Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

You Didn’t Build That, Someone Else Did

In Opinion on July 20, 2012 at 11:59 am

I’ll return to Bill Cosby shortly, but first a little background.

An iconic American entrepreneur – Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express – I suspect is puzzled by our president’s recent pronouncements.  I’m sure that Mr. Smith knows he doesn’t deliver 7,500,000 packages per day by himself.  That’s why he pays over $9 billion (just under 40% of revenue) in payroll and benefits to almost 300,000 people to help.  No threat of jail time, no guns – he pays, they work.  That’s why he buys billions of dollars worth of airplanes and invests billions in hangers and terminals in every nook and cranny of the country – paying people billions of dollars to build those planes and facilities for his use.  Is that how government gets people to do what government wants them to do?  Is that how government gets someone else to do it for you?

Here’s where I’m going . . . The president made another speech yesterday in Jacksonville,  Florida in which he doubled down on his “you didn’t build that” mistake, non-gaffe of last week.  This paragraph caught my attention:

As Americans, we don’t expect handouts, but we expect hard work to pay off.  (Applause.)  We understand there will be setbacks, but we also know that responsibility should be rewarded.  We believe that if you put enough effort into it, enough elbow grease into it, you should be able to find a job that pays the bills — (applause) — you should be able the have a home that you call your own, health care that you can count on if you get sick.  (Applause.)  You should be able to retire with dignity and respect.  You should be able to provide your children with an education that gives them an even better shot than you had.  That’s what we believe.

At first glance, this is innocuous – and that’s what scares the S*^t out of me.

Why should the POTUS be the person telling a crowd that they should be rewarded if they work hard? Personal success and failure are not properly matters of political importance, unless the president is suggesting (implicitly or not) that, AS A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL, he can make one or the other happen – if he has the power to control or grant success, doesn’t he possess the power to impose failure?

That is not a power granted to any government instituted by and among free men and women. That is not the kind of republic that was constituted in 1789.  We need to put our government back in its cage.

Oh, and Fred Smith and Bill Cosby?  Federal Express operates as an airline and is one of the most regulated businesses in America.  They are under constant attack from UPS and the Teamsters, who spend millions lobbying the government to force FedEx to reorganize its operations in a manner that would cripple its ability to deliver “absolutely, positively” on time.  FedEx fights back with their own defensive lobbying efforts, wasting money to keep the government from imposing failure on their business.

Any guesses which side Democrats are on?  I guess the president and Harry Reid would say, as Bill Cosby said to his son, “I brought you into this world and I’ll take you out.”

Sounds sort of like “you didn’t build that” doesn’t it?


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