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Hullabaloo


Sunday, July 15, 2012

 
President Obama proudly channels Elizabeth Warren

by David Atkins

The great right wing circus is going apoplectic over this Obama speech:

Well, first of all, like I said, the only way you can pay for that -- if you’re actually saying you’re bringing down the deficit -- is to cut transportation, cut education, cut basic research, voucherize Medicare, and you’re still going to end up having to raise taxes on middle-class families to pay for this $5 trillion tax cut. That’s not a deficit reduction plan. That’s a deficit expansion plan...

But you know what, I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them. So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more. (Applause.) And, by the way, we’ve tried that before -- a guy named Bill Clinton did it. We created 23 million new jobs, turned a deficit into a surplus, and rich people did just fine. We created a lot of millionaires.

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together. (Applause.)

So all these issues go back to that first campaign that I talked about, because everything has to do with how do we help middle-class families, working people, strivers, doers -- how do we help them succeed? How do we make sure that their hard work pays off? That’s what I've been thinking about the entire time I've been President.
Close readers will be reminded of this famous bit from Elizabeth Warren:



As a small business owner, I wholeheartedly agree with President Obama and future Senator Warren. Sure, I've worked hard to build a business and to stay afloat when many others in my profession have called it quits. But none of it would be possible without the framework of civilization that my taxes help to support. When I buy lunch, I depend on food safety regulators to make sure a corporation hasn't tainted the ingredients. I depend on a national transportation infrastructure for business travel and for the shipping of necessities. I depend on the post office to deliver the mail. I depend on the government to assure the stability of the Internet through which I do the majority of my work. I depend on firefighters and police to protect my property, my safety and my community. I depend on educators to ensure that the American public remains educated and affluent enough to purchase products. I depend on the social safety net that ensures relative social stability, general prosperity and an absence of armed revolutionary warlords. My own education on full ride scholarship at a state university depended heavily on government assistance. And so on and so on.

Yes, I've worked hard to earn some modest success. But make no mistake: I haven't built that. I merely stood on the shoulders of a vast network of civilization paid for by tax dollars, without which I would never have had the opportunity to succeed at all. Had I been born in Somalia or Burma, my fate would have been as dismal as the fates of most of my hypothetical compatriots.

To the right wing, the notion of collective responsibility and collective success is a dangerous idea. To the rest of us it's just common sense.

I couldn't be more thrilled that this argument is now the tip of the spear in our leaders' political discourse, going straight to the heart of the Objectivist, parasitic vulture capitalist cabal. Fitting, that.


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