Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Didn't Build That

And neither did you.

While driving through several states on my way to see some dear friends, I stopped at a rest stop. A little ‘pee & stretch’ was needed. At the rest stop, I parked in front of this sign:

I would just like to take the time to thank our 34th President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican, for signing the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 on June 29th of that year. It’s one of the many great accomplishments by government-run American socialism. Without this socialist legislation, I could not have safely driven 500 miles across three state lines, through four states along paved roads and bridges and stopped for an air-conditioned pee on the way to visit people I consider family.

The Eisenhower Interstate System. I didn’t build that. And nobody that built and runs their own business did, either. And they would have no business to run without this prime example of American socialism. No trucks would be able to haul the construction materials to build their office in the first place and no trucks or cars would be able to deliver their goods to customers. Police couldn’t get to your home in an emergency and fire trucks couldn’t, either – both professions are also prime examples of American socialism at its best. And none of these people would have their jobs if they didn’t get an education, paid for by socialist taxes. I could continue giving examples of how everybody benefits from American socialism, proving that nobody makes it completely on their own, but I think I’ve made my point. Businesses, education, police and fire are pretty high on the socialism totem pole, all of which everyone benefits from every day. Hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of times per day.

Socialism. You don’t understand that. That’s why you use the word with malice. And if you think President Obama said you didn’t build your business, that somebody else did – then I pity your willful partisan ignorance. Your brain. You didn’t use that.

Here is a larger chunk of the hour-long speech President Obama made:

“You know what, I’m not gonna see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need ‘em. So, I’m gonna reduce the deficit in a balanced way. 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.”

“If you’ve got a business - you didn’t build that.” That mid-sentence stutter clearly referred to the infrastructure of roads and bridges of the previous sentence - the roads and bridges that enable you to ship your product. Otherwise, if those four words were referring to you not building your business, they would be the opposite in messaging of the entire rest of the speech. You didn’t build roads and bridges. That is a fact. Your socialist taxes were combined with my socialist taxes and Tom's and Dick's and Harry's socialist taxes and utilized by the government to contract construction companies to do it. Romney blatantly took that stutter out of context and presented it as Obama’s entire notion that nobody built anything that they built. Romney lied. To score political points. But Romney lies about everything just to score political points. He must because he has no actual platform or ideas of his own, so he just keeps lying about what Obama says and does. Then, Romney repeats exactly what the President said, but says the President didn’t say what he said. Because Romney’s a liar.

Here’s Romney’s rebuttal to Obama’s speech:

“On Friday, [President Obama] said something which the Governor alluded to, which really reveals what he thinks about our country. About, about our people, about free enterprise, about freedom, about individual initiative, about America. And you've heard it already, I see some signs that reference it. I just want to say it exactly as he said it. Speaking about small business and business of all kind he said this: 'If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.' How many people here - would the people who began a business or are leading a business in this room, please stand up? Wow. Thank you. Thank you. Don't sit down, stand up, stand up, keep standing up, keep standing up. Let me ask you - I know, I know that you recognize a lot of people - no, don't sit down. I want you still up, keep standing up. I know that you recognize a lot of people help you in a business. Perhaps the bank, the investors. There is no question your mom and dad, your school teachers. The people who provide roads, the fire, the police. A lot of people help. But let me ask you this. Did you build your business? If you did, raise your hand. Take that, Mr. President! This is what’s happening in this country. These people are entrepreneurs.”

‘Take that, Mr. President?’ What a mature adult. Romney copies and repeats a condensed, simplified version of the EXACT message Obama gave in his speech, claims it as his own thought, then chastises the President? And all the while using double-speak that makes Obama seem like a foreigner that doesn't understand "our" country. And he had everyone stand up to make them feel important. A great crowd-pleasing tactic. Hollow. But crowd pleasing. He had to whip them up with false platitudes because he has nothing of actual substance to say. Then he repeated what Obama said. Wait, I thought they were supposed to hate that? At least Romney didn't try to hold Obama down and cut off his hair.

The funny part is the commercial that Romney put out that shows a bunch of business owners complaining that they built their businesses all by themselves without any help from anyone else ever, thank you very much, Mr. President. And then he held a multi-state-wide "We Did Build This" campaign showcasing small business owners - most of whom have received loans or contracts from the government. 

The biggest difference between Obama and Romney on this issue can be boiled down to that first paragraph of Obama’s speech. Obama claims he won’t give tax breaks to himself and other millionaires and raise taxes on the poor to cover it. And Romney? His plan is to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent and cut corporate taxes even more. There have been two potential outcomes estimated for this plan: 1.) Everybody pays lower taxes, causing government revenue to plummet and explode the deficit, causing a depression that will make the Great Depression look like an appetizer, plunging America into a permanent third-world scenario: the end of America. 2.) A revenue-neutral plan causes the bottom 95% of Americans to pay more taxes, causing a permanent poverty-stricken America where millionaires and billionaires lord over a middle-ages sort of fiefdom.

Millionaires and billionaires didn’t build that, but they will certainly take it.

If you let them.


Good day.

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