Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

In a recent speech Obama made the statement that implied business owners didn't build their businesses -- "someone else made that happen"

I'm going to put the full text and context of what was said because I've seen left-wing writers trying to diminish what Obama said by claiming it was taken out of context.

So here's the full context:

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.

This is a view held by many liberals -- mostly ones who have never actually made payroll.  The argument goes as follows:
 
The liberal argument in a nutshell
 
Your business can only thrive because it exists in a country with good infrastructure, an uncorrupt court system, property rights enforced by the government, free education for you and your work force and even the Internet itself was started as a government endeavor. Therefore, you owe your success to the government.
 
This can be boiled down to saying that you didn't really draw that picture with that pencil. Something else made that happen -- a tree.
Lots of people have "built a house". Yet, I don't think I've ever heard someone correct someone who has said "Yea, this is the first house we've built" to remind them "No, you didn't build that, someone else did -- carpenters, brick layers, etc."
 
Why it's nonsense
 
First off, the President's argument is a strawman. I've never met an entrepreneur who thought they succeeded because "they were just so smart". Intelligence isn't even a key ingredient in being successful.  The fact that Obama said this indicates to me that he hasn't even bothered to read an article on the topic because what makes someone a successful business builder is an oft-covered topic.
 
To recap, here are the key ingredients in being a successful entrepreneur:
 
1. Risk taking.  This is the single biggest element that differentiates an entrepreneur from everyone else. I have had (And lost) friends over the years who just couldn't understand how I, someone they considered inferior to them in terms of intelligence, polish, people skills, etc. became so financially successful.  The key difference - risk.  I was willing to risk losing everything I had to pursue a dream.
 
2. Perseverance.  Very few business owners meet success right away. I know I sure didn't. My first major entrepreneurial endeavor was to write an OS/2 game called Galactic Civilizations. And I didn't make a dime on it because the publisher never paid royalties. It cost me not just 2 years of my life but one of my best friends who felt very burned by the whole thing.  It requires years and years of sustained hard work to become successful in most cases.  
 
3. Delayed gratification.  This is another non-obvious and yet crucial ingredient to success.  While my friends were getting sports cars, DVD players (back in the early 90s a big expense), and putting down payments on their first houses, I was driving a Chevette, owned no stereo or other consumer gadgets and lived in a tiny apartment.  This meant I could focus my very limited financial resources into the business. I went without, for years, to pursue a longer term goal.
 
That's it.
 
Those are the 3 key things. Note that "being smart" isn't one of them.  
 
None of those 3 skills I developed were because of the government. If credit can be given they can be given to society. But society is not government.  Culture is not government. The values my mom drilled into me and the ideas my dad, uncle, etc. gave to me have nothing to do with the government.
 
It was our society -- our culture, that includes a respect for the rule of law, property rights, and a general "can do it" spirit. Our government (historically) is a reflection of our society. Government doesn't create culture.
 
Government services are not an "investment"
 
Yes, I had some really great teachers growing up.  My 5th grade teacher made a huge difference in my life.  I had a high school English teacher who made me the editor of our literary magazine which gave me the confidence in myself. Public schools, paid for by tax payers. Taxes my parents paid on my behalf while I was growing up and then taxes I paid myself when I started working when I was 15. This does not take away the importance of education or any of the other important public goods I benefited from.
 
A person does not owe another person anything beyond the agreed upon price for a product or service.  If a man sells you a hammer that you use to build something, the hammer seller has no claim on what you build with it. He made a trade with you that both parties thought was equal. He was not investing in you with the expectation that he had some claim to what you created.
 
The government has no money other than the money it extracts from its citizens. We have no moral obligation to the government in itself anymore than you have a moral obligation to your power company or cable provider. It provides a set of services to us that have been agreed on by our elected representatives and we pay for those services through taxes.  
 
Government has no more claim on anything we do that makes use of those services than a tree has a claim on what you create with a pencil.

Comments (Page 5)
on Aug 01, 2012

Either 'interpretation' - the real one or Eggplant999's - is ideological idiocy.  Whether he meant roads and infrastructure or businesses, same glaringly stupid concept.  From the 'smartest President evah'.

on Aug 03, 2012

Well, you didn't build it, most of the rich are rich from taking advantage of labor, or as he was trying to say I think, that our country is ridiculously good for business's compared to other first world countries tax brackets, most people take advantage of government programs, its just they don't complain about the one's that benefit them. Regardless Obama is a faux-populist who was trying to take advantage of people's belief's in the government's positive influence, our country could do so much more for the poor and disenfranchised, but we instead put business first, perhaps thats what he meant.

on Aug 03, 2012

PoliticalVortexZach
Please go and listen to his full statement and not believe the Fox News lie. It will always amaze me how they get so many to believe their twisted wording.

How about dumping the spin and just reading the actual speech.

He did say that.  He did mean that.  Obama is a clean articulate man.  And he would never make such a bad grammatical speech as mismatching his subject with his predicate.  If he was referring to the roads and bridges, we all know he would have said "those", not "that".  That can only grammatically link to one thing.  the singular business.

on Aug 03, 2012

Seems the truthers are out in force.  So many new registrants for one single post.

Beyond the speech, what is very evident is that Obama screwed up, he knows it, and has issued orders to his minions to obfuscate the issue.  Unfortunately, most people are not stupid.  And can easily google and read the speech.  And indeed if we accept the meme that he is so smart, we know he would never make such petty grammatical errors.  Ergo he must have meant what he said. 

 

Read it for yourself for all those who are still trying to spin that as plural: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/13/remarks-president-campaign-event-roanoke-virginia

on Aug 03, 2012

forzeti
most of the rich are rich from taking advantage of labor

That may have been true at one time - in slave-holding states 160 years ago.  Not many businesses run on slave labor these days, although Apple has been accused of it.

on Aug 03, 2012

That's because it's cheaper to hire people and pay them nowadays than it is to buy a person.

on Aug 03, 2012

It is really shocking the number of proud entrepreneurs in this country who don't know what a pronoun is. Either that or it's even more surprising how many entrepreneurs think that they build roads. Or simply the number of entrepreneurs who think it's ok to post ridiculously sensationalist headlines because hey, Fox News does it.

I really don't understand that. And of course, by "that" I mean "Obama is a socialist who thinks I didn't build the roads in front of my business or the internet itself."

You mean to tell me that the Greatest Orator Of All Time can't keep his pronouns straight?  If he was referencing the roads and bridges he would have said "If you've got a business - you didn't build  those."  Roads AND bridges.. two objects.  That refers to a singular object.  

You can play grammar games all you want.  He meant exactly what he said, exactly the way Brad quoted and referenced it.  It was a rare moment of honesty that, while I find the sentiment horribly wrong, was refreshing in that you don't often see a liberal politician admit that their ideology places the government, not business, not the family, and certainly not the voter, at the center of the universe.  Everything extends from the government and Obama's comment admits exactly that world view.  

on Aug 03, 2012

Kantok

You mean to tell me that the Greatest Orator Of All Time can't keep his pronouns straight?  If he was referencing the roads and bridges he would have said "If you've got a business - you didn't build  those."  Roads AND bridges.. two objects.  That refers to a singular object.  

You can play grammar games all you want. 

 

As can you! With yourself, because no one else is!

 

Everyone else is also free to assume the ambiguity of the pronoun, which upon reading the full context of the speech as so many of you have kindly instructed me to do, clearly refers to the infrastructure that is relevant to you if you are business owner.

 

There is only one possibility... Obama isn't the greatest orator of all time and messed up a pronoun.  Better base the whole Republican campaign around it.

 

Tomorrow's headline: Obama uses gender-neutral "they" to refer to Sarah Palin. Obama thinks Sarah Palin has a penis? Really?

on Aug 04, 2012

Everyone else is also free to assume the ambiguity of the pronoun, which upon reading the full context of the speech as so many of you have kindly instructed me to do, clearly refers to the infrastructure that is relevant to you if you are business owner.



There is only one possibility... Obama isn't the greatest orator of all time and messed up a pronoun. Better base the whole Republican campaign around it.



Tomorrow's headline: Obama uses gender-neutral "they" to refer to Sarah Palin. Obama thinks Sarah Palin has a penis? Really?

Fail.

on Aug 04, 2012

There is only one possibility... Obama isn't the greatest orator of all time and messed up a pronoun.  Better base the whole Republican campaign around it.

1. No, there are 2 possibilities. Either he messed up the pronoun or he didn't.

Just because one of the possibilities casts your god at a bad a light does not mean the other possibilities are suddenly impossible (as I repeatedly explain to religious people).

2. The one you consider the "only possibility" is extremely implausible and is at odds with his ideology in general and the content of this speech specifically.

3. Furthermore everyone has already pointed out that his argument is retarded even if you accept his alternative interpretation. Due to myriad reasons such as:

3a. Those business pay for the roads and bridges with their taxes.

3b. Roads and bridges are not what causes an economy/business to be successful or fail.

on Aug 04, 2012

taltamir
1. No, there are 2 possibilities. Either he messed up the pronoun or he didn't.

Just because one of the possibilities casts your god at a bad a light does not mean the other possibilities are suddenly impossible (as I repeatedly explain to religious people).

2. The one you consider the "only possibility" is extremely implausible and is at odds with his ideology in general and the content of this speech specifically.

3. Furthermore everyone has already pointed out that his argument is retarded even if you accept his alternative interpretation. Due to myriad reasons such as:

3a. Those business pay for the roads and bridges with their taxes.

3b. Roads and bridges are not what causes an economy/business to be successful or fail.

Succeed.

on Aug 04, 2012

Obama's quote:

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.

 

Everyone else is also free to assume the ambiguity of the pronoun, which upon reading the full context of the speech as so many of you have kindly instructed me to do, clearly refers to the infrastructure that is relevant to you if you are business owner.

 

Obama's use of the word "that" was neither ambiguous in contextual meaning nor in grammatical usage.

First in grammatical usage: "That" is a demonstrative pronoun or pronominal adjective. As such, the demonstrative pronoun is closest to the noun it is describing. Obama correctly used the pronoun "that" to avoid repeating the noun "Business".

Second, as to the contextual meaning, we may look at what Obama said about government research creating the Internet. Did he mean government research needed roads and bridges to create the Internet?

 

 

 

 

on Aug 04, 2012

It is simply amazing the lengths you guys will go to to pretend you don't know how pronouns work.  Well, if you really want us to believe that the language of the country you were born into is really that difficult for you to get you head around, who am I to argue?  It's a shame though, not speaking english very well can definitely hold you back when looking for a job and whatnot.  

Hey...maybe these guys are immigrants and just haven't learned all the different things pronouns can be used for, and some of the common misunderstandings that can result if they are mis-read.  Yeah, that sounds a lot better...they're not partisan hacks, they're simply bewildered immigrants that did not learn english in-depth enough to understand what we're all talking about.  Perhaps the President should have released the transcript for his speech in like spanish and polish and such-like so the non-native residents of America would not be so flummoxed.  

on Aug 04, 2012

lulapilgrim


Second, as to the contextual meaning, we may look at what Obama said about government research creating the Internet. Did he mean government research needed roads and bridges to create the Internet?

 

 

 

I KNOW for a fact that you didn't mean to do this, but you actually said something factual there lulapilgrim.  The government employees that developed the prototype for the internet DID in truth need roads and bridges to get to work.  So did all those people that turned that little cluster of computers into the Internet over the years.  

I know what you're thinking lulapilgrim..."Oh crap!  I said something that made sense however unintentionally!"  Yeah, too late to take it back now.

on Aug 04, 2012

taltamir




3. Furthermore everyone has already pointed out that his argument is retarded even if you accept his alternative interpretation. Due to myriad reasons such as:

3a. Those business pay for the roads and bridges with their taxes.

3b. Roads and bridges are not what causes an economy/business to be successful or fail.

 

Actually, it's not at odds with his stated beliefs at all.  In fact if you think that the President hasn't been touting the importance of infrastructure his entire political career then you haven't been paying attention buddy.  Those businesses certainly do pay for some of the infrastructure that services them, but not for all by a far sight.  We all had to pay up for that.  Also chances are the infrastructure that your business depends on every minute was in place before your business was there, minus connection fees and all that.

3b up there is pretty good too.  You're actually saying that infrastructure can't cause a business to fail?  Well try opening your business where that power and internet and gas main doesn't exist...run and maintain all those services yourself and then let us all know how eye-poppingly profitable your brave little start-up is.  

To top it all off, states with better infrastructure have more efficient and profitable businesses.  How much do the combined businesses in a major city lose every hour their power grid is down?  Don't matter which metropolitan economy you care to name there, it's a huge freaking number.  This isn't specialty economic data I'm laying down on you here...it's basic business sense.

Meta
Views
» 11657
Comments
» 89
Category
Sponsored Links