President Barack Obama restarted a class warfare-brand of rhetoric that has incensed thousands of hardworking Americans. Obama was delivering a speech to supporters in Roanoke, Virginia when he made the comments that affluent Americans did not achieve their success on their own. Prior to making his comments, Obama issued a warning that without tax increase on the rich, cutting the deficit will cause dramatic cuts in healthcare, education, transportation, basic research and other programs.
Obama said the following when defending his administration’s deficit-reduction plan:
“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.”
Obama also said that the collective spirit of the country is the stimulant caused by individual success but personal initiative should only receive tiny praise. “There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own,” Obama said. “I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.”
Obama said that prosperous Americans who have made wealth through their labor should thank police officers, teachers, construction workers and others in similar professions for helping them reach their wealth. He also said that as a part of their thanks they should be happy to pay more taxes. The comments made by Obama seem to be similar to those made by Elizabeth Warren, who said in September that “there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.” Warren also said the following:
“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.
Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”