In a recent speech delivered to supporters in Roanoke, Virginia, President Obama reignited a class warfare-brand of rhetoric that is sure to inflame many hardworking Americans who have labored tirelessly to achieve their own success. Emphasizing that affluent individuals “didn’t get there” on their own, the president’s dialogue during the July 13 campaign event arrived only days after he urged Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts only to families earning an annual income of less than $250,000.
Obama prefaced his contentious allegation with a warning that without the purported tax increases on the rich, slashing the deficit will translate into dramatic cuts in education, transportation, healthcare, basic research, and other government-sponsored programs. In defending the administration’s so-called deficit-reduction plan, he asserted:
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.
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 president went on to explain that America’s collective spirit is the stimulant to individual success, and that personal initiative deserves only a fragment of the praise. For example, “There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own,” he affirmed. “I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.”
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Photo of President Barack Obama: AP Images