Obama Can Haz Reelection?

Man, Barack Obama stepped in it with his remarks about how business owners “didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Criticism of the president is a frequent feature on my Facebook feed, but I had never seen anything like this morning.

My friends, fans and acquaintances had caustic comments galore, sure, but the pictorial mockery was the most striking. I’ve included several examples of this mockery below. The only thing I did not see was an anti-Obama lolcat, but the day is young!











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  • Jeffrey Weiss


    “And yet I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who have received this prize – Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela – my accomplishments are slight. And then there are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened of cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women – some known, some obscure to all but those they help – to be far more deserving of this honor than I.”

    Just sayin’…

    • http://alsbach-art.com Floyd Alsbach

      It was obviously a stupid idea to give him that prize, even the great and powerful PrezO could see that one from a mile away… therefore DUH.

    • Jack Okie

      The honorable thing to have done was decline the prize. Note that in his “others are deserving” twaddle he never says he doesn’t deserve it. After all, he was at the beginning of his labors on the world stage. Thank goodness it seems he’s going to get the hook.

      Have you ever launched a successful business? Thought not.

    • Neal Scroggs

      Re: the Nobel Prize. The decent and honorable thing to do was decline the Prize. This could have been done quietly and without fanfare. The Nobel committee didn’t spring it on the President; Obama was notified weeks before the official presentation. There was plenty of time to withdraw the award. Nobels aren’t Oscars, they aren’t awarded every year, and they have been declined at least six timesBut what Barack Hussein Obama do? The took the bows, the medal, the kudos and THE MONEY, awarded by a delusional Norwegian parliament to an undeserving, unaccomplished figurehead, and flew back home to bask in the awesomeness of being The One

  • http://joysthoughtsonstuff.wordpress.com Joy F

    He said no one builds anything alone. He’s right. Much of it is about circumstances and opportunities. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both credited other people’s help to their success. What Business owner in this country builds their own building? What business owner educates themselves to have the wherewithal to build their own business? What businessman builds their own roads and parking lots to their own business? Do they build the furniture and the make the electricity that powers them? Invest entirely by themselves? What businessman even slices their own cheese on their sandwich?

    No one is successful all by themselves. America is successful in part because it has a highly developed infrastructure system that the government put in place to allow for free flow of traffic, goods and services. Try living in a treetop jungle house on the equator with no roads, no electricity, no flow of goods and see how successful a person will be.

    America’s comfort is built on the backs of thousands and thousands of hands all around the world, and they arrogantly boast that they did it all by themselves. No one does.

    • FrankB

      Way to miss the point. Obama made that statement as a claim on what others have done.

      “He didn’t invent iron ore and blast furnaces, did he?”


      “Rearden. He didn’t invent smelting and chemistry and air compression. He couldn’t have invented his Metal but for thousands and thousands of other people. His Metal! Why does he think it’s his? Why does he think it’s his invention? Everybody uses the work of everybody else. Nobody ever invents anything.”

      She said, puzzled, “But the iron ore and all those other things were there all the time. Why didn’t anybody else make that Metal, but Mr. Rearden did?”

      Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand, who knew her statists.

    • DCLovell

      Joy F or is it Liz Warren, Most of the roads are payed for by the government? You obviously have never developed land. There are Fees and Assessments applied to every project that cover the costs. The government would not exist unless it took money from citizens. Did government create that money, no they took it. The public is mostly ignorant about these matters and Liz or Joy you are in that class.

    • steve

      Joy F,
      Tell us about the business you created with or without government help. I am curious about the risks you took and the amount of work you did. In fact, if you have not started a business yet, go and start one and hire a couple of people – it will help the unemployment problem. It is easy to build a successful business – other people will do it for you. The government is always there to help.

    • realtat

      I’ve got a road the taxpayers (and China) paid for right outside my house, but I didn’t build a billion dollar business. I guess not enough people helped me. Must be their fault. In any case, we should take back the roads and schools from people like Steve Jobs. Wait. That will be hard to do.

    • Bryan

      Joy F, the one problem with your statement is here:

      “America is successful in part because it has a highly developed infrastructure system that the government put in place to allow for free flow of traffic, goods and services.”

      The government is not what put that infrastructure in place. Do some research on how many private companies are responsible for America’s infrastructure.

    • Hill Country Texan

      Lucky for you the Midol people had a good idea.

    • TFish

      No, you have it backwards.
      Businesses are started by individuals, not the infrastructure around them. Americas comfort was NOT built on the backs of “thousands and thousands of hands all around the world” but by the liberty and freedom that releases enterprising ideas. “thousands and thousands of hands all around the world” is a statement of ignorance, failing to understand the concept of a free republic such as America.
      Your arguments are specious. Grow up, get a REAL education, read the US Constitution.

      • Tom of the Missouri

        No, Joy is correct about the unknown thousands and thousands of people around the world that help in virtually every business. Her mistake though is to assume that entrepreneurs do it as she says “on the backs” of those people. It is done not on their backs, but by voluntary cooperation among and for the profit of all those people. There is a huge difference between voluntary cooperation for profit and being a burden on someone’s back. I direct Joy and all the other readers here to the famous essay “I Pencil” by Lenard Reid to help her and them understand this critically important point about what can fairly be called the miracle of free market capitalism. As for being on someones back, I think Joy is thinking of the government, its regulations and taxes, when she thinks of someone being on somone’s back. Some one here says that entrepreneurs are successful not because of government, but despite it. That is the truth about most of government except for the bare minimal functions planned by the founding fathers which includes courts for a simple and fair set of rules and an army for national defense which ensures a safe place to conduct business. Beyond that government truly is mostly a burden. Here is a link to I Pencil: http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/rdPncl1.html From the comments on this blog I truly think everyone here needs to read this little essay. It is sad it is not taught in every school as it once was. It is also obvious it is not. It has unfortunately been replaced by Marxism, envy and resentment, which are the values it seems that are held most deeply by the current POTUS.

    • John

      America started out no different than a treetop jungle. It was the ingenuity and risk taken by successful business men and women that paid the taxes that allowed government to do everything that it has done. Government has done more for this nation by staying out of the way than anything else. Now that an infrastructure exists, that provides the playing field for everyone – from the taxi driver to the factory owner (though the factory owner will have paid much more in total taxes over an equal amount of time). From that starting point, it is up to each person’s hard work, desire to succeed, and willingness to risk failure that raises him/her to the top. Government can only prevent or postpone one’s success. Not that I’m not thankful for a police force, bridges, and bus stops, but they don’t work any harder for a successful business man than they do for the homeless man.

      • http://joysthoughtsonstuff.wordpress.com Joy F

        America started out by taking over a land that someone else had already settled. Or should I put it this way, America started by taking over someone else’s land.

        • Ferd

          Hey Joy –

          Your anti-Americanism is showing through. Color me surprised. I notice you haven’t left the good old US of A yet. I guess that’s just for other people. Did you read the latest anthropological study this week that showed our Indians, er, Native Americans, weren’t native? That’s right, the Clovis people took land from people who settled in the Paisley caves in Oregon. But those people took the land too, since anthropologists still hold that human life started in Africa. Regardless, everyone’s land today is land that was once someone else’s. Man, you socialists are dumb.

          • http://joysthoughtsonstuff.wordpress.com Joy F

            Haha – actually, I have left the good old US of A :) which is likely why I say some of the things I do! I have worked in Asia for seven years, and well, if it means anything, when I left I was hard core Republican. Now I’m just a moderate. It’s funny because I hadn’t read the full speech when I commented, nor had I actually heard what Elizabeth Warren said. It was just an observation while I was working Bangladesh actually – that the country is so war-torn that no Steve Jobs or Bill Gates could come from there due to the lack of infrastructure. It wasn’t until I went back and read it that I realized he had said the same thing. Which is kind of embarrassing I suppose. Now I understand the response a bit better.

            I honestly don’t pay that much attention to American politics. I probably should, but BBC doesn’t have it on that much ;) and I rarely have time for forums like this. It has actually been rather interesting……I likely would have thought the same several years ago. Now I don’t, but maybe that is as well circumstantial. Should I move back to America then? Would that change my mind?

            That said, colonialism was a terrible, awful thing that does need to be addressed in history. Spain intermarried (and oppressed) with the people, Britain exterminated them. The fact that it happened doesn’t make it okay.

            I suppose since I am dumb and should stay out of America, that I will just continue doing so. And to think I was considering coming home…….!

        • RT

          Hey Joy F-you sound like you might be 1/32 Native American. Are you running for Senate?
          BTW: latest anthropological research shows those Eternal Victim Nobel Native Americans actually “took” the land over from previous immigrants -actually many waves of previous immigrants. This might have been recorded in their history, but unfortunately they had no written language- a pity.

          • http://joysthoughtsonstuff.wordpress.com Joy F

            Nope, thank God not running for Senate! I don’t even live in the US………which is good because if I did, a bunch of you just told me to leave. Freedom of Speech huh? Yes, yes, the whole world is taken over by other people. So why not just invade the rest of it and take it over? Teach those other people who had their countries destroyed the value of determination!

    • Carl Pham

      Oh, yeah, so true, and what business owner started the Solar System out of a cloud of worthless dust and gas 5 billion years ago? And what if the asteroid hadn’t struck in the late Cretaceous so that the dinosaurs were wiped out and gave we mammals a chance? We might still be gerbils running on pointless wheels!

      You and the President are both clueless goofs. The point is not that a business owner or inventor didn’t do EVERY LAST SINGLE IDENTIFABLE THING that could conceivably be part of his success. I mean, duh, that’s so obvious a 6-year-old gets it. The point is: who did THE MOST to generate the success? Who is PRIMARILY and UNIQUELY responsible for the success? And the answer is, of course, the individual.

      No, Steve Jobs didn’t build the roads to Apple headquarters, but Steve Jobs and the roadbuilders play very different roles in the creation of the iPad. Without Steve Jobs, you have no iPad, full stop. You have some roads to an empty building in Cupertino at which nothing interesting happens. Waste and futility.

      On the other hand, without the roads — you know, you probably will, eventually, have the iPad. Because Steve will probably find a way to get the job done without roads — maybe he’ll use railroads, or helicopters, or have everyone work by the Internet, or some other idea entirely. The whole magic of entrepreneurship is they find a way around a thousand minor obstacles that stop lesser men. That’s exactly what distinguishes a successful entrepreneur from just a guy with a good idea.

      There’s no doubt the lack of roads would slow down and make more expensive the development of the iPad. But they’re not 100% NECESSARY, even though, in this version of reality, they indeed form a part of the final result. On the other hand, Jobs himself IS 100% necessary. Without the driving smart work of the entrepreneur, nothing ever gets invented. You can have as much “infrastructure” and “educated work force” and “investment” and “opporunity” as you like — and it will all just sit around rusting unless and until the man with the idea and the drive comes along. A car, no matter how powerful and finely tuned and gassed up and ready to go will go exactly nowhere without a driver.

      That’s what you, and the President, miss. I can only conclude you have neither of you ever had any real experience creating something.

      • D

        …. Because Steve will probably find a way to get the job done without roads — maybe he’ll use railroads, or helicopters, or have everyone work by the Internet, or some other idea entirely. The whole magic of entrepreneurship is they find a way around a thousand minor obstacles that stop lesser men. That’s exactly what distinguishes a successful entrepreneur from just a guy with a good idea….

        Bullseye. You are 100% correct about that.

    • JWnTX

      So we are the beneficiaries of a generous world that has given us all we need to be successful without expecting anything in return? Our businesses are charities that have received free help from unseen hands and become wildly successful in spite of themselves? What a bunch of hooey. You lefties have obviously never built a business. Small businesses in this country are successful IN SPITE OF government–not because of it. Government does nothing but build roadblocks and hoops for business owners to jump through. And if you’re lucky enough not to have your idea regulated to death or stolen, you MIGHT get a few good years out of it. Government is responsible for the success of small business in this country far less than it’s responsible for its many failures.

    • Gary

      Without the tax dollars that are raised from the entrepreneurs, small business owners and producers none of that highly developed infrastructure in the US would have been built and maintained. It’s due to their efforts and willingness to assume financial risks that the government has the money to build that infrastructure in the first place. The entrepreneurs, small business owners and producers are not standing on our shoulders, we are standing on theirs.

    • Ed Scott

      Who is Obama to talk about producing anything? Joy F, your comments about no one succeeding by themselves border on the ridiculous. I don’t know of anyone who is claiming that they set up the infrastructure in their community, but I can tell you that city planners didn’t lay the asphalt and pour the concrete. I know of small business owners who work long hours 6 or seven days a week and government should not be able to confiscate their earnings in order to give them to favored constituencies, which is what our current administration is doing with its green boondoggle.
      The arrogance of you people on the left. Always wanting to control others. Mind your own business.


      The government builds roads, schools, runs the military…so what??? That is what they
      are supposed to do. They should not be intruding into everyone’s lives to the extent that
      our SCFOAMF President wishes. His policies have been a miserable failure and if you support
      him, you deserve what you get.

    • Paul H

      Nobody’s arguing that people don’t get ‘help’…

      The key is what do these owners and entrepreneurs do with this ‘help’. Is Obama really arguing that the smart decisions Steve Jobs made along the way weren’t really his? Wise decisions about what and when to develop and how to market, were made by Apple investors, not the people running the company?

      Government gets all the credit in the world for building and maintaining infrastructure and creating a framework for business to operate in. They don’t get to take credit for how people utilize that structure and work within that framework.

      • http://joysthoughtsonstuff.wordpress.com Joy F

        Hmmm a lot of people out there who are making a lot of assumptions. One comment :) I think I get the impression that got under your skin. I’m sorry. Actually it’s kind of funny to see all the vitriol. This must be a conservative only site. I guess I didn’t read the rules.

        • Ferd

          Yeah, it must be conservatives. If this were a lefty site, there would be more swearing and threats headed your way.

          • MotherSetonsDaughter

            So true! You can tell by their thoughtful answers, their intelligent illustrations, and their civility that they are not liberals :-) Everyone is doing a nice job explaining just why what the President said is just wrong!

    • Joe

      Of course no one does anything in a vacuum – the question is more correctly framed as, do we want a dynamic society shaped by the free interactions of people, or a static one driven from the top-down? And the assertion that America’s success is because of its highly developed infrastructure is silly. That infrastructure exists *because* of the wealth generated by a free, dynamic society. No Wright Brothers, no airports.

    • Neal Scroggs

      Words of wisdom from someone who hasn’t even build a kid’s playhouse in the backyard.

    • syn

      My business is responsible for the road in front of our building; when it cracks my business pays for the repair. I don’t do not hire government to repair the road in front of my business, I hire another business which is skilled in road paving and repair.

      And the building my business occupies was not built by government, it was built by businesses who are skilled at building buildings.

      This is how America works, we do business with one another and the less government we have in our business the more freedom we have to exchange our ability to do business.

      Before you lecture on a subjectin which you have no idea what you are saying why don’t you spend time in the real world and learn how it operates freely and effectively.

      BY the way, the hefty property tax my business pays for you government’s public school – recently I observe that this government system has failed to produce able and capable Americans who know and understand the art of business-to exist.

      And frankly, I am fed up with paying the high price of your government’s failing public school system.

    • Bill M

      You really have no idea. Your just as clueless as the President. These people take an idea, nurture it, develop it. In some cases with plenty of people telling them it won’t work. They risk their money, other peoples’ money and they sweat, toil and work 20 hour days. Do without for themselves and their families to be successful. Sure they use infrastructure. They paid for it with taxes already. They aren’t arrogant, you are and I’m not sure which is greater, your arrogance or your ignorance.

    • Nate Whilk

      “America is successful in part because it has a highly developed infrastructure system that THE MONEY FROM TAXPAYERS, *INCLUDING BUSINESSES*, put in place to allow for free flow of traffic, goods and services. ”

      Fixed that for ya,

    • Steve

      Of course no one built these things “entirely by themselves”. They hired workers to help, paid others to build their building, and even paid taxes to build the roads, pay for police to maintain order, etc. Nice job building an absurd strawman so you could knock it down.

      No one is saying that Bill Gates shouldn’t pay taxes to help build roads or shouldn’t pay a furniture company to furnish his office. But Obama is saying that, since I also paid taxes to help build the roads around Microsoft, then Bill Gates owes me a salary (or at least he should be paying for my health care). That’s just about as absurd as your strawman.

    • Darrell

      Sure. Businessmen do rely on others to help build things. But, someone has to have an idea first. Someone has to assume risk and borrow money to make it happen. There are leaders and followers in this world. Leaders have vision and courage. Leaders build the businesses that the followers work for. America was built on the idea that individuals would be richly rewarded for their willingness to take risks to build a new idea into a thriving business. If we tax innovation and hard work into oblivion, more of us will be relying on food stamps to survive. More Americans will sink into the hopelessness that defines socialism. We can never tax and spend our way into prosperity.

    • Ohio Granny

      Hey Joy, you are right. Many startup businesses have to find venture capitalists, like, hmm, oh let’s see, BAIN CAPITAL to give them the cash and expertise to get off the ground. But Obama? Not so much. He isn’t a fan of people who make more than $250,000 or are successful. Unless they are Tony Rezko, then he’ll let them help him get the house he wants…..

    • Buzz

      You seem to think the business owners are freeloading off of all that. No, they paid people to build the building, slice the cheese, etc. They also paid taxes to support the roads, etc., just like the rest of us.
      You and Obama seem to think that success should be punished.

    • CivMar

      Joy F:
      This is what is called a “straw man argument”; a rhetorical device whereby a person attributes to an opponent an argument that they did not make for the purpose of defeating that argument (often referred to as building a straw man so that it can be easily knocked it down or have the stuffing kicked out of it). With respect to the President’s argument, which you gave good account of, note that NO ONE is arguing that society did not have the government put in place a highly developed infrastructure system to allow for free flow of traffic, goods and services. Also note that NO ONE is arguing that the successful did not benefit from such an infrastructure system and that it was not a part of their success – the successful themselves readily admit that it was. Finally, note that that very same infrastructure system is available to the unsuccessful as well as the successful so, following the reasoning of the President to its logical conclusion, one could claim that because the achievements of the successful can be attributed to society at large and the government for building that infrastructure system, the failure of the unsuccessful can also be attributed to society at large and the government for building that very same infrastructure system. Doesn’t make much sense – at least not to me. Now, what IS being argued is that, working within the established statutory/regulatory regimes and with the established infrastructure, each successful individual took the financial risks, put in the hard work, made the investments, and hired whom they needed to hire in order to build their success – and society at large and the government did not participate in THAT. As for America’s comfort being built on the backs of thousands and thousands of hands all around the world, I would simply point out that buying the raw materials from, and then selling to the owners of those hands the finished products that those owners obviously wanted (as evidenced by the fact that they bought those products without guns being put to their heads to force them to do so) is not achieving success on their backs. I would also point out that because the buying and selling was mutually consensual and the statutes, regulations, and infrastructure were already in place for EVERYONE to use, there is no arrogance and no boast in saying that that they did it all by themselves. Every one of them did. In conclusion, I would like to point out that the President’s argument (which you very ably represented) is straight out of fundamental Marxist Theory, which, in a nutshell, posits that individuals (and thus their efforts) count for nothing, it is the overall societal collective that matters and that the individual must be subject to its will (or at least the will of its leaders – as all of the other individuals that comprise the societal collective are all in the same boat).

    • stonedome

      Joy F asked
      “What businessman builds their own roads and parking lots?”
      A local Florida developer put in a three mile connector road at their own expense just north of us They did this in order to cut a two year delay off the government road project which was costing them a large amount of profit every month that it dragged on…you seem not to know the way business works and that’s why you’ll vote for obama based on silly theoretical global socialist theory. as far as businessmen slicing their own cheese, try the owners of the carnegie deli in manhattan, they do it every day.

    • http://www.saikonetworks.com Max

      Despite trying to put the president’s quote in an underserved positive light, his implication was that they didn’t have help from others, but rather they couldn’t have done it without the help of the government, which is entirely untrue. Posit for a moment where the Government got the monies to build the infrastructure in question.

    • Gmama

      The government hires workers to build infrastructure using taxes paid by people who work. Anyone who has a job has that job because they or someone else started a business.

  • Max

    Seriously? You do realize that there were businesses in this country before there was an interstate highway system, right? That the money to pay for our infrastructure came from taxpayers, it didn’t magically come into being from the coffers of government? That governments around the world are largely responsible for the poverty in their home countries? That Dell, Gates, and countless others dropped out of school because they saw no real value in that education? Bluntly, do you see everything backwards?

  • http://abriefhistory.org Mike_K

    How many failed businesses have the same roads and the same attempts to help and still fail ?

    What a moron !

  • Jimbo

    If he acknowledged that he was undeserving of the Nobel Prize, the. He shouldn’t have accepted it.

    Just sayin’.

  • 5ftflirt

    “…..The government wants to say you didn’t really earn what you earned? They want you to hand it over because they believe the public owns part of it? Ok then; who shares the downside with you, when you lose your ass? Does the public own part of your failure, too?

    Yes, they let you own some percentage of the success, and all the failure. They want to win both ways. They want to say you’ve rolled the dice, and you’ve lost fair and square, and you’re on your own, when you lose. But then they also want to say, you won and that’s not fair, so pay us, when you win……”


    • MotherSetonsDaughter

      Well said!

  • dmitryb

    Joy, you seem to be failing to grasp a very simple concept that’s very core to capitalism: your claim to having helped me with whatever it is I am creating ends with my paying you for your services a beforehand agreed amount. You built me a parking lot? Awesome. Here’s the money you asked. Now go away, it’s mine and you are abdicated of your claim to my success or failure.

  • Don Surber

    Instead of telling me what Obama said, let’s go to what he said:

    “We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make some more cuts in programs that don’t work, and make government work more efficiently…We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more … There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back. 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. 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. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires. So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for president – because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”

    His argument is absurd — not just that you got help along the way but that you should take no credit for anything and that the government should get all the credit. He is a collectivist who believes in taking from everyone who is successful. He is a collectivist who believes every one should surrender their property. Everyone except him, of course.

  • Pentangle

    Who says we didn’t build the buildings? I’m looking at a 150ft warehouse that I built with my own damn hands. Small business people do it all the time. But that’s really beside the point. You say we needed government help to build roads and other infrastructure? You think the government has some sort of money tree somewhere? That money came from my taxes, and every other small business owner’s. Don’t forget we pay 3 times: once on our income, once on the business income, and twice the FICA you pay (15% right off the top, before exemptions or anything else). And the wilderness scenario? It’s already happened a million times. You put a bunch of entrepreneurs in the middle of the desert (see Salt Lake City, Jerusalem in 1948, etc., etc.) and watch what happens. Big Government types moan and groan and starve. Small businessmen build a country.

  • robert

    @Joy F: None of those business builders (Jobs, Gates, etc.) denied the role of others in helping them. What made Obama’s comments so shatteringly obtuse was his premise that government built those businesses. His comments reveal him as thoroughly out of tune with this country’s ethos. To be fair, I think this has always been true of him, which is a big reason why I didn’t vote for him the first time, and why I look forward to not voting for him again.

    BHO is a typical product of today’s academe, and that’s where he belongs. In fact, he should never have left it for politics, as he has no talent whatever for it. His latest remarks simply show how much of a tin ear he has regarding how ordinary Americans speak and think. He may be a decent guy personally (as he appears to be), but he’s utterly unfit for the presidency.

  • 5ftflirt

    “What Business owner in this country builds their own building?”

    Most of them, if it’s a big company. They build their own factories and office buildings and stores, and they pay the taxes that build the infrastructure.

    “What business owner educates themselves to have the wherewithal to build their own business?”

    Many entrepreneurs are self-taught drop-outs. And no one can really teach you how to be successful, it’s on the job training. You sure don’t learn it in MBA school.

    “What businessman builds their own roads and parking lots to their own business?”

    See above.

    “Do they build the furniture and the make the electricity that powers them? Invest entirely by themselves?”

    if it’s a big enough company it might invest in infrastructure to power factories. But the main point is that businesses create wealth, government doesn’t. Businesses create jobs, both directly by hiring people and indirectly by buying theings like furniture. When more people have jobs they pay more taxes and the government gets more revenue, and even more revenue from the business itself.

    Who does Obama think pays for the infrastructure in the first place? The taxpayers! Who pay the most taxes? Businesses. The people who don’t have jobs are the ones who didn’t build it.

    “What businessman even slices their own cheese on their sandwich?”

    Oh puleeze. You must have the same experience of and attitude toward the private sector as Obama, and that’s the problem.

  • http://mac-gurl.com Patti

    America was built with my and all your tax $$$$$$
    We have gave back!

  • Andy Freeman

    Obama believes that if someone else had a role in your success, govt is entitled to take everything you have.

    Is someone who saves your life entitled to anything that you produce afterwards? If not, Obama’s argument can’t be valid.

  • TB

    Now the $64,000 question: If all it takes is infrastructure to have a successful business, how come you don’t have one?

    And do try to remember where the money comes from that the government uses to build things. Hint: it ain’t the back end of a magic goose.

  • Rob Crawford

    ” What Business owner in this country builds their own building?”

    They use their own money — earned of their own labor or invested by others and thus due to be repaid — to buy a building.

    “What business owner educates themselves to have the wherewithal to build their own business?”

    I’ve never met anyone, let alone a business owner, who hadn’t been the primary mover in their education. No one learns without effort, let alone learn something valuable enough to build a business around.

    “What businessman builds their own roads and parking lots to their own business?”

    The roads are publicly accessible, built by tax money WHICH INCLUDES MONEY FROM THE BUSINESS OWNER.

    (Other than that, I’d point you to Reedy Creek Improvement District for a counter example.)

    “Do they build the furniture and the make the electricity that powers them?”

    They pay for them from the money they’ve earned or borrowed and have to repay.

    “Invest entirely by themselves?”

    Um, yeah. That’s what, say, a sole-proprietorship is.

    “What businessman even slices their own cheese on their sandwich?”

    Lots of them. Heck, I don’t even own a business and I’ve been known to slice cheese for a sandwich. You just gotta buy the cheese in blocks and use a knife or a cheese slicer.

    “America is successful in part because it has a highly developed infrastructure system that the government put in place to allow for free flow of traffic, goods and services.”

    What is the American government? Who paid for that infrastructure? Why are you so intent on giving credit SOLELY or even PRIMARILY to something that only did what the PEOPLE directed it to?

    The idiotic “you didn’t do it on your own” line comes from envy, from coveting the success that others have worked for. It’s disgusting.

  • Andy Freeman

    The other fallacy in Obama’s argument is that infrastructure is a small part of what Obama’s govt does.

    In other words, his argument is “if you use taxpayer-provided roads, I can take all your money and spend it on welfare”. I write “all” because Obama doesn’t recognize any limits on this power.

    Note also the phrase “taxpayer-provided”. Those roads weren’t paid for by Obama, they were paid for by past-taxpayers, some of which are still around, some of whom are the successful people who he claims “didn’t build it”. He doesn’t get to set the conditions, they did.

    I didn’t and don’t “agree” to pay for roads so Obama can claim a right to everything from folks who drive on them.

  • babjack

    “…that the government put in place”… Where do you think the Government gets the money to do this?? The taxes collected from the rich and then the middle class (lot’s of small business owners here) are what then goes back into what the government does. It’s the government that “didn’t build this”.

  • Mitchell

    Yeah, Jeremy- what Jeffrey and Joy said! I bet you didn’t build the computer you post to your blog on, smarty pants. And those snarky posters? I bet YOU didn’t photoshop them!

    Heck, Obama poor-mouthed his accomplishments so thoroughly when he accepted that Nobel Peace Prize (before he started killing traitors with drone strikes, of course. And before he invaded Libya) that many liberals don’t even realize that he still accepted it.

    And Joy is spot on as well. If it wasn’t for the government taxing us to pay for roads, the power grid, and Obamacare, nobody would have the free time to come up with neat stuff. So, really, it’s the government who invents stuff, just like Obama said.

    Jesus wept.

  • geek49203

    Joy — This entire line of discussion is puzzling. IT was first tried by Elizabeth Warren, and hence, lines of debate were well formed when Obama said it. Second, I don’t see Warren’s campaign taking off because of this tactic, so I’m wondering why he tried it.

    To the points you make, let’s just say that you’re only telling half, if that, of the story. Government wouldn’t be around in any form w/o commerce. Many of the things you mention are NOT functions of government, and others could be (and at times, were) provided by private enterprise. Many of the dependencies you cite are other businesses, NOT government structure.

    In fact, in many cases, the government had to struggle to catch up. Ford’s Model T had to deal with a lack of good roads, for instance, and in fact many laws were set up to discourage auto use! Gates and Jobs each needed the government to pass laws to catch up with their efforts, and in the case of Gates, struggled under government lawsuits both here and abroad. Governments didn’t build their buildings, other businesses did. To slide in a necessary, large, Obama-style liberal government in those places is simply a logical error, and in effect, untrue in real life.

  • Andy Freeman

    Another fallacy in Obama’s argument is that he ignores all the other people on the road.

    If “driving on the road” is what made me successful, why were’t the other people on that road just as successful?

    And no, everyone who does “hard work” is not entitled to the same rewards. Effort isn’t value.

  • Seattle Chris


    When you buy a sandwich with money you earned, are you entitled to eat that sandwich by yourself or must you share it with the sandwich maker, the baker, the cheese maker and the cow? Do you have an obligation to open up your home to the architect, builder, supplier and manufacturer?

    Isn’t it the case that you have already rewarded those contributions through a negotiation of price in which you exchange your labor, intelligence and efforts for theirs? What more is owed? More for the roads, the laws and the police? Fine. But don’t you already pay for them in taxes? And if you are successful, don’t you pay even more than others? Isn’t it likely that you provide jobs that create more wealth and contribute more taxes than most? And if you take the risks to become successful but fail, don’t you pay for that as well?

    And who is the “government [that] put in place [infrastructure] to allow for free flow of traffic, goods and services”? How does the government create wealth? Isn’t the government the people? Isn’t the wealth it spends the wealth that the people create?

    If there is arrogance, is it really on the part of the contributors? Isn’t it on the part of those that did not create and did not risk but that did decide how to take and how to spend?

    I believe the answers to these questions are clear. But it also seems clear that neither you nor the President have even asked them. If you had; if you truly took the time to understand how a society is built and thrives; if you knew what motivates and ensures not just personal success but societal success; you wouldn’t make or echo the divisive claims advanced by our President.

    Please, take the time to think beyond the rhetorical, the convenient and the comforting. Take the risks. Enjoy the reward. We will all be better for it.

  • http://fkclinic.blogspot.com tioedong

    Last time I looked, in the US “we” are the government, and “we” elect folks to build the infrastructure soe “we” can live our own lives.
    By implying “he” or “the government” did these things, he is implying “noblesse oblige”, that the government is not us and the taxes that fund these things are not ours.
    Back to feudalism?

  • thomass

    Makes a weird sort of sense when you think how much Obama has accomplished on his own (and Warren btw). Academics that’ve never publishing anything worthwhile. Politicians… people who worked the system to get ahead (and thought the right thoughts, said the right pc things…).. Have either really earned / worked hard for anything? TFrom their points of views; stuff just happens because others do it. Its is no big surprise they’d think in these terms for the rest of us…. But sorry, just ‘being there’ never worked for me.

  • DAve

    Isn’t it obvious to everyone how eventually this logic leads to the inevitable conclusion that your children belong to the state? After all you didn’t make them by yourself…

  • jaed

    Er, plenty of businesses in this country build their own buildings. Those who don’t, buy or rent them from others who did, paying money for the value they gain. Government does not build buildings for businesses and then hand them the buildings for free.

    Plenty of business owners paid for their education. Many of the most successful are autodidacts. Few, if any, learned everything they needed to create or run their business in a school. The government did not hand them this knowledge.

    Business owners pay taxes for maintenance of the roads. If they use trucks, those trucks pay gas taxes and weight taxes. They pay income taxes and local taxes used for road maintenance. Governments do build roads, but they don’t get these as a free gift either. And yes, businesses do build parking lots for their needs, or rent or buy them (see above concerning buildings).

    Businesses usually buy or rent furniture. They purchase electrical power they use. No freebies here either.

    Yes, investors usually make decisions about their own investments, and risk their own money. If they screw up, they lose their money.

    And as a small-scale businesswoman myself, I can assure you that yes, I do slice cheese when I make a sandwich. So do most people. (What an odd comment. Are you under the impression that every business person has a flunky to slice their cheese? What?)

    Businesses are generally more successful when they operate in cooperation with other businesses, each specializing in what makes sense for them. All benefit from this arrangement. It is not a gift from the government; people spontaneously start doing it because it makes sense for each of them. (And if it were otherwise – if the government forced some businesses to make furniture, for example, in order to benefit other, favored businesses – it would be a monstrous imposition, not a good thing.) The government does build roads and provide courts of law, and these benefits are provided for by taxes (many times over, actually) paid by businesses. There’s no gift anywhere in sight here, and no basis for blackmail demands.

  • thomass

    one last point… I learned to do a lot of stuff in my personal life just to keep from hearing someone else complain about helping me with it.

    If the government didn’t regulate and license everything maybe we could just build the roads and sewers without them… if you (Obama) are going to talk like this then get out of the way and let us do it ourselves. Somehow I think we can get along fine without you.

  • Jim

    How bout we let Obama take credit for successful businesses if he also takes credit for all the ones that failed in the past 4 years

  • http://floppingaces.net drjohn

    Outstanding collection!

  • orthodoc

    Actually, if infrastructure was all the government did (assuming it did it well, which is debatable), that would be fine. The problem is that the majority of government expenditure is in the form of transfer payments such as social security, medicare, medicaid, and entitlement programs of one sort or another. You can argue about whether those are worthy or not, but the net result is the same: taking money from producers and giving it to parasites.
    Oh, and as for paying for the roads and such? Since the top 1% of taxpayers (of which I’m one, thanks to the free ride I get, and of course the 30 years of work that I put in) pay 40% of the taxes, and since that’s more than the bottom 90% combined, YOU’RE WELCOME.

  • Holmes

    Hey, where’s MY business? Somebody’s not paying his fair share!

  • http://joysthoughtsonstuff.wordpress.com Joy F

    On a serious toe though, most of the privileges, infrastructure, etc. was built by someone else, things that allow us to live good lives that we often take for granted. I actually am an “American Success Story,” by any count, came from a poor background, got a good education and became very successful. I have been very blessed. According to you all, I suppose I should be bragging about how I worked my way up and pulled myself out all by myself……..

    Except that I didn’t I went to school on government grants and scholarships from the university. Sure, I was smart maybe……but I had public school teachers that believed in me, family that sacrificed to send me to school, and friends that cheered me on while I worked crazy hours to make it through college. I went to grad school on a fellowship, and was guaranteed a job (my choice of several) on graduation. I’ve worked with small companies overseas, and absolutely, it’s hard. And you see in many countries across Asia, South America, etc. the brilliance and creativity of people in bad circumstances. And wonder “if this person, so creative like this had just had my opportunities – they would be billionaires by now” but they don’t. So they continue to make a living, but try commuting to work by bamboo raft down the Mekong and see how predictable that is.

    The truth is, I have every reason to brag about my accomplishments – but really, they are just circumstantial. Taxpayers dollars paid for the education that enabled me to succeed like this. That’s not saying I didn’t work hard, of course I did. But it is saying that I am very well aware that I could never have accomplished all I did by myself.

    • http://www.saikonetworks.com Max

      Couple of points. I don’t consider any of your points “serious”.

      * No one is arguing that “zomg infrastructure public schools etc.” is bad. Or that taxes are bad.
      * What we are saying is that that the government gets it’s revenues from the citizens, not vice versa.
      * If it’s really all so circumstantial (your words), then what is the value of your opinion in this case?
      * Why do you think a school teacher doing their job is something special?
      * everyone’s taxes do the same as yours. You are not special. But other people pay far more in taxes proportionally than you do, apparently so you can have the luxury of sitting around on a beach all day while we pay your father’s pension.


      • http://joysthoughtsonstuff.wordpress.com Joy F

        Interesting logic. I see why congress can’t get anything done, we (on each side) are to busy attacking each others phrasing, rather being willing to listen to each other and have a logical conversation. I suppose if someone is convinced of something so deeply, no matter what argument is given, it really won’t matter. Whatever explanation, whatever reasoning, it just doesn’t matter, because those who are absolutely convinced of something will continue in, no matter what. You missed the implication as well – that I pay a lot in taxes “render to Ceasar.”

        Here is what I know, I used to be poor, enough to qualify for full pell grants, Medicaid, the works. But what doesn’t seem to be understood is that circumstances often dictate that sort of thing. It’s not just choices. My dad was a brilliant man who in the prime of his life was struck with a terminal disease. My mom didn’t have the resources or the right degree to make up the difference. No one plans that. I struggled to make it for many years, and was in the “safety net” of the system, so I know it well. Now, life is different, I went from the bottom ten percent to the top ten in ten years and I see that as an American success story. But one that I didn’t achieve by myself, not by a long shot. Isn’t that the point of those resources? So that people don’t stay where they are? Or if they have to, they don’t lose everything?

        So yes, I think a lot of it is circumstantial, even the difference in the way we view it. My views are formed in my circumstances as are yours. Because of mine, I find it very difficult not to see how I became successful. But if you have never been at that low point, and needed something from the government, I see why you would attribute everything to personal drive. Our circumstances are different, that’s all, and each shape our beliefs.

        That doesn’t mean we don’t work to improve our circumstances, we all work in what we are given. It’s just recognizing that even my beliefs are framed by being born in America and see the world through an American worldview. My friends in other parts of the world see it very differently. We have different histories, different circumstances.

        Be glad you were born in such blessed circumstances that you can see things the way you do. Most around the world don’t have this luxury.

  • http://joysthoughtsonstuff.wordpress.com Joy F

    I haven’t gotten the impression Obama hates the well off. And I’m not worried about taxes going up that much. Better mine than my parents – they can’t afford it, my father is on government disability, so once again I find myself grateful for taxes……I couldn’t help him while I was in school and he wouldn’t let me quit. It wasn’t his fault, sometimes bad stuff happens, and we help each other right? Someone else’s taxes paid for my success, why shouldn’t some of mine go to help someone else’s? For the record, I also give to scholarship funds now too. It seems the least I can do to give back. I want my taxes to improve infrastructure and public schools, and of course the military, foreign service etc.

  • DaveM

    if you don’t deserve the credit for your business, if your business was a creation of the collective rather than the individual, then does not the collective own your business?

    too many years surrounded by socialists without a teleprompter to shield his tongue from his own beliefs.

  • Bill G

    Any pictures of the “House That Ruth Didn’t Build”?

  • richard40

    Several problems with obamas statement.
    First he has it backwards. It is gov which cannot exist without the wealth generated by our entrepenours. W
    Second, almost all of his examples of cooperation he cites involve gov, when voluntary private cooperation is the most important, and is what really built this country. When our pioneers when into the wilderness, they didn’t have much fed gov help, what they did have was their own resources, and voluntary help from friends and neighbors.
    Third, he posits a false choice, no gov at all, or his current too large bloated fed government. How about a happy medium of fed gov spending of 5-10% of GDP (which we had for most of our nations history), or at least the 18% of GDP we had under Clinton, instead of the current unprecedentedly bloated 25% of GDP, at least 35% more than what we really need.

  • Kristen inDallas

    I will never understand how an administration can out of one side of its mouth say to business owners “That’s not really YOURS, you couldn’t have done it w/out the rest of society” while using the other side of its mouth to push out some of the most oppressive copywrite and intellectual property laws in existance. Telling the powerful and wealthy folks in the entertainment industry “Yeah that’s your chord, you can sue the pants off of any one else that plays it.” and “Art imitates life? no I haven’t heard that before. Certainly the hollywood starlet who says something witty in a movie should be compensated everytime a youtube mash up features the line.” How can a president say this after so much effort on SOPA and PIPA.

    Oh wait… just had a brain moment. Business-owners are typically REPUBLICAN, and therefore deserve no rights where as our Hollywood elites are typically DEMOCRAT and therefore worthy of all manner of priveledge. Nevermind.

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