Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Markets Tell the Truth [updated]

_Jeffrey TuckerGUEST POST by JEFFREY TUCKER

You probably saw that Republicans and others are making hay out of President Obama's statement: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that." Defenders of the president immediately cried foul: Read the sentence in the context of his entire speech.

That's what I did. You know what? It is far worse in context. If an American president has ever before said something so insulting and disparaging toward an essential American idea (free enterprise), I've not heard it. It's an absolutely chilling speech.

imageUnderneath his speech was a profound loathing of private initiative. No matter what you have done in life, the president thinks the government should get the credit. And why? Because the government built the Hoover Dam (in 1935!), the Golden Gate Bridge (in 1937, built and funded by private funds!), went to the moon (43 years ago!) and invented the Internet (it was privatized in 1995, and only then became mainstream!).

People say that I shouldn't be shocked at this rhetoric. I can't help it. The whole world as we know it is built by human hands operating in a market, yet this guy can't see it. To say the government is the source of prosperity is like saying that the ticks are keeping the dog alive.

Regardless, the market isn't going anywhere. It responds to whatever the reality is, whether distorted by government interventions or not. What will be the end result of the incredible and relentless interventions over the last five years? Whatever it is, it will not be good.

Jeffrey Tucker is the publisher and executive editor of Laissez-Faire Books, the Primus inter pares of the Laissez Faire Club, and the author of Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo and It's a Jetsons World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes, among thousands of articles

UPDATE:

Ayn Rand, in 1965:

"It is morally obscene to regard wealth as an anonymous, tribal product and to talk about 'redistributing' it. The view that wealth is the result of some undifferentiated, collective, process, that we all did something and it's impossible to tell who did what, therefore some sort of equalitarian 'distribution' is necessary--might have been appropriate in a primordial jungle with a savage horde moving boulders by crude physical labor (though even there someone had to initiate and organize the moving).
    "To hold that view in an industrial society--where individual achievements are a matter of public record--is so crass an evasion that even to give it the benefit of the doubt is an obscenity... Mistakes of this size are not made innocently."

            - "What is Capitalism?" in Capitalism the Unknown Ideal

[Hat tip Joe Maurone]

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sally said...

And he means it!

Just started reading "The Roots of Obama's Rage" by Dinesh D'Souza

The writer says "... if you care about America's prosperity and security, I might as well forewarn you. Be very afraid.

7/18/2012 10:54:00 am  
Anonymous Riko said...

The most relevant part of the speech:

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.

7/18/2012 11:32:00 am  

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