Opinion

Opinion

Obama’s infrastructure argument doesn’t hold up

July 21, 2012

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

     — Barack Obama,

Roanoke, Va., July 13

And who might that somebody else be? Government, says Obama. It built the roads you drive on. It provided the teacher who inspired you. It “created the Internet.” It represents the embodiment of “we’re in this together” social solidarity that, in Obama’s view, is the essential origin of individual and national achievement.

To say all individuals are embedded in and the product of society is banal. Obama rises above banality by means of fallacy: equating society with government, the collectivity with the state. Of course we are shaped by our milieu. But the most formative, most important influence on the individual is not government. It is civil society, those elements of the collectivity that lie outside government: family, neighborhood, church, Rotary club, PTA, the voluntary associations that Tocqueville understood to be the genius of America and source of its energy and freedom.

Moreover, the greatest threat to a robust, autonomous civil society is the ever-growing Leviathan state and those like Obama who see it as the ultimate expression of the collective.

Obama compounds the fallacy by declaring the state to be the font of entrepreneurial success. How so? It created the infrastructure — roads, bridges, schools, Internet — off which we all thrive.

Absurd. We don’t credit the Swiss postal service with the Special Theory of Relativity because it transmitted Einstein’s manuscript to the Annalen der Physik. Everyone drives the roads, goes to school, uses the mails. So did Steve Jobs. Yet only he conceived and built the Mac and the iPad.

Obama’s infrastructure argument is easily refuted by what is essentially a controlled social experiment. Roads and schools are the constant. What’s variable is the energy, enterprise, risk-taking, hard work and genius of the individual. It is therefore precisely those individual characteristics, not the communal utilities, that account for the different outcomes.

The ultimate Obama fallacy, however, is the conceit that belief in the value of infrastructure — and willingness to invest in its creation and maintenance — is what divides liberals from conservatives.

More nonsense. Infrastructure is not a liberal idea, nor is it particularly new. The Via Appia was built 2,300 years ago. The Romans built aqueducts too. And sewers. Since forever, infrastructure has been consensually understood to be a core function of government.

The argument between left and right is about what you do beyond infrastructure. It’s about transfer payments and redistributionist taxation, about geometrically expanding entitlements, about tax breaks and subsidies to induce actions pleasing to central planners. It’s about free contraceptives for privileged students and welfare without work — the latest Obama entitlement-by-decree that would fatally undermine the great bipartisan welfare reform of 1996. It’s about endless government handouts that, ironically, are crowding out necessary spending on, yes, infrastructure.

What divides liberals and conservatives is not roads and bridges but Julia’s world, an Obama campaign creation that may be the most self-revealing parody of liberalism ever conceived. It’s a series of cartoon illustrations in which a fictional Julia is swaddled and subsidized throughout her life by an all-giving government of bottomless pockets and “Queen for a Day” magnanimity. At every stage, the state is there to provide — preschool classes and cut-rate college loans, birth control and maternity care, business loans and retirement. The only time she’s on her own is at her gravesite.

Julia’s world is totally atomized. It contains no friends, no community and, of course, no spouse. Who needs one? She’s married to the provider state.

Or to put it slightly differently, the “Life of Julia” represents the paradigmatic Obama political philosophy: citizen as orphan child. For the conservative, providing for every need is the duty that government owes to actual orphan children. Not to supposedly autonomous adults.

Beyond infrastructure, the conservative sees the proper role of government as providing not European-style universal entitlements but a firm safety net, meaning Julia-like treatment for those who really cannot make it on their own — those too young or too old, too mentally or physically impaired, to provide for themselves.

Limited government so conceived has two indispensable advantages. It avoids inexorable European-style national insolvency. And it avoids breeding debilitating individual dependency. It encourages and celebrates character, independence, energy, hard work as the foundations of a free society and a thriving economy — precisely the virtues Obama discounts and devalues in his accounting of the wealth of nations.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

Getaroom 2 years, 8 months ago

More of the same bull from the Kraut! Can't imagine a more perfect mouth piece for Faux Nuz than he is. Unfair and Unbalanced as usual.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

If anything, he wishes he had phrased it differently. However, the truth remains, it does take a society for a business to grow. That is the point he was making.

By the way, the last Republican nominee for President has never held a non-government funded job either. Having someone as President who had never run his own business was going to happen either way.

Orwell 2 years, 8 months ago

He phrased it just fine. It's the distorted, deceptive editing that's the problem.

Krauthammer's Amercia apparently relies on a lot of neighborly volunteer bridge- and highway-building bees and volunteer police forces. Nothing we need more than a return to the nineteenth century, I guess.

Great plan, there, Charlie. Try to remember if it weren't for governmentally mandated infrastructure/accessibility projects you'd have a hell of a time getting to work.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

We all did, no matter how socialistically evil you may find that fact.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 8 months ago

"We all did" is factually incorrect. Those who have paid taxes did, and from what I've been able to discern that may not necessarily include you.

How about it, Bozo? Are you a net payer or a net taker?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

Even if you only consider taxes paid by the wealthy (which is nowhere near the real story,) those wealthy folks wouldn't be wealthy if not for all of the work of people too poor to pay taxes that makes that wealth possible.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 8 months ago

And the good folks who work are employed by those who have the knowledge, entrepreneurial zeal, expertise, ability and success to be able to employ them.

In your world, employers would be taxed out of existence and no one would have a job. Smooth move, Bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

Talk about smooth moves-- your dance with the Straw Man would make Fred Astaire jealous.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 8 months ago

You still haven't answered my question, Bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

I suppose you'll want to compare penus length next.

tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

Actually the highway system which was mostly expanded during 50's was built when our tax rates were much higher than now. Back then we were a society that worked together for the betterment of everyone. Our parents paid taxes for schools, roads, fire and police protection, etc. They viewed our government as "We the people...". It wasn't all about "me, me, me".

I don't know bozo's economic situation, but I would be in the group that would get a tax raise If Obama has his way. And I don't mind paying it. The government can still do things right, but it's society's attitudes that have changed.
I received a great education from public schools and a public university. But the education was made available to me, and I took it. I have worked as a para in the past, and I see a whole lot of parents and students who think that they don't have to do anything to be educated. That's the "me, me, me" mentality. A Facebook friend posted a cartoon recently that showed 2 frames - Both frames had a student, parents, teacher around a desk. The first frame labeled 1960 had the parents asking the child what he was going to do about these bad grades. The 2nd frame had the parents looking at the teacher asking her what she was going to do about these bad grades. The schools are still offering education, but why aren't the students learning it? Because it's no longer cool, and their parents are right their with them, because they want to be the kid's buddy, not their parent.

It took a lot more money to build the road system, than it should have done to maintain it, but we are too whiney to do the job. Please, I have a big house and several cars, but my daughter wants cosmetic surgery, so you really need to cut my taxes. That's how I see a whole lot of the upper middle class in this modern world. Why don't they fix the potholes. Government can't do anything right. Whine, whine, whine.

camper 2 years, 8 months ago

Actually, we all pay sales taxes. We all pay payroll taxes. And we pay taxes by way of the goods we buy and the rent we pay (taxes passed down thru pricing). I suppose some of us (50% are not making enough to pay Federal Income taxes).

Liberty275 2 years, 8 months ago

I'll bet dollars to donuts bozo is a net taker.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

Everyone pays taxes of some kind or another, so we all paid for those roads and bridges.

KISS 2 years, 8 months ago

Speaking of a fallacy. Just because everyone buys goods that are taxed does not mean that they are actually paying taxes. People who are on straight welfare income, which is an ever growing percentage of our entitled-minded population, do not pay taxes. They add nothing to tax base that wasn't already in there.

bad_dog 2 years, 8 months ago

"Who paid for all the roads and bridges?"

If it's a toll road, all users in addition to taxpayers paid for construction and upkeep. When you purchase gas, you help fund those costs via fuel taxes. When purchasing a vehicle a buyer pays sales and property taxes.

No need to rely upon whether someone paid income taxes or the amount they paid when there are taxes paid by all users with a much more relevant link to their ultimate usage.

Orwell 2 years, 8 months ago

It sure as hell wasn't the private sector that acquired the right of way or let the construction contracts or paid the construction companies that did the work..

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

So, Chuckie starts with the same quote out of context that Fox and the rest of the whackosphere did in order to completely misinterpret what he said.

That pretty much discredits anything that might have followed, so I didn't bother reading it.

cowboy 2 years, 8 months ago

"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. "

The actual quote without Republican editing for those Faux News challenged

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

As a matter of fact, he's stopped using the teleprompter in a lot of his stump speeches, so it isn't the most finally tailored of statements.

That said, it makes perfect sense, as long as you aren't ideologically predisposed to intellectual density.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

I have no doubt you will be equally critically of Mitt Romney each time he uses a teleprompter.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I find this tendency to exaggerate and distort what people say disturbing.

Isn't it important to understand what people are saying first, and then base discussion and debate on that?

It's obvious that Obama didn't say, or mean, that individual initiative isn't important - he just meant that it's not the whole story, and that other people and government also play a role in success.

So, why not discuss this accurately? It's certainly plausible, and valuable, to ask how large government should be, or what it should be involved in, without distorting what's been said.

Seems to me that those on the right often overlook the role that others, social imbalances, and government play in one's success, preferring to believe in some sort of "do it yourself" idea, in which one is solely and completely responsible for any success achieved.

This seems obviously unrealistic to me.

verity 2 years, 8 months ago

"I find this tendency to exaggerate and distort what people say disturbing."

And what is even more disturbing is that people believe it because they want to rather than searching out the truth for themselves---and then contnue to believe it after it has been discredited.

Paul Decelles 2 years, 8 months ago

Actually selective information processing seems to know no political boundaries. The challenge is to selectively accept information that has some empirical relationship to the real world. Unfortunately lots of people don't want to do that because it threatens their preconceptions and the myths they accept as truth.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I don't say anything about "all conservatives".

I'm sure that there are some who don't distort and exaggerate in order to score political points.

This example is so glaring, though, that it's hard to miss - anybody who reads the entire context of the quote can easily see that it doesn't mean what conservatives are claiming it means.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

And, I'll ask you again to stop using insulting language in your posts to me, eg. "Libs".

I don't call you names, please don't call me names.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

It's clearly an insult when you use that term, and in addition it's inaccurate - I have some liberal ideas, some conservative, some libertarian, etc.

I make a serious effort, and believe me, it's not easy, to refrain from personal insults, even when provoked. In return, I require that people make that effort with me as well.

He's not "my president", he's the president of the country.

Orwell 2 years, 8 months ago

The point is that the businesses that decided they needed a road didn't go out and build it. They urged the government to do it for their (and everyone's) benefit. All the right wingers in Topeka are still horrified at the prospect of the multi-year highway program getting cut.

woodscolt 2 years, 8 months ago

ADVERTISEMENT

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

 —  Charles Krauthammer

July 21, 2012

msezdsit 2 years, 8 months ago

Your right, not being George Bush made the rest of the world so happy Obama was awarder the Nobel Peace Prize.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

Nobel Prize -- took out bin Laden, Gahdafi, terrorists galore, and pirates!

I think we should give every president a Peace prize the day they take office.

woodscolt 2 years, 8 months ago

Interesting that what you see in the threads for this article as well as the ones from Dolphs idiotic editorial this morning is this:

All the right wing extremist conservatives think all they have to do is hold hands and hunker down together and just keep parroting lies and that somehow makes them magically come true just because they have each others support. I guess you could assume they believe in the easter bunny and santa claus and the tooth ferry as well. This is what they base all their opinions and discourse on.

Ok, now does everybody remember their lines? Then lets all hold hands and lie together or our ideologies will never conquer reality.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Since he commented that individual initiative as well as other factors contributes to success, your comment is just an example of the exaggeration and distortion I mentioned above.

You mention Paradise Cafe - I was here when it was in business, and I found it overpriced and badly managed - any owner who thinks that it's fine for people to sit and wait 45 minutes for a table, and doesn't offer a call in system, or reservations, has serious problems with customer service.

woodscolt 2 years, 8 months ago

That is the "paradise cafe" that i remember.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

Any restaurant that is routinely full to the point where customers are willing to wait 45 minutes is likely doing just fine. It is the empty restaurant that has no customers waiting to get in that has to strengthen its customer service.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Only in a town like Lawrence, where so many residents don't demand decent service/quality could such a restaurant succeed.

And, of course, they did go out of business eventually.

But I get your point.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

The name is jafs.

I have no need to worship Obama, and nothing I've ever posted would support such an odd idea.

The statement is in fact true - many factors contribute to business success, and individual initiative is just one of them.

Obama doesn't credit "all the success" to one factor, nor do I.

Liberty275 2 years, 8 months ago

It's like the psycho that killed all those people in Colorado isn't responsible. Somebody else built the roads he used to bring his semi-auto AR15 to the theater and somebody else made the CS canisters. Somewhere along the way a teacher must have taught him that people's lives were his for the taking and some reports suggest someone else let him in the back door.

So, do we let the shooter out of jail now or just shove everyone else in with him?

seriouscat 2 years, 8 months ago

First, the development of the computer was heavily subsidized and supported by the US government. Would there have been a Steve Jobs success story if the US had not, because of the government support, been at the forefront of computer technology?

Second, all these neo-cons keep referring to European style social welfare as "insolvent largess". This ignores the fact that Germany, who was the first nation ever to implement national health care, is the country with the strongest, most bullet proof economy in Europe, evidenced by the fact that it is Germany who is largely bearing the brunt of the bad fiscal policies of plutocratic nations such as Greece.

woodscolt 2 years, 8 months ago

Good to see you got your lines down baa. Now hold hands with all your other extremist right wing liars and keep repeating your lines and maybe just maybe some day they will come true. (If you lost a tooth recently you can put it under your pillow and the tooth ferry might bring you a treat.)

Liberty275 2 years, 8 months ago

After the last failure of the government water system and the stench it spread around town, we've started drinking bottled water. Government water is best reserved for washing dirt off your body and flushing your waste down the toilet.

seriouscat 2 years, 8 months ago

Dogmatic, ideologically purist anarcho-captilalists (aka libertarians) talking about "preposterous utopian dreaming"?

Priceless.

seriouscat 2 years, 8 months ago

Libertarianism is even less about "the real world" than communism...which you repeatedly and disingenuously conflate with socialism...which is more appropriately termed capitalism lite.

Your knee jerk name calling and foaming indicates a certain sad dogmatism. The curtains are being pulled back from the reality of the libertarian utopia that you imagine LO, try to deal with it with a bit more dignity, would ya?

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One must be right. I mean, look at all those prosperous libertarian nations out there. America can't hold a candle to them.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Denmark, Canada, and NZ all have some rather socialist aspects to their governments - I'm surprised you tout them as "more libertarian".

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm well aware that they're "mixed", but that's why I wouldn't call them "libertarian" or "free market capitalist".

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Sure, if you pick extreme examples.

But, Canada, NZ, and Denmark are less libertarian than the US, are doing better, and tend to have a happier population.

So, your conclusion (really, your starting point) that more libertarian = better seems unwarranted.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Ok - that's just funny.

You've railed at great length, with great passion, about the evils of socialism - and, then, you pick countries with socialized health care systems as "more libertarian".

Can you really not see the irony in that?

You seem a bit off your game recently - are you ok?

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I never said Canada was a socialist country, or economy.

Your tendency to see things in black and white makes it hard to discuss things with you.

Canada is clearly a "mixed" economy, with socialized health care, and other factors that are not socialized.

The obvious conclusion to draw from the fact that Canada, NZ, and Denmark are all doing better than the US would be that "mixed" systems work better than "pure" ones, and that socialized health care may be a very good idea.

Your conclusion, ignoring the socialized health care systems, is highly illogical.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Also, it's ironic that you mention Switzerland, which chose to require health insurance, and I believe other health care players, to be run as non-profit businesses a while back - hardly the free market approach you espouse.

So, you've provided quite a bit of evidence that a free market approach to health care isn't in all likelihood the best, and countries with other approaches seem to be doing better than we are.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

And, Australia also has universal coverage, with lots of government spending on health care.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

"When he says "us" and "we" he means the state and not society."

Proof? I certainly took it to mean society at large and not just the state.

You might be right about what Socialists think. Good thing Obama isn't a Socialist.

Mixolydian 2 years, 8 months ago

Grammatically it means exactly how Krauthammer takes it to mean. Maybe it was one of those Washington gaffes, where a politician says something they actually believe.

It does beg the question though, what came first, the egg or the Egg Regulatory Commission?

pace 2 years, 8 months ago

It is one thing to spread nonsense but this guy seems to believe nonsense. Liar. Combining phrases and leave out the context does not make a quote. That is lying.
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2012/jul/18/context-obamas-you-didnt-build-comment/

seriouscat 2 years, 8 months ago

Ayn Rand, founder of the libertarian movement in the U.S. "altruism and selflessness is evil"

"weak people don't deserve love, very few people indeed deserve love"

" Friendship, family life and human relationships are not primary in a man's life. A man who places others first, above his own creative work, is an emotional parasite; whereas, if he places his work first, there is no conflict between his work and his enjoyment of human relationships."

Then she went on to collecting her Social Security check, her Medicare benefits, and her disciple, Alan Greenspan went on to create the most government intervention in the economy than ever before...as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

seriouscat 2 years, 8 months ago

Haha! Tell that to all the Tea Partiers waving Rand was right signs, and to Clarence Thomas, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul etc. who all purport to be big fans of Rand. The fact that you immediately label everyone who bumps up against your foaming, repetitive ideology as "Marxist", and proceed to speak for all libertarians as though they are unilaterally in line with you...or have ever even read "Locke, Say and others" besides Rand is equally amusing. You funny LO!

seriouscat 2 years, 8 months ago

"fervor" huh? I think I will just let the lurkers decide who is "fervent", and get on with my life now.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

No evidence that Marx is seriouscat's "hero", and certainly not mine either.

But, he wasn't wrong about everything - one obvious thing he got right was that specialization of labor tends to lead to alienation of workers, and caring less about the end product's quality.

sully97 2 years, 8 months ago

This argument is a shell game. It suggests economic growth and stability are not functions of infrastructure and that infrastructure is "constant." Well, no. It's not. It takes money, tax dollars, to maintain infrastructure. The market won't do it any more than it's running high speed internet to rural residents. The market did not build our electrical grid or highway system. The government did and if it hadn't, our good friend Charles would not be able to publish such spin in the first place.

Investment in infrastructure is the single biggest contributor to economic growth that can be made. Just ask nations like Afghanistan or those in remote Africa what it's like not to have roads or the centralized government to make them happen. Infrastructure is the biggest reason Iraq is relatively stable and Afghanistan will not be. With it, commerce can emerge. Without it, markets do not materialize. It's also why the military invests so heavily in the infrastructure of both countries.

Furthermore, there is more than one type of infrastructure. There is something called a human infrastructure, which simply means that you have the right talent in place to serve the right sector of the population at a given capacity. If a town has no teachers, then the town must build its human infrastructure to accommodate its need through some means of attracting or growing its pool of teachers. Either way, it takes investment.

The federal government is no different. It builds infrastructure, human or otherwise, by various types of investments. Yes, some of those investments go toward social welfare by means of assistance programs. To not have those programs is to accept a sharp rise of instability and crime that would undermine the intent far more than the cost of the programs ever would.

In the end, you cannot have economic expansion and stability without the infrastructure to support it. That includes human infrastructure, or what Charles might call "variable" infrastructure. That kind of investment has a net gain in financial terms, competitiveness, and social stability for us all. If we are to maintain any semblance of civil society, then taxes for these investments are the price we pay to live in that civil society. But if you don't like centralized government and the investments it makes, go ahead and move to Afghanistan and get a taste of what you're wishing for.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

And, no infrastructure, no business (or at least, a lot less).

It's a circular and mutually beneficial relationship, I'd say.

pace 2 years, 8 months ago

If your argument and opinion is based on lie, it makes you a liar. Romney, Obama, etc etc. all agree that we have social obligation and benefit. Twisting what some one said, by misquote and carelessly omitting context is bad habit and poor argument. Using a lie as a hook to spout hate or to justify poor argument , makes me think, liar.

classclown 2 years, 8 months ago

LarryNative

it's like the chicken or the egg argument . Did govt programs pave the way or was it taxes generated by businesses and the jobs that paid for the govt programs?

July 21, 2012 at 9:20 a.m

==========================================

You know, the chicken and the egg paradox is just a euphemistic way of debating creation vs evolution. If the chicken came first, you're a creationist. If the egg came first, you're an evolutionist.

sully97 2 years, 8 months ago

There is no chicken or egg about it. Infrastructure creates markets where they did not previously exist. The way we invest or manage that infrastructure varies as much as the types of infrastructure we're building. Government, business and the individual all invest in it in different ways. For instance, the cable company will invest the money to run a cable to your home if you live in a populated area. The government doesn't need to build such a network because the private sector is already building it.

For rural residents though, it's not cost effective for the cable company to build it, so the government steps in to create that infrastructure. It does so because it recognizes that its rural citizens need it in order to stay viable in the information age. This is one of the primary functions of good governance. If Walmart or FedEx aren't building or maintaining the roads they need then the government must do it. That's what governments are supposed to do.

As an aside, there is added value for us all when government builds infrastructure. Simply put, when government builds or manages it, we all have access to it. That's true of our roads, our frequencies, our water, sewage. All of it. When infrastructure is privately owned, as it is with the cable company, citizens are excluded by means of the business model. When government builds it, all may access it which brings a much wider audience to any entrepreneur who wishes to capitalize from that added infrastructure. If a bike path was only open to a few paying customers, its hard to see a bike shop going in next to it. By keeping it open, there is net gain for us all.

Finally, the individual invests first by using the infrastructure, and then by participating in the markets that emerge from it. If there is a chicken or egg dilemma to be found it's whether or not the individual can ultimately make his part of the investment. Some can participate. Some can't. For those who can't, we have programs to help build that part of the human infrastructure. In doing so, we prep them to use other infrastructure and to join the market in some way. That's why we all enjoy a net gain from safety net and developmental spending. When combined, more people can participate.

Counter to what people like this author would have us believe, those programs do pay off and they do so in a big way over time. The implementatiin of the GI Bill after WWII was one of the most successful human infrastructure development programs we ever instituted. It created our coveted middle class and made us the power house we are today. We made those investments when the nation was in far more debt as a ratio of GDP than it is today. It worked for one reason: people believed in their government and participated. We had the will to make it a success. Today though, as soon as government tries to fulfill its obligation and do what it's supposed to do, its cut off before it can ever begin. And things just get worse and worse...

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I doubt that's true about the debt/GDP ratio.

We currently are carrying a debt that is essentially equivalent to our entire GDP - was that the case back then?

booyalab 2 years, 8 months ago

Reminds me of the equally ludicrous Hillary Clinton quote in the 90s about "it takes a village to raise a child", except she more or less got away with it. I don't think Obama will be so lucky, the memes are in full force.

George Lippencott 2 years, 8 months ago

beatrice 1 day, 6 hours ago Everyone pays taxes of some kind or another, so we all paid for those roads and bridges.

Baloney. Most taxes are directed for specific purposes. Payroll taxes buy people a specific service that benefits only them. Road taxes are not paid by all but do benefit all - even those who do not drive. General revenue taxes (FITW) at the federal level - paid by half of us - buy most of the income transfer efforts we undertake as well as a hefty portion of the general government (EPA, Education, Commerce, etc.). Money for say renewable energy comes primarily from this source (and from monthly utilities bills)

George Lippencott 2 years, 8 months ago

I think both Mr. K and Mr. Obama each make important points. The former believes that the individual has a lot to do with making the country advance (but acknowledges the contributions of government). Mr. Obama and many on this list believe that “government” is the primary source (or should be) of energy for the advancement of our society.

If one has not been paying attention they may have missed the point that this election is about exactly that (albeit with many excursions to trivia).

There is way too much defaulting to absolutes on here when the real issue for many of us is the balance. Personally, I am offended by the notion that any successes my wife and I have achieved were the result of the “government”. The government certainly played ( our employers) but I think there is a lot of our energy and time in the product. If not we are reduced as government employees to the status of “drones” or worse – little or no value added.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Except that Obama never said the government was the "primary source", and he explicitly included individual initiative as an important factor.

I think it's just obvious that the folks on the right are trying to spin this one for political gain.

George Lippencott 2 years, 8 months ago

My wife agrees with the "right" and she is as mild mannered as they come.

Seems to me that there is riom to intrepret Mr. Obama's words as the right as chosen to do.

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

People can interpret things however they like.

But, it's abundantly clear that he didn't mean what those on the right are trying to spin here.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

For Mitt Romney, it takes exporting jobs overseas and tax shelters in the Cayman Islands.

For Mitt Romney, it takes a foreign village.

George Lippencott 2 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps we have forgotten all those bi partisan treaty obligations that compete American workers with low cost foreign workers making the American Business employing our workers non-competitive even anywhere on the planet.

Blaming an American company and it’s leadership for making money from the environment created by our politicians seems pretty conflicted. Perhaps we should have read the fine print?

Armstrong 2 years, 8 months ago

Someone seems to have forgotten how much taxes business pays, my guess is "the road" was paid for ten fold by business alone.

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