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Travis Rowley: Success, Notwithstanding the Government

Saturday, July 21, 2012


“Everything for the state. Nothing outside the state. Nothing against the state.” – Benito Mussolini

When Barack Obama told Joe the Plumber on the 2008 campaign trail that he believes “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” he informed the world that he believes in the efficacy of socialist policy. But when Obama addressed an adoring Roanoke crowd last week in favor of increasing taxes on “the rich,” he spoke in ethical and ideological terms – suggesting that accomplished business owners are more indebted than others to the government.

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” Obama mused. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested roads and bridges. If you got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Obama’s remarks don’t represent a forgivable misstep made during an off-the-cuff stump speech. They represent the true philosophical foundation of the modern Democratic Party. Weeks earlier US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) posited the very same position: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody! You built a factory out there – Good for you! But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that, and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Funny, I don’t remember signing that “social contract.”

Democrats are now framing their moral argument for collectivism by convincing people that they are already socialists. Obama said, “The point is, is that, when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

According to Democrats, since the government has established an infrastructure that allows businesses to “thrive,” notions of individualism and property rights are subordinate to the debt and allegiance everyone owes the state.

Perhaps more direct evidence that progressives are the offspring of European fascism could not have been provided. Obama and Warren were rather explicit: It is from totalitarian grounds that Democrats justify collectivism.

An Overt Assault On Individualism

The collectivist philosophy of the Democratic Party has always been a frightening departure from the notion that, if government is at all necessary, its limited purpose should be to provide basic services that ensure a safe and civilized society in which men may compete with one another.

In order to shatter that heritage, Warren disingenuously insists that – while a business owner may have found success – along the way he undoubtedly utilized basic public services that “the rest of us paid for.”

Warren’s dishonest premise is that “the rich” have yet to chip in for basic public services. But everyone now knows that the top 10 percent of income earners pay nearly 70 percent of all federal income taxes, while almost half of all tax filers pay no income taxes at all.

But in order to convince the masses that “the rich” somehow remain indebted to the state, Democrats employ the lie that successful people have never been forced to compete, that their achievements have been the result of luck, circumstance, and unfair tactics.

In his speech, Obama openly mocked the idea of individualism: “If you’ve been successful, 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 hard-working people out there.”

Obama’s attitude is rather unsurprising once we understand the Marxist roots of the Democratic Party, and that the Marxist philosophy has always held that the rightful owners of all factory profits are the factory workers – the very people Democrats wish to make the beneficiaries of wealth redistribution.

Driven by a disdain for economic inequity – a hallmark of individual liberty – Democrats never fail to make the classic collectivist error. That is, they socialize economic competition – stripping all contestants not only of their rewards, but their incentive to work, persevere, and prosper.

And the results are always the same – poverty, despair, a society of slugs, and a nation that nobody recognizes.

The Power To Destroy

The statements made by Obama and Warren represent those rare and precious moments when the public is given an opportunity to see what Democrats really believe; newsworthy because most people are entirely unaware of just how un-American the Democratic Party has become.

What is most often reserved for the private halls of the Ivy League has now been openly pronounced – that is, the Left’s drastic deviation from the traditional American outlook on government (which is one of skepticism and mistrust).

Marked by painstaking efforts to severely limit state authority, America’s founding unleashed a system of free enterprise on a scale that the world had never seen before. Poor people from around the world rushed to American shores – and away from countries with more powerful governments – in order to take part in the opportunity provided by unfettered capitalism.

Government, Americans have widely accepted, has the capacity and tendency to oppress. “Don’t Tread On Me” was one of the rallying cries of the American Revolution. In 1798 Supreme Court Justice John Marshall would famously agree with Daniel Webster, writing that “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” And almost two hundred years later, Ronald Reagan would earn the nation’s affection for articulating most Americans’ economic instincts: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”

It goes without saying that a deep appreciation for the state is hardly widespread among American entrepreneurs. But today’s Democrats seem oblivious to the likelihood that most business owners would overwhelmingly agree with this sentiment: American companies succeed not because of government, but in spite of it.

And perhaps nobody would agree more than Rhode Island’s own small business owners. Just recently they found out what being ruled by the party of big-government ultimately delivers – a dead-last ranking in CNBC’s “Top States for Business” report.

The Ocean State’s impoverished capital city, run by 16 Democrats who burden Providence businesses with one of the highest business property tax rates in the country (second only behind Detroit), now has “more than one in three children…liv[ing] in poverty.”

For Rhode Island business owners, Obama’s speech must have been as baffling as an Abbott and Costello routine. Struggling to stay afloat, local businesses are pleading with the government to ease their tax burden and lower their regulatory costs. Suddenly, the President walks up to them and says, “You’re welcome.”

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is the chairman of the RI Young Republicans and author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.


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What the President and The Professor refuse to admit is that successful people who, for example, use roads to get their goods to market, also PAID for those roads, in the form of taxes. Further, if these people are successful, they are already being charged for it, at a higher rate than others pay. If you follow the logic of the President and the Professor out a little further, then it must also be true that those who do not pay taxes at all should not be allowed to use the roads. Their point of view is simply class warfare. The President should be more focused on spreading employment around.

Comment #1 by Michael Trenn on 2012 07 21

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody!

total garbage..

i own my own business.

my family is going to the beach today but im going to work. and my employees are off today too. and thats fine.

i take care of my employees very well. but they all know their job would not be there without me.

you would have to be a fool to vote democrat or you are a free loader. democrats and obama are not americans anymore.

Comment #2 by jon paycheck on 2012 07 21

You are right Joe P, but you and I know this is the welfare state of RI and too many people are hooked on the hand outs by the government, including the GA.

Comment #3 by Gary Arnold on 2012 07 21

Speaking of highly successful people, I would include Mr Omaba, who created products, (his books) and sold millions of copies and made tens of millions of dollars. If a right-wing-nut author did that he would be praised as a successful capitalist, but when Omaba makes millions selling a product (his books) he is condemned as a Communist ? ?

Comment #4 by Sammy Arizona on 2012 07 21

@ Sammy, no is called cashing out while he can.

Comment #5 by Gary Arnold on 2012 07 21

sammy---your comment makes absolutely no sense....

Comment #6 by jon paycheck on 2012 07 22

Sammy Arizona, nobody calls Obama a communist for being successful in the private sector. Just another socialist who, once he's used the free market system to achieve his own massive amounts of wealth, begins to tear it down so nobody else can do the same. See: Michael Moore.

Comment #7 by Chris O. on 2012 07 22


Villify one and you destroy all.

Marshall and Ronnie were right, Government is the problem.

Comment #8 by Paul Marshall on 2012 07 23

Just antother example of class warefare under the Obama administration! Not necessarily a position all democrats would take.

Comment #9 by Stan Lee on 2012 07 23

Unite We Stand... not so much, eh, Travis?

** quote **
All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.

-- Well known "socialist," Benjamin Franklin 1783
** end quote **

fwiw, I'd suggest the tribal areas in Yemen for starting a business with no pesky government to get in your way.

Comment #10 by Russ C on 2012 07 27

Russ, you cite someone else who also gets the issue of property rights completely wrong? Is this supposed to be a good point?

Do you have anything to say that can dispute Rowley's actual claims? No. So you cite the flawed logic of Benjamin Franklin?? Really?

And, yes, at the time of this writing, this clearly would have made BF what we would eventually call a "socialist"...Indisputable. Read that passage again. Thank GOD those principles weren't enshrined into the founding.


Comment #11 by Chris O. on 2012 07 30

Well, I could also cite Thomas Paine...

"Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally. Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man's own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came."
-- Thomas Paine, 1795

Hmmmm, Franklin, Paine, and Obama vs. Rowley. I think I'll stick with the "dummies."

Comment #12 by Russ C on 2012 08 03

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