July 18, 2012

The misspoken line that will haunt Obama: "You didn't build that."



He was trying to make the same point that Elizabeth Warren made a while back — that anyone who is successful in American is successful in part because of the work of others — building roads, providing a stable system of law and order, educating the people hired to work, etc. etc. At the core, we have a banal truth that everyone can agree with. But there are differences in emphasis and outright misstatement that can pop up and look horrible taken out of context.

Here's how Warren put it:
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.
Now, that was really well put, a plain spoken statement of the truth, with a passionate edge that spins some listeners toward the idea of higher taxes for the rich and irritates the hell out of those who hear the power of these words and can't point to any actual misstatement.

And then there's Obama:
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 boldface part is a blunder. He couldn't have meant to say that, and he must be really sorry he did. He's got the core idea there: You got some help. Then, in the blunder, he needed a few more words: If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that alone. Somebody else must have helped you make that happen. Anyone who likes Obama can say, in context, you can tell these additional words are implied. Someone more neutral — me, perhaps! — would say, obviously those additional words were intended, but it was nevertheless revealing that he let it slip out in that form. We learn something about his orientation toward business, government, individual achievement, and the collective, and we should pay attention to that. And anyone who opposes Obama is going to nail him with these words, using them for humorous effect over and over again.

A Google search for "'you didn't build that' obama" turns up 485,000 results. An image search turns up many visual jokes.

Here's a useful website that somebody built didn't build.

245 comments:

1 – 200 of 245   Newer›   Newest»
Shanna said...

He couldn't have meant to say that

This is wishful thinking...the same kind that got the guy elected in the first place.

That or he's just an idiot. Take your pick.

prairie wind said...

He couldn't have meant to say that, and he must be really sorry he did.

...it was nevertheless revealing that he let it slip out in that form.


So, you think he really meant to lie? And he must be sorry he didn't?

Ann Althouse said...

If you think that last line is funny, let me be clear: I didn't make that joke.

EMD said...

Do they not get that the factory builders and business owners are ALSO PAYING FOR THE ROADS and TEACHERS?

Ross said...

Clearly, he didn't do that blunder on his own. Someone else helped him along the way.

chickelit said...

He may just as well have said: "If you made an invention, you didn't conceive that -- somebody else inspired you." He abrogates creativity itself.

Meade said...

"Here's a useful website that somebody built didn't build."

You didn't build that joke.

Tim said...

"The misspoken line that will haunt Obama: "You didn't build that."

Really?

Haunt Obama?

I'm looking for evidence that Obama voters are smart enough to figure out they wasted their vote on the least experienced person ever nominated for president by a major political party.

I haven't found that evidence, yet.

And if Romney can't convince enough of those Obama voters in enough key states, it won't matter.

It's an embarrassing statement to be sure, but given the catalog of missteps and epic failures, the fact this guy isn't polling at the hardcore, committed Democrat baseline of about 38% tells you American is afflicted with too many idiot voters.

He very likely has nothing to worry about.

gregq said...

"you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate;"

Excuse me? My best employees went to parochial schools. So, shall I kick back part of my income to the Catholic Church? Should every business that hires people who went to parochial schools tithe to the Catholic Church?

What about the home schooled?

Sorry, there's a lot that's wrong w/ what Warren said.

Meade said...

Oh. I see I wasn't the first to make that comment.

Unknown said...

Sorry Ann, I have to disagree. What Elizabeth Warren said was that entrepreneurs use resources that "the rest of us paid for." Uhm, so did the entrepreneurs. Warren, and honestly Obama as well, directly state or at least imply that these business owners somehow scammed the rest of us by not paying their taxes for these gov't goodies. In fact, rich folks paid more as a percentage of overall taxes and as a percentage of their own income. That's what folks are mocking. And both Obama and Warren deserve every bit of mockery for this silliness.

campy said...

No, it's not going to haunt him. Nobody's paying attention to the campaign now, except for people who've already made up their minds. Once Labor Day comes and the undecideds wake up, this will be a non-factor. They will never see any of these sites.

And if Mittens even hints at bringing it up, expect screams of "RACISM!!!!" to shut him down fast.

Bob Ellison said...

It is not often said, but should be noted, that entrepreneurs really do tend to risk a lot-- wealth, life, liberty, security, and everything else with value. Obama thinks those risks are without value.

EMD said...

Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

What an absolute dumb ass.

It's as bad as Ted Stevens' series of tubes comment.

AprilApple said...

"Because you drove to work on a road that you paid for with your tax dollars, because you were taught by a teacher that was paid with your tax dollars, what you created, what you did, doesn't count. All glory belongs to the government."

Repulsive.

Ann Althouse said...

"So, you think he really meant to lie? And he must be sorry he didn't?"

He didn't make that mistake. Somebody else did.

Hey... wait a minute! Meade is telling me Ross is already making that joke. I thought of it independently.

Damn. These jokes are making themselves.

Seriously, we are not making these jokes anymore. Somebody else already made them.

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

Wait. You didn't make that observation on your own. Someone pointed it out to you.

tim maguire said...

Far from a simple truth, Warren's statement has at its core a critical misrepresentation--the suggestion that the business owner was the lucky recipient of free roads, schools, and police protection.

No.

Those rods, schools, and police are financed through taxes, which the business owner pays every year just like everyone else.


None of it was free, as she clearly suggests.

And why give Obama the benefit of categorizing his line as a misstatement? Do you have any evidence he didn't mean to say it?

Ann Althouse said...

You think you are original? Whatever you say could be said because a whole lot of other people created language and the awareness of humor. You may have cobbled together the last bit of your idea, but you were brought 99% of the way by all those other people who made it possible to say that and it would have meant nothing if there were no one around to read and understand your joke. So God bless!

gregq said...

In short, I am paying for the benefits that society gave me. I'm paying people to work for me, and I'm buying goods from other people.

If those payments don't match the cost of getting those things to me (including the costs of the roads, police, etc), then it's because some government idiot is subsidizing things provided by a campaign contributor, not because I'm robbing anyone.

You want to fix that problem? Great! Let's cut back the size and scope of government, so no one is getting the unearned.

Old Dad said...

The fallacy in Warren's logic is that taxpayers have already paid for the relevant services, however,incompetently rendered.

Both the successful and the unsuccessful venture is compelled to continue to pay for these services.

The President spoke off prompter, always a dangerous proposition for an arrogant twit who doesn't realize that he is full of shit.

Shanna said...

What Elizabeth Warren said was that entrepreneurs use resources that "the rest of us paid for." Uhm, so did the entrepreneurs.

Indeed. Not to mention that we are probably all using the roads, which is why we as a society decided to pay for them collectively, and there are any number of people who are using those roads and other resources and they paid nothing at all.

EMD said...

If find it equally revealing Althouse thinks the line is misspoken.

AprilApple said...

Elizabeth Warren, the arrogant leftist, says...
..."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;..."

The rest of us? Screw you, Elizabeth. We all paid, and the job-creators, risk takers and the "evil rich" paid the most.

FloridaSteve said...

I agree with ever word Ann wrote. But I still hope it causes him agony from now until November because even the "intended" message is idiotic when you look at the actual sliding scale of taxes paid.

Paddy O said...

This is how religions get started. The "you didn't build that" argument has to end some where. Who is Obama's Unbuilt Builder?

Sorun said...

Obama says some really stupid stuff, so I'm not convinced he misspoke.

Here's another one: "This was the moment when … the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Jan Koenig said...

There's an important piece missing in most of the analysis I've seen about this comment. Even if we give BO the benefit of the doubt and reconstruct his comments as Ann suggests, the fact remains that every single bit of the "help" that the entrepreneur receives was 100% paid for by...drum roll please...BUSINESSES. That government-created internet he mentions? Paid for 100% by taxes on wages paid by businesses. Without businesses, government doesn't have squat. So ultimately, it's not business that "didn't build it", it's government.

drozz said...

"Now, that was really well put, a plain spoken statement of the truth, with a passionate edge that spins some listeners toward the idea of higher taxes for the rich and irritates the hell out of those who hear the power of these words and can't point to any actual misstatement."

i can point to a misstatement. by using the term "the rest of us paid for", warren excludes the business owner who paid just as much, if not more than "the rest of us".

of course entepreneurs got help throughout their life. but who assumes all risk in the business? if the business fails, as most do, does that "great teacher" fail as well? does the collective assume bankruptcy?

hell no.

and one can infer what obama meant was that you didn't build it alone (which i still have a problem with). but given obamas vast knowledge on economic issues including small business facillitation, i have to read his words at their face value.

and it's insulting. very insulting.

Tank said...

Con man.

Con man gonna con.

We learn the most about the con man when (1) he slips and tells too much of what he really thinks and/or (2) he doesn't know we're listening.

Don't forget, this is the guy who felt like he was behind enemy lines during the very short time he worked for a business. He has a very warped view.

Matthew Sablan said...

I'm pretty sure he just sort of jumbled what he wanted to say. Sort of like the public sector is doing fine. Oh, if only we had an idiot like Bush in office so that the comedians could cash some easy pay checks.

Tim said...

This is funny: http://didntbuildthat.com/

Regardless, Obama's statement is entirely consistent with a Marxist worldview (Yes, Robert Cook - it is), in which the successful are only successful because they exploited others.

This, in turn, justifies the State expropriating private property for redistribution to the likes of Robert Cook, Garage Mahal and all the other grifters and leaches.

That, or Obama is showing the benefit of applied affirmative action, in which he isn't nearly as smart or as well educated as his voters hoped he would be, and he just (again) stupidly said something stupid.

gregq said...

"the fact this guy isn't polling at the hardcore, committed Democrat baseline of about 38%"

Take a look at past results. The hard core committed Democrat baseline is about 45%. He's rarely more than 2 pts above that.

Lonetown said...

For your information and Elizabeths. the roads were built by the lowest bidder.

In the best case without graft.

dmoelling said...

He did mean what he said. Warren knew enough as a Lawyer to qualify her statement a little.

But for Warren in MA the roads were originally built as Indian paths or by the farmers without government help. Later they were toll roads built by private enterprise. Only later were these government maintained. Same goes for courts and cops. These were part time (often unpaid) positions with criminals collared by citizens and turned over to the constable. Here in New England we still have lots of unpaid government officials, volunteer fire departments and other communal but not funded services

Chris said...

Ayn Rand:

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

“Who?”

“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, P1C9

AprilApple said...

Elizabeth Warren Says:

"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.

Really?
hmmm. Lets see - once again, we all pay for the police, not just tax cheating leftists. Oh and many businesses pay for their own security out of their own pockets.

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DaveO said...

"Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."

That's just as bad. The e Internet was envisioned to keep communications open in case of nuclear attack.

Bob Ellison said...

He's wearing a wife-beater under that nice dress shirt. Why wear that? It's not going to hide sweat stains or help wick away sweat. It doesn't dress up your look, unless your point is to say "I'm wearing a wife-beater under this dress shirt." Barack, do you want us to think Michelle couldn't kick your ass back to Hawaii?

I'm just trying to channel the Professor a bit here. But seriously, what is the point of that shirt?

Tibore said...

"If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Sounds like his resume, candidacy, and Presidency.

Croppy Boy said...

You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: we the people built roads hoping that someone like you would come along and move goods to market on them (so we could buy them); we the people paid to educate workers hoping that someone like you would come along and hire them so that we the people might have employment to enrich us materially and spiritually; we the people created police and fire forces hoping to protect the valuable things that you create for us. We the people want what you can provide and we were afraid that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory that we wanted. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless.

We the government want to take a big hunk of it because part of the underlying social contract that you never signed (that is in fact a figment our our imagination designed to trick the dim wits among you) and is therefore naturally unenforceable except by the power we the government wield through taxation of the wealth that you have made.

rehajm said...

Ann Althouse said...

You think you are original? Whatever you say could be said because a whole lot of other people created language and the awareness of humor. You may have cobbled together the last bit of your idea, but you were brought 99% of the way by all those other people who made it possible to say that and it would have meant nothing if there were no one around to read and understand your joke. So God bless!

I am now mopping up the coffee spit-take I just had that someone else created...

traditionalguy said...

I don't see this as a gaffe at all. Obama is intentionally waiving around the big stick of the Mafia Protection Racket that IS our new style of government that no longer has to face an electorate that knows how to think its way out of the mind control propaganda arts narratives developed by the Media-politico Complex.

If he can fool the 51% that fear losing their Checks from the Government, then whatever he says does come true. He merely decrees and the Laws passed in Congress wither away while Congress sits and does nothing and the SCOTUS just applauds like the Greek Chorus.

Obama knows that his words are in control.

rhhardin said...

you didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory

Democrats.

AprilApple said...

Elizabeth Warren says:

"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."

God bless? That sounds arrogant.

Pay it forward to the next kid? What does that mean? Is that code for, you better hand over your hard work to the government? Who is the "next kid"? After all, democrats promote confiscatory and punitive tax rates that force families to sell their businesses after the parents die, because the kids cannot afford to pay the tax. So the business must be sold.
Is that what she means?

EDH said...

Actually, I think most people, including Althouse, have it wrong.

"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."

I think Obama meant to say private business people don't "build" (or more accurately, don't invest in) public goods like roads and bridges, not that they didn't build the business itself. (Of course, private business could invest in those things if government policy allowed.)

Anyway, Obama's real feelings, or at least the populist feelings he wishes to stoke, bled through.

Ross said...

This is a great joke thread! But remember, someone else made it happen.

Patrick said...

The central error that the President makes (because it is among his core beliefs) is that the very successful are successful not because of hard work and keen insight into what the market needs or wants, but because they have grabbed an extra share of the pie from those less fortunate.

I think it is correct that the President was referring to infrastructure when he said "you didn't build that," but that does not change my attitude toward his central error. He does not believe that successful people are entitled to the wealth they created. He sees them as taking more than their share, not increasing the size of the pie.

Patrick said...

Of course when he says "you didn't build that" about roads and bridges, he fails to note that the successful paid for them, and in most cases paid more for them than the less successful.

jacksonjay said...

His "... spread the wealth" comment to Joe the Plumber in '08 was a similar, careless off the cuff! They need to rethink this teleprompter weaing and maybe wait until after they get him re-elected!

jacksonjay said...

...teleprompter weaning...

Salamandyr said...

It's all bullshit...Warren and Obama both.

The guy who builds a business doesn't get anything that everybody else doesn't also get. The difference between him and, for instance, me, is that he or she was willing to risk his time, capital, and ability on an endeavor that managed to pay off.

It's not the schools, we both had access to those, and he's paying more for them than me. It's not the roads. We both ride on them, and he pays more for them than me. It's not the social safety net. We both have it, and he pays more for it than me (and pays for it for everybody else too).

So yeah, the success of the businessman, relative to the rest of us? It is pretty much all him.

Bill said...

"...and irritates the hell out of those who hear the power of these words and can't point to any actual misstatement."

Gah! What rubbish. It irritates the hell out of me because it's offensive and condescending and, yes, wrong. Misstatements? 1) "the rest of us paid for" implies that the entrepreneur did not pay for it when in fact not only did he/she pay for it as well, he/she probably paid significantly more towards it past, present, and future. 2) You may not think that the sneering attitude ("Good for you" "God bless" "Keep a big hunk of it") is a misstatement and maybe it's not in the sense that she really means it, but it IS in the sense of implying that success is the result of the state and not vice versa.

As for Obama's "misstatement", if I'm being charitable, I'll say it was a misstatement because "you didn't build that" was probably supposed to be "you didn't build those". Maybe he was referring to the roads and bridges from the previous sentence.

But I'm not feeling charitable because I think they're both horrible people who genuinely believe the nonsense they spout. I'm tired of being denigrated by them and I'd like very much for them to stop "helping".

Tom Spaulding said...

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;

Where did the "rest of us" get the money to pay the taxes to pay for the roads?

...you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate;

Where did the "rest of us" get the money to pay the taxes to pay for the teachers?

you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.

Where did the "rest of us" get the money to pay the taxes to pay for the cops?


Now, that was really well put, a plain spoken statement of the truth, with a passionate edge that spins some listeners toward the idea of higher taxes for the rich and irritates the hell out of those who hear the power of these words and can't point to any actual misstatement.

Bullshit.

ALL money initially comes from an employer who took the risk, made a profit, hired you to work at his profitable enterprise and gave you enough salary to live on AND pay your taxes. What do I win?

AprilApple said...

I think Elizabeth Warren is a manipulative leftwing cog. Nothing new, just clever in her attemps to fool you.
I guess that's why she is so popular with the hard core left.

Tibore said...

And on a serious note:

"But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

No one argues that. Well, no one other than airheaded Libertarian candidates, but that's a digression. Anyway, of course we all recognize social contract. The problem is core vs. peripheral. The social contract helps everyone when it goes to good schooling, roads, public protection and safety, but when it comes to things like underutilized high speed rail, saving large businesses from bankruptcy at the expense of businesses that managed finances properly (yes, I'm talking about GM here), and ever expanding social programs for those who don't put those taxes in to begin with, honest questions arise as to the choices government makes.

And when government demonstrates incompetency over and over again on those core missions (murders in central Chicago, slow police response only after robberies, no practical police response for thefts below a certain dollar amount, bad roads in too many places, etc.), you wonder if they're spending the money we all agree should be allocated to those tasks properly.

The social contract is only the start of the discussion. It's disingenuous to make it out as if conservatives are attacking the core of the idea that we're all in things together. If that were the case, why would conservatives be so strongly associated with law enforcement and the military? What conservatives attack is the incompetency liberals display when it comes to allocating funds, as well as the disingenuousness they display when they argue for higher taxes to cure the distribution problems they themselves create.

That's the real issue. Warren's speech is pretty good, but it still essentially functions as a strawman argument.

Ken said...

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;

To be clear, the government has given itself a monopoly on these two industries and now this jackass Warren is claiming how awesome government is by keeping others from building such things.

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.

Wrong again. We don't have to worry about "marauding bands" because Americans are decent and respectful people, unlike Warren, who thinks other people's stuff is hers to do with as she pleases.

bagoh20 said...

Look, I really don't wanna do anything. I wanna just sit in Hawaii with a Mai Tai. If I promise not to do anything ever again, can I be left alone? I'll stay out of it, and you all can elect yourselves a 1/2 Black, or 1/32 Injun, or whatever recipe for guilt free life you want, but just don't call me when the toilet clogs. I'm off the grid.

Shit! Property tax. I gotta come back. I forgot, now we can be taxed for not doing stuff too. Suicide isn't painless - it's got bills. How about suspended animation? Yea, that's it. I fall in a glacier, and come back after global warming releases me, and I live free in the post-industrial, pre-industrial age. I'll invent income tax and become rich beyond my dreams.

Bob Ellison said...

What Tom and Bill said.

But there are big cases, like the LIBOR scandal and the Madoff crimes, that show how big, rich, well-connected people can dip their hands into the money stream and steal from the rest of us.

Obama wants us to think all business is like that. It's all stealing; it's all ownership of the means of production.

It's all Marxist.

Lucien said...

Warren's point, and its diluted progeny as stated by Obama, zeroes in on a key difference between the left and capitalist libertarians.

The point begs for the rejoinder: "Oh yeah, well let's see how well you all do without the entrepreneurs."

And that, of course, gives you the plot of "Atlas Shrugged".

Ken said...

Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

This is such a bald faced lie, I can't believe people fall for it. Nearly all technologies used to build the internet were developed by privately owned companies. The internet was built by privately owned companies.

The idea that the private sector would not have developed the few technologies (namely packet switching) the government developed is absurd in the extreme.

Obama, along with Warren, is quite simply a pompous, arrogant, ignoramus.

Shanna said...

you didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory

But you do now! We're from the government and we're here to help.

rhhardin said...

Warren is wrong in the first place, and meant what Obama meant, that there's no limit to justified taxes. They're trading on the analogy with ethics, where there's no limit to your obligation but what you're personally up to. Nobody requires you to rant with the insane, Cavell put it somewhere, but you might discover that you're up to it, or not.

An economic system though creates wealth through a definite mechanism, that what you sell is worth less to you than what you sell it for, and at the same time worth more to the buyer that what he buys it for. The difference in perceived worth is new wealth. There is no other source.

Every new tax drives the perceived worths closer together, and reduces the amount of new wealth created. Some transactions go negative and no longer happen at all.

This is largely the state of the US economy, owing to new imposed costs.

The bridges and schools are constant background that are not part of the new wealth at all, except to maintain the country at an accustomed standard of living if the government doesn't ruin it.

The successful businesses depend on somebody knowing what to do next so that there is a large gap between perceived worths.

The more taxes, the less there is that will work.

Almost Ali said...

Say what we will, Obama's first term has been hugely successful. Just like he said, he’s redistributed wealth, blocked usable energy production, and implemented Robert Mugabe's farm policy by – among other things - ignoring the current drought in the pursuit of ethanol - ie "cornathol".

In fact, he's been so successful that I can no longer, in good conscience, call him a jive turkey. His BS has become the truth. Because lots of people bought it. And who am I to argue with such unprecedented, unparalleled success.

And finally, Mr. Obama proved that Karl Marx & Co. can never be discredited. For long. In other words, Reagan was a chump.

Christopher in MA said...

Warren's statement was textbook rubbish from beginning to end, Althouse. Law is your metier, not economics.

And you can stop hiding Little Black Jesus behind your skirts. He didn't blunder or misspeak. He said what he believes. He's a class-envy rabblerouser, a corrupt Chicago hack with the economic understanding of a box of rocks.

You expiated your white guilt by voting for this stuttering moron; you needn't cosset him anymore.

FleetUSA said...

I think choom meant it exactly as he said it. Remember his Marxist roots.

Bob Ellison said...

bagoh20, you must first renounce American citizenship, and then come back as an illegal alien. Then you're home-free.

Rocketeer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gerry said...

Obama just isn't that bright. Really.

bagoh20 said...

We still have to fear marauding bands... from OSHA, EPA, Tax authorities, EEOC,..., and the criminals as well, who know the cops won't get there in time. The criminals know that business owners are armed if the have anything worth stealing.

In Talkeetna, AK they elected a cat as mayor, and have reelected him for 15 years. A cat is better than a fool, a crook, or a lawyer. In L.A. we have a mayor who failed the bar exam 4 times. I bet a cat wouldn't, if you could convince him to even bother.

Rocketeer said...

"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."

Due to ongoing legal battles with the US Government, Gibson Guitars could not be reached for comment.

prairie wind said...

You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory...

Remember Gibson guitars?

edutcher said...

Not so much, "he couldn't have meant" , as, "he wasn't supposed to".

As Neal Boortz put it this morning, he went off script and something of him came out, the same way it did when he told Joe the Plumber he wanted to spread the wealth around.

Or when he told the chi-chi San Fiasco fundraiser about the bitter clingers in western PA.

He believes it; the problem is, he also believes his own press about what a great orator he is and, when he starts riffing, we get stuff about the InterContinental Railroad.

Or the truth about him.

WV "HosedBo" (no kidding) Make up your own.

SGT Ted said...

What Warren and Obama said was Ruling Class bullshit to justify wealth transfers and endless government interference and progressive social engineering.

Neither of them have built much of anything except careers of self aggrandizement and political posturing.

prairie wind said...

Great memories remember alike, Rocketeer...

Tom Spaulding said...

Now, that was really well put, a plain spoken statement of the truth,

This is what passes for truth at UW-Law?

Wow. A graduating class of DUI and Worker's Comp lawyers, coming to a billboard near the 'hood in your city soon...if we let them use "our" roads.

Rick67 said...

"Whatever you say could be said because a whole lot of other people created language and the awareness of humor."

Ann raises a cogent point which one encounters in the movie "Flash of Genius". Recall the courtroom scene in which the Ford representative says, in effect, there's notion original about his design for intermittent windshield wipers, because it uses standard electronic components that already existed and others made.

Whereupon Kearns has someone bring him a copy of "Tale of Two Cities"(? trying to recall). Who invented the words and grammar? And yet we *rightly* give credit to the author. Similarly we should *rightly* give credit to the person who had the idea and worked her tail off for years to build up her business - and who alone would have suffered the loss for failure.

(Others have pointed out the fallacies in Warren's sophistry.)

One could argue since God created/invented everything in the first place he gets first dibs. Hey wait a second.

Bob Ellison said...

Tom, don't worry too much; lawyerism is crashing.

Rocketeer said...

As Neal Boortz put it this morning, he went off script and something of him came out, the same way it did when he told Joe the Plumber he wanted to spread the wealth around.

I believe this is the most noteworthy "Kinsley gaffe" of the last twelve years, and I believe Obama will pay dearly for it. But I'm still in the "Democrats are gonna regret the Supreme Court ACA 'win'" camp too, so take it with whatever measure of salt you deem appropriate.

X said...

and can't point to any actual misstatement.


I object to the "we" part. Warren and Obama have worked most of their lives at institutions that don't pay taxes, so they didn't pay for shit.

Balfegor said...

Warren's spiel is superficially appealing, but only because she's arguing against a straw man argument for no taxes.

But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

"Pay forward" has nothing to do with it, because the only part that's paid "forward" is paying for crappy public school education. If that's the argument for taxes, it's pretty weak because you're not paying for value there. What Warren is clearly trying to argue, though, is that you're paying for current services (roads, police, etc.).

That said, this is where Warren steals her base -- "a hunk of that" doesn't mean a "hunk" of the size she specifies. It just means you pay some tax. Sure! Maybe it's more than you pay now. Maybe it's less.

What Warren says is superficially appealing only because she's not actually making an argument for the policy she's trying to promote. She's making an argument that taxes aren't totally illegitimate, that you do get something back in exchange. Not an argument that taxes should be higher.

On the gripping hand, yes, she did a much better rhetorical job than the President, who did a crap job. I guess the teleprompter wasn't working.

edutcher said...

Rocketeer said...

As Neal Boortz put it this morning, he went off script and something of him came out, the same way it did when he told Joe the Plumber he wanted to spread the wealth around.

I believe this is the most noteworthy "Kinsley gaffe" of the last twelve years, and I believe Obama will pay dearly for it. But I'm still in the "Democrats are gonna regret the Supreme Court ACA 'win'" camp too, so take it with whatever measure of salt you deem appropriate.


Since the SCOTUS "victory" means a repeal of ObamaTax can't be filibustered, I agree with you completely, sir

Ann Althouse said...

"Hunk" is a great word.

You've got to give Warren credit for fantastic rhetoric.

richard mcenroe said...

The government didn't build the internet to so companies could make money off it. They built it so government could maintain communication and control in the event of nuclear war or major disaster. Just more Obama ignorance.

The fact that businesses figured out how to use this network...paid for with their tax dollars...to make money and put people to work only highlights the superiority of the private sector.

Balfegor said...

Perhaps when Obama said:

Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

He meant to say something like:

Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business that uses those roads and bridges, you didn't build them. Somebody else made that happen.

Clearly his little spiel was meant to be a knock-off of Warren's, and that's more or less what she said, even if she said it more eloquently.

James said...

Why is anyone surprised by this latest statement?(I'd call it a gaffe but this is him expressing what he actually believes). In the last election he plagiarized Deval Patrick, a fellow Axelrod client; perhaps he has a "thing" for quoting Massachusetts politicians.

But just like when he told Joe the Plumber that he intends to "spread the wealth" around and the voters shrugged it off, this too will be ignored by those who will vote for him despite his declared intention to wreck our economic system.

Balfegor said...

"Hunk" is a great word.

You've got to give Warren credit for fantastic rhetoric
.

Yes, she did a great job. I don't have the video before me here, but I think she did it on the fly too -- or were those prepared remarks?

bagoh20 said...

"Now, that was really well put, a plain spoken statement of the truth,"

Yea, that's pretty disappointing Althouse.

It's not the people who talk about things that make the world livable, peaceful, and available to the rest of us to enjoy, and play important in. It's the hard, dirty work of the builders, fixers, inventors, and not those who talk about lofty ideas from their talking parlors that were clean and ready when they arrived and which leave their mind, when they walk out.

"The funny thing about that little white speck on the top of chicken shit. That little white speck is chicken shit too." ~ Earnest Tucker

MayBee said...

1.Obama's comments (paraphrasing) if you think you're smart, guess what? There are lots of smart people pretty much gives his game away. If you are successful, you did it on the backs of others and you are darn lucky. That's it.

2.Someone should let Gibson Guitars know they don't have to worry about marauding gangs taking everything out of their factory.

3. Is there someone out there arguing they've existed in a bubble and succeeded without any other human participating? Why does Obama think the point Althouse thinks he's making should be made?

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

I've always thought Greg Mankiw though pleasant and correct came across as cold. Maybe he's typecast for the economist role, but the graph/table you quoted from him yesterday was chilling in what it suggested. The median voter now gets more out of the government than he pays in. Maybe that voter feels guilty, has a hostile dependent relationship to the state. If so, then Obama's rhetoric is perfect. The rich guys didn't do it either, don't feel guilty, take more. That inhibits progress because people, even those with surplus funds, have a limited amount of time and resources. For instance, maybe Henry Ford, one of Edison's research engineers, harassed by government regulators and his investors complying with tax laws wouldn't have had the ability to build the Ford. The car industry might be primarily German.

SGT Ted said...

Funny how they leave out the fact that the money that paid for the roads and bridges came from the private sector to begin with and govenrment is completely dependent on "other people building stuff" and the government is utterly reliant on skimming off a portion of every financial transaction they can think of, taxing the money 2 or 3 times.

Tom Spaulding said...

.WHERE DOES THE MONEY USED TO PAY YOUR TAXES COME FROM?

it comes from an employer who pays you enough to live on even AFTER the Government extracts ever-increasing percentages of it to pay for "essential" things we "all" need.

It's HIS money, he earned it first, the Government takes a chunk from him, he gives some of it to you when you earn a share of it in exchange for your labor, then the Government takes a chunk of yours, too.

By all means, let's demonize THAT guy, the Prime Mover. And call it Truth.

Ayn Rand was a Prophet.

Hagar said...

The Professor wants to convince herself that the lines were misspoken, so that she can vote for him again, but they were not; it is what he really feels.

And it is beyond Marxism or Socialism as ve usually bandy those terms about. Collectivism in the "Borg" sense may be more like it.

Jay said...

Now, that was really well put, a plain spoken statement of the truth

Really?

Because I didn't sign up for the "social contract" Elizabeth Warren articulated there.

MayBee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

Now, that was really well put, a plain spoken statement of the truth, ... and irritates the hell out of those who hear the power of these words and can't point to any actual misstatement.

The mistatement is that "...the rest of us paid for...". Those things may (or may not have been in the case of private schools) paid for with taxes, but given that the top 20% paid 68% of all Federal Taxes in 2009 all those things were not paid for by "the rest of us" they were paid for by those evil bastards: The Rich™.

And when you look at the Individual Income Tax Liabilities the Top 20% paid a whopping 94% of the taxes.

The Collective We didn't pay those taxes, someone else paid that.

MayBee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

Don't know why the link didn't work, because I didn't make that.

http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43373

AprilApple said...

I thought the government was supposed to work for us?
We cannot afford infrastructure anymore because of the bloated system. Instead of paying a reasonable price for infrastructure, it costs too much, and our infrastructure is rotting. Shovel ready. What a joke.
Instead we pay for crony capitalism, lobbyists, and the democrat client class. No wonder they want to raise taxes.

Tom Spaulding said...

"Hunk" is a great word.

You've got to give Warren credit for fantastic rhetoric.


Yes, let's give out the Fantastic Rhetoric Awards.

Other Fantastically Deserving Recipients:

Satan
Josef Goebbels
Leni Riefenstahl
Louis Farrakhan
Lonesome Rhodes

Fantastic Rhetoricians, we all agree.

(Yeah, I went there, Mr. Godwin.)

I only seek to point out alternative "truths", each well-put and plainly spoken, worthy of praise.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Obama was given his success without having to really work for it. It's natural that he thinks that's the way it is for everybody.

Steve Koch said...

Stupider than usual post by Althouse. Althouse does not get how our economy works. Workers can pay those taxes because they have jobs. They have jobs because somebody took a chance and started a company. Althouse has spent almost her entire career in academia and is mostly clueless about the real world and how it works. Props to Althouse for having progressed more than most lefty academics but she still has a long way to go.

The old joke about academics is that they know everything about nothing because they are so specialized. This specialization leads to a lack of general knowledge and perspective that significantly reduces their common sense and judgement. Their vast self regard (perplexing to the rest of us) inhibits their ability to recognize these flaws, let alone overcome them.

MayBee said...

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 first paragraph is the context Althouse didn't add.
It makes it quite different than what Warren was saying (setting aside Warren was right or wrong).

Obama is specifically not simply saying simply the smart person got help to be successful.
Obama is downplaying- trying almost to negate- the importance of the individual in his own success.

SeanF said...

The trouble with Obama's and Warren's point (and I apologize if somebody else already said this in the 100 or so posts before mine), is this:

All the "help" which, for example, Bill Gates got from the government was available to everybody else, too. Which means, that, ultimately the difference between what Bill Gates achieved and what Joe Nobody achieved is entirely due to the difference between Bill Gates and Joe Nobody.

And since there are plenty of Joe Nobody's who achieved absolutely nothing or even went backwards, it is not illogical to conclude that everything Bill Gates achieved is due to Bill Gates himself.

CatherineM said...

But the profits made by those business are taxed, which goes to those roads. They hire more people with those profits and their income is taxed for those roads.

I hate that the media just gives him a pass.

Steve Koch said...

Tom Spaulding said...

"Yes, let's give out the Fantastic Rhetoric Awards.

Other Fantastically Deserving Recipients:

Satan
Josef Goebbels
Leni Riefenstahl

(Yeah, I went there, Mr. Godwin.)"

Riefenstahl deserves far more references. Brilliant film maker, wonderful example of what lefty film makers routinely do (albeit far less skillfully). Godwin's law is useful but exemptions should be granted when the comparisons to Nazis are particularly apt. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat history.

Thorley Winston said...

In short, I am paying for the benefits that society gave me. I'm paying people to work for me, and I'm buying goods from other people.

Exactly if you’ve hired a worker that was educated in a taxpayer-funded school, then you’re already paying for the schools through the wages you pay the worker by paying them a higher wage then they would be able to get but for their taxpayer-funded education.

Colonel Angus said...

Warren's statement is just as absurd as it implies the business owner who builds a factory wasn't a taxpayer prior to opening the factory and therefore did not contribute to the building of roads, bridges, or police and fire depts.

The issue is not that business should pay taxes but how much.

Obama's statement was just stupid on stilts. Then again, it simply is what I have come to expect from him.

wyo sis said...

SeanF
Amen.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Apparently, logic is no longer taught.

Sure, we all got help. That's what the Social Contract, that goes back centuries, means.

Now here's where logic comes in . . .

What is the connection between:

1. We all had help

2. A strong central, monopolistic Federal Government, overriding the States and municipalities, is therefore entitled to significant amounts of an individual's earnings and accumulated wealth, confiscated from them at the barrel of a gun, if normal threats don't work?

Again, where is the fucking connection between those two statements?????

Sheridan said...

Better if Warren had used the word "chunk". A "chunk" of something feels manageable whereas a "hunk" of something can feel overwhelming! More chunks of money, less hunks!

Bruce Hayden said...

Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

What was developed by the federal government, or really, with government money (since much of it was actually developed by universities and private companies) was the TCP/IP protocol stack. But, even there, it was a close thing, with an almost fateful flaw that almost threw the game to Digital Equipment and their DECNet. Read about this in Computer yesterday (the monthly mag from the IEEE Computer Society) from a couple of months ago. Apparently, ARAPAnet worked well with one type of traffic, say email, but when it was ported to run outside of its initial environment of IMPs, it would fall apart when hit with a lot of file transfers mixed in. Something like that. This was not a problem with the proprietary networks of the time like DECNet, SNA, etc. The solution turned out to be what they called a "slow start" algorithm. At the time, there were only four mainline sources of TCP/IP, and the fix, developed at Berkely for their UNIX (the other big computer companies also had versions, but they weren't well distributed), went into the other three fairly quickly, and is still in every TCP/IP implementation in use today.

This is a reminder of how close it was to having had a proprietary solution instead of the government funded one. DECNet, along with some of the other proprietary solutions (but arguably not IBM's SNA) were much better designed and robust at the time. And, a lot of academics had experience with the DEC systems, which is why their networking architecture was the runner up.

As a note, a year or so before that, I had been a lead on a project for trying to port the Sperry (now Unisys) version of TCP/IP to run over X.25. The project essentially failed because we couldn't get low level X.25 addressing information down the stack to the link level (below the IP level).

leslyn said...

I think it will haunt him because of the way it can be interpreted. But not until the election, when, it will be overshadowed by more immediate things. Still some may remember and it may make a difference for them.

Warren, and honestly Obama as well, directly state or at least imply that these business owners somehow scammed the rest of us by not paying their taxes for these gov't goodies.

That, however, is off the mark. While I think Romney's tax rate will be a liability for him, no one believes that most of the rich aren't paying taxes. Except for GE....

Godot said...

Every atom of every road (teacher, firetruck, etc.) was built from the dust of stars. Who or what built those?

Get back to me with a verifiable answer and I'll cut a check. Until then, STFU about everything you've done for me.

Sloanasaurus said...

This line sums up the difference not only between conservatives and liberals, but also the difference between Obama democrats and the Clinton Democrats. Obama believes in statism. That the state owns you. That the State has an investment in everything you do and gets a piece when you succeed, or at least lets you keep part of your success.

This ideology is the opposite of a society based on individual liberty - where the government is just a means for collective action in a free society.... The Clinton democrats believed that America was the second notion and not the first.

If Romney can continue to emphasize that this election is about this major difference (which he does), maybe he can pull Clinton Democrats along with him too.

Do you want our future to be based on individual liberty? Or do you want people permanently dependent on the the direction of the government.

Robert Cook said...

Lesser Evilism

PatCA said...

EDH, I agree with you. I think he meant "you didn't build the roads and bridges" that he invested in. The guy can't make a single coherent sentence without TOTUS so I think he was just all over the place.

Of course, one might way it's a Freudian slip. He does believe what he said!

TMink said...

Mispoken my ass. That came straight from his commie loving, capitalist hating heart.

Trey

Chip Ahoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

Oh man, I'm having one of those déjà vu things happening again really super hard this time inside and out like it's really other people all the time who already experienced this.

Sloanasaurus said...

It should also be noted that the government is more often a hinderence to building a business through all its regulations and cronyism.

During the height of the great depression, a common criticism of FDR's new taxes on the rich were why the governemnt should get to share in the success of a business but not the failure. In other words, when a business person invests in a business and fails, they don't get a payment back from the government for the money they invested. It's a total loss. The best a person can do is offset that loss with other gains. But when the business is successful, the government keeps part of the success through taxes. Because of this bargain (and for many other reasons), it is impossible to argue that the government is an "investor" in a person's business. You can only be an investor if you share in the losses as well as the gains.

Tom Spaulding said...

What the Hell is Tim Geithner doing on my road?

Bender said...

He didn't mean to say what he said? He meant to say something else?

It would be nice if the camera were to pull back here to verify, but judging from the trademark tennis-match back-and-forth, left-and-right head movements, it looks an awful lot like President Teleprompter is reading the speech off of the teleprompter.

Christopher in MA said...

You know, Robert, when you link to a screed that says, among other nonsense, On cultural issues, Obama will be better (less bad); his judicial appointments will be better, he'll appoint better people to run government agencies, and so on, calls people like me terminally whacko and has the temerity to call Dubya a dull witted Yalie frat boy without once addressing the terminal stupidity of the stuttering moron in the White House, you're not going to win many converts to the Green Party.

Robert Cook said...

You know, Robert, when you link to a screed that says, among other nonsense, On cultural issues, Obama will be better (less bad); his judicial appointments will be better, he'll appoint better people to run government agencies, and so on, calls people like me terminally whacko and has the temerity to call Dubya a dull witted Yalie frat boy without once addressing the terminal stupidity of the stuttering moron in the White House, you're not going to win many converts to the Green Party."

Can you deny Bush is/was a "dull-witted Yalie Frat boy?" That about sums him up.

That aside, who's trying to win converts to the Green Party? I'm not a member of the Green Party. I'm just posting a column that observes the ways in which one might or might not wish to see Obama as a "lesser evil" than Romney.

I don't see him as a lesser evil myself, but as an equal evil. We're fucked whoever sits in White House next year. I didn't vote for Obama before and I won't this time around. I'll vote for Jill Stein (of the Green Party) simply to vote against either major party candidate.

Purvi Rajani said...

I don't get how you think he "misspoke." Did you listen to all his remarks? He not only insults hardworking entrepreneurs by saying they didn't build their businesses but then he mocks them for their intelligence and work ethic.

There was nothing misspoken in that speech. He let the mask slip, just like with clinging to guns and religion.

“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,” says Obama. Later he continued with “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.

DADvocate said...

you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

While Warren stated herself more clearly, it's also clear she, nor Obama, nor the Democrats, nor most Republicans pay forward. They steal forward. They've run up a horrible debt for our children to pay. We're leaving the country in worse shape for our children than any previous generation since the Civil War.

ErnieG said...

As Elizabeth Warren's rant, and Barack Obama's similar rant, were making the news, I have been reading Thomas Sowell's Marxism: Philosophy and Economics. In spite of Dr. Sowell's clear and lucid style, it isn't easy. Marx is tough sledding. Based on my understanding, Obama and Warren were both spouting a 100 proof Marxist concept: Surplus Value. According to this concept, all accumulated wealth in a capitalist economy is the accumulation of value created by workers in excess of their own labor-cost. This Marx called Surplus Value, and is the illegitimate source of all capitalists' wealth. Thus, no capitalist can claim to be the legitimate owner of his wealth. It was created by the sweat of the brow of others, and is fair game for taxation, or outright seizure (come the revolution).

Kirk Parker said...

"If we haven't seen as far as others, it's only because we have giants standing on our shoulders."

Kensington said...

The professor's admiration for Warren's loathsome rhetoric, both in terms of content as well as style, is part of why I fully expect a "How Romney Lost Me" posting this Fall.

And it will be as nonsensical as the one from four years ago about McCain.

Jay said...

But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

WTF does this even mean?

Especially considering a "big hunk" of what is being paid goes to the pensions of government retirees.

How, exactly, does that help "the next kid"?

And I have to say Ann, you believing that rhetoric is frankly embarrassing.

Richard Dolan said...

"Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen ..."

Listening to him speak, I thought the antecedent for the 'that' in 'you didn't build that' was the 'roads and bridges' he had been talking about just before. When he delivers the line, he pauses just before saying 'you didn't built that', and you can almost hear the wheels turning as he tries to decide what to say to keep his flow going.

So I think it's fair to say he probably misspoke. How his words were perceived is not what he meant to say. Just as it is also fair to note that (a) what he meant to say deserves all of the criticism that is coming his way; and (b) what he meant to say was both surprising and revealing. O demonizes business; profit is a dirty word for him; and by attacking success in the business world, he will certainly cause America to experience less of it.

Fortunately, Nov 6 is just around the corner.

Joe said...

Sometimes, even narcissists tell the truth about themselves. The revealing line is "There was a great teacher somewhere in your life." Obama didn't succeed on his own--his lot in life really was handed to him and he sees everything in light of his experience and Marxist world view.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"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."

This is obviously false. The roads were paid for by the same people that moved their goods to the market.

The workers were educated by the same people that later hired them.

The police and fire forces were paid for by the same people who own businesses.

Three lies, unless Warren is clearly an incompetent boob only in this race because she is a Harvard woman, in which case I will allow her the benefit of the doubt of being guilty of clumsy misstatements and not outright falsehoods.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"But I want to be clear: We all helped to pay for the roads, schools, and police that we all use."

This, a truthful statement, isn't what Warren wanted to be heard, so she lied.

AprilApple said...

Another double standard revealed.
If a Republican would have said such a thing, he would be expected to grovel and explain and apologize.
A democrat tells us all what's in his heart-- this odd, awkward, un-American, anti-entrepreneurial you-must-worship-government you didn’t do it on your own- statement, and so many rush to help him.

Obama should grovel and explain his way out of this just like anyone else. I suspect he doesn’t feel the need to do it because--- 1: The media will gladly cover for him. 2. He believes what he said is true. 3. You’re racist

Robert Cook said...

"The roads were paid for by the same people that moved their goods to the market.

"The workers were educated by the same people that later hired them.

"The police and fire forces were paid for by the same people who own businesses."


So...the taxes that went to pay for roads, schools, and police and fire services do not come from you and me and all other American taxpayers? It comes only from the pockets of the owners of capital?

ndspinelli said...

Tom Spaulding w/ they rhetorical and metaphorical knockout! "Down goes Althouse..down goes Althouse"[nasal, NY, Howard Cosell voice].

EMD said...

So...the taxes that went to pay for roads, schools, and police and fire services do not come from you and me and all other American taxpayers? It comes only from the pockets of the owners of capital?


You're either dense or duplicitous.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us [HELPED YOU TO] (pay) for; you hired workers the rest of us [HELPED YOU TO] (pay) to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us [HELPED YOU TO] (pay) for."

The truth doesn't mollify or deceive to our benefit; Lie we must!

Ken said...

leslyn,

no one believes that most of the rich aren't paying taxes. Except for GE....

Are you now claiming that a corporation is a person?

Darcy said...

Can you deny Bush is/was a "dull-witted Yalie Frat boy?"

Of course I can. Would it do any good? No. It wouldn't.

Ken said...

Robert Cook,

Lesser Evilism: "with Mitt Romney and his Republican-Tea Party cohort for the alternative, the lesser evil case for Obama seems a no-brainer."

Only to fools. Obama's entire agenda is based on political patronage. He and his political cohorts will decide who gets money and how much.

The idea that choosing someone who believes that people can and should make decisions on how much to work and make, as well as how much to spend and on what is the alternative to this. This is not only NOT evil, it is good. And your "lesser evilism" chooses political patronage and a caste system as a "no brainer".

You are a true idiot.

Can you deny Bush is/was a "dull-witted Yalie Frat boy?"

He's no more dull witted than Obama. Additionally, being a Yalie Frat boy is in no way damning. And neither is being dull witted. I'd rather a dull witted president who knew and understood his own limits to what we've currently got in Obama: a man who has never really been challenged, who has had things just handed to him, who has failed miserably as a man and politician, but blames all others, all because he sees himself as so smart he knows what's best for everyone, though it's likely he's not much above average in intelligence if at all. The hubris and arrogance represented by Obama and his type of politician is what is dragging this country down.

AprilApple said...

Ernie G nails it.

Fritz said...

Ann wrote "Now, that was really well put, a plain spoken statement of the truth"

There is no truth other than revealing a cargo cult mentality. How are those roads doing in Detroit? Commerce is the sole purpose of roads and when government takes too much of a cut from the commerce on them, it destroys the commerce and eventually itself.

Roger J. said...

Seems to me law professors dont know a lot about economics--understandable of course, but doesnt stop them from parsing the words, albeit with no underlying knowledge.

Robert Cook said...

Ken,

Did you comprehend the article you read? The writer does not conclude that Obama is necessarily the lesser evil. He engages in a series of rhetorical explorations of the question, going back and forth as to whether the answer may be yes or no.

Robert Cook said...

I will add: in my reading of the column, the writer concludes that, for him, Obama is at least an equal evil to Romney, an conclusion with which I agree.

DADvocate said...

his orientation toward business, government, individual achievement, and the collective

Obama's real orientation is towards narcissistic self-promotion. He panders to the basest of instincts in others, hatred and jealousy in particular.

Can you deny Bush is/was a "dull-witted Yalie Frat boy?"

Of course, Obama's delighted in trotting out his transcripts so all could revel in his genius.

NOT.

Lyle said...

The individual is what came first though... always. Then came the government and the improved roads and bridges, which was the creation of the people who got their first.

Unknown said...

...and can't point to any actual misstatement

Recall Bastiat. Elizabeth Warren's argument fails not on what is said, but on what is unsaid.

The roads "the rest of us paid for," and everything else, required surplus wealth, subsequently collected as taxes. That surplus wealth came from private, not public activities. They are the result of successful commerce (and subsequently support it); they are not its cause.

Also, the private actions which were taxed must have been successful--because they generated income or profit which could be taxed. If the business had failed, no surplus wealth would have followed, nor any taxes collected.

Despite Elizabeth Warren's implication that the publicly-funded infrastructure deserves primary credit for the taxable successes, consider this: The government is first in line to "share" in the fruits of a profitable outcome. Who is there to "share," in the losses of an unprofitable venture? The public? The government? Elizabeth Warren? You? Me?

Sure, we the people support legal bankruptcy, and we provide certain forms of welfare. But entrepreneurial relief? The overwhelming bulk of failed investment depletes private treasures, not public treasuries, even with loan guarantees and tax credits.

Warren's argument fails not because of any "misstatement"; it fails because it addresses only what is seen, and in this what is unseen (and unspoken) predominates and prevails.

tina said...

Everyone pays some kind of taxes that contribute to the "collective". But only the visionaries, the risk takers, the talented "build" things -- businesses, inventions, etc... Of their own initiative. Not because the government tells them to and holds their hand. And the "builders" also pay taxes and employ people who then also pay taxes.

His ideology is frightening.

Sunslut7 said...

Ann,
As an employer, may I point out that I and my firm have paid disproportionately for the resources used by my firm. My property taxes, sales taxes and income taxes are considerblly higher than the average citizen's.
Many of those citizens don't pay taxes at all. When are they going to 'pay forward'?

Christopher in MA said...

Can you deny Bush is/was a 'dull witted Yalie frat boy?' That about sums him up.

That dull witted frat boy earned a masters degree from Harvard Business School. He also had demonstrably better college grades than either John Kerry or divinity-school washout Al Gore. Just because your ilk associate "tangle-tongued" with "idiocy" doesn't mean you're right.

I can and do deny it. I can point to examples. But you wouldn't listen. So I won't bother.

Calypso Facto said...

Obama's "misspoken" view of America:

"If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen because you’ve been a little lazy over the last couple of decades and you’ve lost your ambition, your imagination and your willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge, causing you to become bitter and cling to guns and religion and antipathy toward people who aren’t like you, and to act stupidly, just like a typical white person or our troops who are just air-raiding villages and killing civilians. Frankly, that’s why I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism, and that’s why it’s necessary for me to fundamentally transform America and spread the wealth around — just as soon as I get more flexibility in a second term."

Peter Kirsanow

ricpic said...

Aside from his obvious hatred of excellence, Obama simply has no concept of the sustained effort required to get an enterprise up and running and then continuing to run in the face of the inevitable crises that pop up and threaten its very survival. AA to the core he's never had to make a sustained effort to achieve because he's never achieved, he's been handed. Everything. He's a contemptible nothing. The horror is that he's president because good but disastrously naive people wanted to feel extra special good about themselves just once.

n.n said...

They're both wrong.

part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along

First, everyone pays taxes; although, a large minority receives compensation which exceeds their outlay. Unfortunately, the distribution is progressive and therefore engenders corruption.

Second, "pay forward" is not to the "next kid," but to the "general Welfare." Americans overwhelmingly reject involuntary exploitation to benefit individual good, other than that which arises incidentally from opportunities fostered through collective contribution (e.g. taxation).

I suppose the difference in perspective is analogous to an appreciation of the forest, individual trees, or some composite of both. The American perspective begins with the trees and ends with the forest. The left-wing ideological alternative reverses the relationship.

leslyn said...

Ken said... leslyn, "no one believes that most of the rich aren't paying taxes. Except for GE.... "

Are you now claiming that a corporation is a person?

Ha. Good one. Well before Citizens United the U.S. Code said it was.

IMHO, that decision could have been about half a page long.

Ken said...

Robert Cook,

Ken,

Did you comprehend the article you read?


Yes. Did you?

BarryD said...

"So, you think he really meant to lie? And he must be sorry he didn't?"

Yup.

Or he was too dumb to know how the truth would be received.

One or the other.

BarryD said...

("the truth" meaning the truth about his perceptions and beliefs, not the truth about the world)

Ken said...

leslyn,

Well before Citizens United the U.S. Code said it was.

You mean when SCOTUS reaffirmed 191 years of SCOTUS precedent.

Pastafarian said...

Robert Cooke: "So...the taxes that went to pay for roads, schools, and police and fire services do not come from you and me and all other American taxpayers? It comes only from the pockets of the owners of capital?"

Ummm....yeah, Bob. As hard as this is for you to wrap your head around, all capital comes from someone who owns it before it's taken from them.

Durr.

My money is, you know, mine, until the government takes it from me to build a road (or, much more likely, to redistribute it to one of their supporters.). Those people who pay little or nothing in taxes (the bottom half of the income distribution, because they have very little capital, because they spend their days playing Call of Duty) contibute little or nothing for that road.

rhhardin said...

@Ernie G
Surplus Value. According to this concept, all accumulated wealth in a capitalist economy is the accumulation of value created by workers in excess of their own labor-cost. This Marx called Surplus Value, and is the illegitimate source of all capitalists' wealth.

The mistake is the labor theory of value.

There are in fact two values, not one: the value the worker puts on his work, and the value the employer puts on his work.

These must differ, or there's no job. The worker must value his work at less than he's paid, and the employer must value the work at more than he pays.

The values differ by what Marx calls the surplus value, which Marx then decides must point to the true single value of the work.

This difference though is the sole source of wealth creation, owing to there being two values. Both sides of the trade are better off. This couldn't happen otherwise.

The capitalist system leaves its distribution to the market, so it goes to the most productive use, so far as anybody can determine.

The socialist system kills the golden goose entirely. There is no surplus and there is no job.

How like today.

Balfegor said...

Re: Someonehastosayit:

Apparently, logic is no longer taught.

She's a lawyer not a logician, and the life of the law is not reason but rhetoric.

I agree her argument is missing the key link. Its:

1. You get something in return for the tax you pay, so you should pay some tax.

2. ????

3. HIGHER TAXES!

She's making a political/rhetorical argument, though, not a logical argument, so judging it by the standards of logic misses the point.

Robert Cook said...

Ken, apparently you didn't, your claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

Tim said...

Kensington said...

"The professor's admiration for Warren's loathsome rhetoric, both in terms of content as well as style, is part of why I fully expect a "How Romney Lost Me" posting this Fall.

And it will be as nonsensical as the one from four years ago about McCain."


Except, Romney never had her. Althouse has not declared she's voting against Obama; to the degree it matters to one, one must assume she'll vote for Obama again.

No one should be surprised if every Obama voter votes Obama again. In many respects, it's a Rorschach Test: if one thought he was good enough for the job in '08, nothing has happened since to dissuade one of that now.

His multiple, obvious failures? Obviously predictable, and priced into the vote. Democrat voters have lesser standards for Democrat candidates.

Unknown said...

@Balfegor "...judging it by the standard of logic misses the point."

For twenty-odd centuries (until just recently), logic was taught not only to make correct pronouncements, but to judge the worth of other's statements, especially those made by people trained in the art of persuasion (i.e., rhetoric).

Judging rhetoric with logic doesn't miss the point; it is the point.

Ken said...

Robert Cook,

Ken, apparently you didn't, your claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

Well now my feelings are hurt.

furious_a said...

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.

Sorry, not buying Fauxcahontas' less maladroit utterance, either. She's going beyond staking a claim (justifiably so) on a fraction of the earnings of the enterprises benefitting from public goods, she's excluding the enterprises themselves from the pool of taxpayers, as if they haven't already paid their share (income/property taxes, licenses, usage fees, worker training).

Lie-awatha also faked her heritage on resumes and plagiarized Native American recipes for a cookbook, but that's another story.

shirley elizabeth said...

The last marauding bands I saw were OWS, and, from what I remember, there was big uproar over the cops protecting businesses from them.

viator said...

He must have misread the teleprompter

Sigivald said...

On Warren, Ann said: Now, that was really well put, a plain spoken statement of the truth,

Well, except for the "social contract" part about "paying it forward" - which is opinion rather than "truth" - and for all the implications, especially the part where taxes already paid for infrastructure and law-and-order, and it's only a "big chunk" (what? not even "most"?) that the creator of wealth gets to keep by suffrance of Mommy The State.

Warren wants taxes to pay for a lot more than "what's necessary for business", and tried to elide law-and-order-and-fire-departments-and-roads into the entire welfare state in all its excess by cheap sleight of hand.

(Oddly, Hayek gives a better defense of a "social safety net" than Elizabeth Warren does, in the Road to Serfdom declaring it practically necessary as well as, IIRC, morally defensible.

Warren doesn't even bother to mention it, in exchange for a cheap rhetorical tactic that's offensive in how stupid it takes the reader to be.)

Yes, the President merely misspoke, but at the same time one can't help but get the idea from all his rhetoric and actions, that he really doesn't understand how business and wealth creation work, at all.

I don't think he'd understand spontaneous order if it figuratively bit him.

Darcy said...

I do not believe Obama misspoke. I believe he clarified. (To be clear.)

Christy said...

As I understand it, goods are moved on roads only 50% of us paid for. Wonder how many of that 50
% are Democrats?

X said...

Warren, Obama, & Althouse. 3 affirmative action recipients talking about whether entrepreneurs have earned their success. Hilarious.

Ralph L said...

Ann Althouse said...
Seriously, we are not making these jokes anymore. Somebody else already made them
It's OK. Somebody else laughed at them.

Cedarford said...

*****I did note one flaw in Romney's rebuttal****

In his speeches so far, he has unfortunately gone "Owner-centric".

Henry Ford built Ford...one man.
Steve Jobs built Apple...one man.

In taking this line, Romney does what he would never do at Bain...focus on the Owner(s) as the only thing a business entails that has credit for building a business.

It's bad politics, too..to credit just the business owner and ignore the tens of thousands of contributing employees and the millions of customers that built the business alongside The Owner.

Employees that helped grow Apple and Ford, that added their sweat and innovation, The tens of millions in their longtime customer bases that stuck with Ford and Apple - and by existing allowed further business financing, assurances that a market awaited new stuff.

If I was Romney I would move from wanting the vote of the single or tiny group of Hero Owners and Entrepreneurs through praise of them as the only factor in creating and building business..
to wanting to acknowledge the vastly greater numbers of employees and customers that also Built That Business.

And to perhaps co-opt the Warren and Obama argument a bit by saying what Republicans have always stated...that a community is vital to getting and growing businesses. A community that has a good tax rate, that has a pro-business regulatory system, that has the services businesses need to grow and the sort of potential employees and customers businesses seek to locate near to.

ndspinelli said...

What is all this knashing of teeth regarding Althouse's vote. Who gives a flying fuck, and why do you all assume you can trust what she says, or has said, about her vote. It is private, even in Gulag Madison.

tiger said...

Actually, he said what he meant and meant what he said.

If he DID mean the roads, etc, then he is a very poor communicator but no, he was talking about people building businesses as the rest of his speech showed.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's bad politics, too..to credit just the business owner and ignore the tens of thousands of contributing employees and the millions of customers that built the business alongside The Owner.

If starting a business was easy....everyone could do it.

We all stand on the shoulders of those who went before us...Of course it is a team effort because you need employees to do the labor.....and THEY need you the owner to provide them jobs. HOWEVER, the business would not exist without the VISION, hard work on the part of the owner and the OWNER'S CAPITAL INVESTMENT.

The business owner doesn't take the road to riches all by himself, and he doesn't arrive alone either. Not only do the employees benefit, other businesses that do business with each other benefit. Like a giant inter-conneted network.

THIS is what Obama doesn't understand or refuses to understand. That one person can be a success and grow their business, but that it benefits society more than society helps the business owner.

We are successful business people not because of the government but in spite of the government. Dodging pitfalls, weaving through the tangled and stupid maze of regulations.

ndspinelli said...

DBQ, From a fellow small biz owner, PERFECT!!

EMD said...

Employees that helped grow Apple and Ford, that added their sweat and innovation, The tens of millions in their longtime customer bases that stuck with Ford and Apple - and by existing allowed further business financing, assurances that a market awaited new stuff.

VIsion separates the two. Some have it, most don't.

furious_a said...

Employees that helped grow Apple and Ford, that added their sweat and innovation.

Except that it's the business owners, not the other stakeholders, who are under Presidential rhetorial assault.

EMD said...

But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

By amassing massive amounts of debt?

Cognitive dissonance on display.

gregq said...

BTW, Chris, thanks for the great quote. It is amazing how hard Obama works to sound like an Ayn Rand villain.

Jay said...

The boldface part is a blunder. He couldn't have meant to say that, and he must be really sorry he did.

Isn't it odd that the best orator since Lincoln does this about 2-3 times a month?

What do you think that says about said Orator?

Kensington said...

Obama isn't Abe Lincoln. Hell, he isn't even Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

Rusty said...

Cederford said,
"In taking this line, Romney does what he would never do at Bain...focus on the Owner(s) as the only thing a business entails that has credit for building a business."


Because it is.
Without Ford there is no Model T and the furiously huge industry that his idea created.
Without Jobs there is no apple.
Without Carrier there would be no airconditioning.
To say they grew on the backs of others is to ignore their act of creation. No. Others are working today, even propserous because of what they created. They created the jobs. They created the wealth that would eventually allow others to do the same.
And the beautiful thing. There were no regulators to tell them not to.

Fen said...

Dear Mrs Blake,

Thanks again for all the time and energy you spent on me as my Teacher.

However, nothing in our contract ever indicated that my future success gave you any right to place a socialist collar around my neck.

So please go fuck yourself.

Cheers
Fen

ampersand said...

You built a factory out there? Good for you. How the hell did you get it past the EPA,FDA,DOI,FBI,CIA,DOE,ED,HHS,USDA,DOC,HDS,HUD,EEOC,DOL,DOI,BAT,DOT,
DOJ,DEA and the TVA.

Cedarford said...

Rusty said...
Cederford said,
"In taking this line, Romney does what he would never do at Bain...focus on the Owner(s) as the only thing a business entails that has credit for building a business."


Because it is.
Without Ford there is no Model T and the furiously huge industry that his idea created.
Without Jobs there is no apple.
Without Carrier there would be no airconditioning.
To say they grew on the backs of others is to ignore their act of creation. No. Others are working today, even propserous because of what they created. They created the jobs. They created the wealth that would eventually allow others to do the same.
And the beautiful thing. There were no regulators to tell them not to
===============
Pure Ayn Rand fantasy world stuff. There were mass assembly lines elsewhere and the Germans actually had the 1st good gas-powered autos and they were all interchangable parts and were gearing up for assembly lines.
Ford was just the first here, and he AND HIS TEAM OF ENGINEERS and EFFECIENCY EXPERTS created a nice system.
No Ford, someone else would have done it.
Fucking Steve Jobs was just one of 20 or so key players that started up Apple.
No Apple, you would have had a cast of 20 other people doing the same start up scheme within years and Kumquat or Squash company would have made the products.

These are TECHNOLOGIES that opened new consumer markets.

I give you a classic Ayn Randian quote credit:

"Without Carrier there would be no air conditioning".

Do you really fucking think Carrier invented refrigeration??? That one Great Man of History? No one else..or that in 150 years someone else would not have figured out how to mass produce industrial, business, and home AC?

Michael said...

Cedarford makes Obama's case. Lots of smart people could have done this or that. Lots of people work their asses off. Obama is basically chaulking success up to luck with an assist from govt. Had Jobs not done what he did someone else wold have. Had Ford not done what he did someone else would have. And so on. It is music to the ears of the lazy and especially so to academics who all would be very rich were it not for their dedication to their field. Every mediocrity loves this argument. You can hear the cheers of Obama supporters when he makes the case. They built the roads, goddamnit. They invented the internet. They, when you think about it real hard like a smart Obama has done, they actually built the businesses. Or they would have if they wanted to. Or tried.

CWJ said...

Sorry Ann,

Warren's statement sucks as well. Her repeated "rest of us" phrase ending with the admonition that the businessman ought to pay it forward, completely ignores that the businessman pays taxes as well both personal and business, and clearly intends to imply that the businessman is not contributing. As stated, it is not the banal truth you claim.

Ken said...

Cedarford,

Do you really fucking think Carrier invented refrigeration?

Do you think Beethoven invented the piano? Do you fucking thing Mozart invented the piano?

Inventing or discovering something is the least important part of adding value. Figuring out how to make it valuable to a lot of people is the most important value added step.

No one else..or that in 150 years someone else would not have figured out how to mass produce industrial, business, and home AC?

It doesn't matter that someone may have done these things. It matters that no one else did (and it is not at all clear that anyone would have done any of the things you think are predetermined to happen). I am the same age as Kevin Plank and new about sports apparel, and even attended the University of Maryland at the same time. I could have founded Under Armour, but I didn't.

Losers like you claim these people are nothing special to suckle your petty wounded pride for not having done anything close to as meaningful or valuable as the people you rage against. It is a way for you feel better to think that you're not really a loser, that it's everyone else's fault, just as the people you mention aren't winners, it's everyone else's fault.

Grow up, child.

Roger Zimmerman said...

This is a very hopeful development. For once, we have a presidential campaign which is becoming very close to a referendum on fundamental philosophical differences. The questions of policy, competence, character, leadership, etc. will certainly play a part. But, for the first time in my adult life, we have the D's explicitly advocating collectivism, while the R's are rhetorically taking the side (however hypocritically, in many cases) of individualism.

I have a feeling the Obama campaign will be more consistent about this as we move into the fall, since Romney is not actually pro-individualism. But, either way, the electorate will be making about as direct a statement as is possible - in the democratic process - about the question: Is the American creed one of sovereignty of the individual, with all that implies, or have we become a nation that demands sacrifice of individuals to society?

Whatever the answer, it will tell me all I need to know about the future of this country, and knowledge is the first step to preparing oneself (as best as is possible).

Bring it on, I say!

Fen said...

Losers like you claim these people are nothing special to suckle your petty wounded pride for not having done anything close to as meaningful or valuable as the people you rage against.

Worse, the losers that swallow Obama's swill don't even pay the taxes that "built" someone's business.

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