President Obama at a campaign fundraiser in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday night: “Now, I want to be very clear here. Nobody wants to punish success in America. The Republicans talk about class warfare. That’s — our goal is to make success available for everybody. What’s great about this country is you’ve got a good idea, you’ve got a service that nobody else has thought of, you know what, go out there, start a business. Make money. I want everybody out there to be rich. That’s great. Anybody in America should be able to make it if they try.”
“But none of us make it on our own. Somebody — an outstanding entrepreneur like a Steve Jobs — somewhere along the line he had a teacher who helped inspire him.”
Actually, there’s no evidence that any teacher in Jobs’ life had any idea of what he would eventually build. Personal computing was far outside anything that went on in grade schools at the time. Jobs’ success ended up changing the schools, not the other way around. And, Jobs dropped out of university.
“All those great Internet businesses wouldn’t have succeeded unless somebody had invested in the government research that helped to create the Internet. We don’t succeed on our own. We succeed because this country has, in previous generations, made investments that allow all of us to succeed.”
Ok, let’s carry that logic out a bit. If previous generations fostered success, it follows that the current generation and its leaders can too. It also follows that they can actively harm individuals’ chances of success.
Since Obama’s inauguration, unemployment has risen substantially, meaning there are fewer successful people in the country. Measured unemployment stands at 9.1%, with underemployment and uncounted unemployment getting the numbers up to around one in five Americans. Foreclosures are at Depression-levels. The business environment is the toughest we’ve seen in decades.
If government can take credit for fostering success, shouldn’t it accept some blame for fostering failure too? And shouldn’t the man who has presided over now three years of total failure acknowledge his own role?