhaps have a nicer home.  And I employ over 40 people today.

      • Bruce A.

        If owning your own business was easy, everybody would be doing it.

  • RonKean

    There was once a campaign slogan, “Yes, you can”.  Now it’s “You didn’t and couldn’t”.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2Q3UK3SZ23ED6FUW3X3MUO2TVM Daniel

    I recently read an article that said Obama’s team had taken away his teleprompter. They felt this would make him come across more naturally and friendly. I had to laugh reading that. My first thought was he will be much like Biden sticking his foot in his mouth very often. Sure enough, just like I thought he now is telling us what he really thinks and believes. I hope they don’t realize their mistake and go back to the teleprompter.