There was a lot of buzz over the weekend, stretching into today, about these remarks President Obama made during a campaign stop Friday in Roanoke, Va.:
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.
Well, that’s not so controversial, is it? I’ve had some success in my career in journalism, and I am in the habit of referring to the great teachers I had (in college and before), the great upbringing I got from my parents, and some favorable timing/circumstances along the way. Certainly, there are a lot of successful people who want to “give something back” and do so — to churches, their alma maters, to civic organizations …
Wait, what’s that? Obama wants to steer the conversation toward government? Well, I’m not exactly surprised.
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.
OK, I mentioned teachers, too — although Obama does not differentiate between those in public schools or, like his own daughters’ teachers and his own college professors, those in private schools. (I’m a public-schools product myself.) And it has become routine for Obama to harp on the roads and bridges as if that’s necessarily something the federal government must or should be involved in.
But that wasn’t enough for Obama. As the saying goes, he went there:
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.
Now, if you’re expecting me to slam Obama for that comment — and the idea that government’s role in the creation of the Internet means every online entrepreneur should get down on his knees and thank government, or gladly hand over whatever amount of her profits government thinks she owes it — you’re going to be disappointed today.
Nope, my question is: Where’s mine?
If “somebody else” is going around building these businesses for people, when do “they” make it to me? I’d love for “somebody else” come “make that happen” for me. I mean, a business doesn’t “get [started] on its own!”
So … when should I expect “somebody” to call and make the appointment for handing off this new business, Mr. President?
– By Kyle Wingfield