Thursday, July 19, 2012

President Clueless

More at You Didn't Build That.


Rottenchester said...

I realize that the whole point of this asinine nothingburger nontroversy is to try to distract from Romney's issues with Bain and his tax returns, but I thought you were smart enough to understand how pronouns work:

"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."

Isn't it clear from the context what "that" refers to (the country's infrastructure)? It's a completely uncontroversial statement, and the fact that I'm making my point over a network that was invented by the government (DARPA) just reinforces the point.

PublicMarketMan said...

I tossed-out my Legos after I heard the speech.

Anonymous said...

Well, he didn't invent it. Jef Raskin did. Jobs just marketed it and became the front man for Apple. Perhaps you should know your history before backing absurd concepts that are based on wrong information.

But, excluding that...Jobs went to public school for his primary career, so his community was responsible for his education and eventual success. Yes, Jobs took advantage of the opportunities handed to him, but they were just that: handed to him.

The problem is, those of you on the right as so fully deluded by the concept of "the self-made man" that you've actually started believing it as reality. It's not. That was the point of what Obama was saying. It may not have been the best wording for it, but for those of us with a clue we knew what he meant.

You fail to grasp that not everyone has access to those opportunities to succeed. It's not that the poor are poor because they CHOOSE to be, it's because they don't generally have the opportunity to get out of their situation. The people who clean the toilets in our office work as hard, if not harder, than everyone else in the office, but they certainly don't get compensated equally.

I know those of you on the right feel you're entitled to a free ride, but enough is enough.

Philbrick said...

Reading it in full context reveals the President's contempt for achievers in business in even starker relief. "If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own," he began.

Yes you did.

You take the landscape as you find it. If it has roads and bridges, etc., that's part of the landscape in which all live and operate. Just as we all have air to breathe. That's the starting point. After that, it's the talent, ambition, hard work and perseverence of the person who succeeds that makes the difference and produces the successful result.

If even the reasonable and unflappable Rottenchester is worked up about this, clearly the President's gaffe has struck a very sensitive nerve among prople of left-orientation.

I think it may be the rawest nerve of all: Obama's mistake was to state publicly what so many of our friends of the liberal persuasion really think.

If the MSNBC crowd is so desperate to spin their way out of it that they're trying to explain the use of relative pronouns to a post-literate society, good luck on that one. Their grammar lesson, of course, is wrong. Relative pronouns modify a clause or phrase in the same sentence, or function to join two clauses or ideas in a sentence. So "you didn't build that" refers to "If you've got a business."

And since this is the world's greatest orator talking, the grammar must be correct, musn't it? He said it and he owns it. Much more troubling than either, he believes it.

Rottenchester said...

"If the MSNBC crowd is so desperate to spin their way out of it that they're trying to explain the use of relative pronouns to a post-literate society, good luck on that one. Their grammar lesson, of course, is wrong. Relative pronouns modify a clause or phrase in the same sentence, or function to join two clauses or ideas in a sentence. So "you didn't build that" refers to "If you've got a business." "

Apparently the "Fox News Crowd" (since we're name calling here-btw, I don't watch MSNBC) is trying to re-write the rules of grammar. Example: "I drive with the windows down. Chillin' with the radio on, I like it like that." I guess since it's in the next sentence, "that" only refers to chillin' with the radio on, not driving with the windows down, since the comma is like the Maginot Line of grammar.

Setting that aside, the "landscape" you refer to is what we all pay for with our taxes. So if someone thinks that you ought to just acknowledge that much of what a business needs to exists comes from everyone's taxes, what's so awful about that?

And even more important, what concrete policy is at stake here? Name it and we'll discuss it. Is it raising the marginal tax rate on those making over $250K a to Clinton-era rates? An extra 5% marginal rate on those making more than a million? Reasonable people can disagree about that, but neither will lead to an apocalypse. As you know, during the Clinton years, business prospered with higher tax rates.

The Gay Tattler said...

Barack is not clueless.He is a Marxist/Socialist(he admitted this
to Rahm Emanuel at Steamworks in
Chicago back in '98)
For someone who has lived the true
"American Dream",he wants the rest of us to settle for a "Bargain".
Liberals were clueless when they
elected Barack.They still are today.

Anonymous said...

So, when McCain famously said “There was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney. You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one.", what was the "that" he was referring to?

Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that the left is working so hard at trying to explain away Obama's insulting comments to business owners, the people who employ millions in this country despite the government's attempts to make it nearly impossible to expand and create more jobs.

You all know that Obama and the Democrats have been waging war on private employers and are working hard at creating class warfare between them and people who prefer government handouts instead of earning their own money.

There are less people working legitimate jobs, breaking their backs so the majority population can sit home, get their government check and laugh at us the whole time while they do so.

The President knew exactly what he was saying and how the business owners and working class would take it. His government wants to diminish our hard work and sees us all as nothing more than a cash cow to fund his liberal "buy vote" programs.

Of all things, the President is a professional wordsmith. His staff knew what they were writing for him and I'm sure the teleprompter was not on the fritz.

Philbrick said...

Again, if the President's defenders are reduced to attempting a grammar lesson, that pretty well tells the story right there. "It all depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" didn't fly the first time.

Infrastructure, whoever pays for it, is the common background, the starting point, like the air and sunshine. It's the talent of individuals, proceeding from that common starting point, that invents and creates.

I use the roads and bridges too, but I didn't invent the i-Phone. Roads, bridges, air and sunshine didn't invent it, but rather the people with the talent to create.

And the Prez wasn't just pointing out an observation so commonplace as, "We all depend on roads to do our jobs." He was making the larger point that somehow the existence of infrastructure mitigates the significance of individual achievement.

Edison wouldn't have invented the lightbulb if he hadn't been born, but we don't credit his mother with the invention.

Rottenchester said...

Unfortunately, it seems that just that "background" as you call it isn't enough even for Romney's #1 example, Jack Gilchrist of New Hampshire, the star of Romney's new ad:

"In 1999, Gilchrist Metal received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority..."

Or are bonds like that "background"?


Philbrick said...

You're normally quicker on the uptake than this. The people who built that metal company would have built it with or without those bonds. If the bonds offer a cheaper way of financing, that's just part of the background circumstances, too. It doesn't matter what the background circumstances are. Whoever invented the wheel, or discovered how tomake fire, had no publicly-financed infrastructure.

Whatever kind of support structure they had was the same available to everyone else.

Those who can, will still do -- and do more than the others who can't. That's a central truth of the human condition that the left so sedulously seeks to ignore and avoid in the discussion of this issue.

Rottenchester said...

It sounds like you've never run a small business, because you're making a giant assumption about credit worthiness that's not backed by the facts. Gilchrist "also said his company received a U.S. Small Business Administration loan totaling “somewhere south of” $500,000 in the late 1980s." SBA loans are for businesses that can't get comparable financing from their bank. It's not an issue of "cheaper". It's an issue of risk. The SBA, since it is backed by all of our tax dollars, takes on extra risk to stimulate small business.

The simple fact is that without specifically targeted government programs, designed to advance the kind of business Gilchrist was running in the condition it is in, his business would not exist in the form it does today, if at all. (We're talking about something close to $1 million total in different government-financed capital here, not small change.) Perhaps Romney will find the mythical self-made man at some point, but until then, this is what his campaign offering up, and Gilchrist was given a leg up by the dirty rotten government.

BTW, there's nothing wrong with what he did, but I'll let you know that a dirty stinking liberal hippie like myself was able to run a business with SBA loans, special state bonds or even COMIDA.

Philbrick said...


I suppose there are some dirty stinking liberal hippies out there, but you're not one of them, as far as we can tell from any of your writing, over the years, on your blogs or in our comments here. It's just that there are some issues on which we view the world differently, and this is one of them.

So many of the programs you cite exist only to mitigate, in some measure, the deleterious effects of state policy and taxation on the formation and operation of businesses.

Be that as it may, with or without them, but for the talent and work of the people who run the businesses and make them happen, it doesn't matter. No entrepreneur with smarts and drive, no business. (Surely you wouldn't disagree with that?)

Obama made the mistake of articulating aloud what has been a pet chestnut of the academic left for years. Mitt should ram his face in it every chance he gets and he should especially include the full context, which makes it much worse for the President.

The nonsense of the claim that business people owe their success to the state because of state-supplied services is nicely refuted by a Prof. at the U. of Wisconsin in this essay.

As we may be starting to frighten the horses, as the saying goes, I think I'll let this be my last comment on the subject. As ever, we'll be pleased to post any further comment from you.