This week, Obama opined that American ingenuity has nothing to do with individual success. Johnny did not build his business, and Suzy didn’t build hers. To quote the President: “somebody else made that happen.” But Johnny had the idea, and then he made it happen with “hard” work (which O should appreciate because he often tells us how really “hard” his job is). Johnny’s family and/or friends may have joined him in the endeavor, and maybe they all made it happen, but it had nothing to do with Government. Dittos for Suzy. If Johnny and/or Suzy had an inspiring teacher, they would likely be the first to credit that teacher, because they are conservatives, and conservatives are cool like that. Liberal pundits have been all over talk shows desperately trying to lend credibility to Obama’s statement, because neither you or I know which came first, they say, the chicken or the egg, and so…we can’t really know. Maybe the President is right, is the point they are making. Well, I know which came first, and I’ll get to that a few paragraphs down.
Obama didn’t credit the people with the ingenuity for paying the taxes which paid the salaries for the teachers for the good of the entire society, and he certainly didn’t criticize the half of the people who paid nothing toward those salaries. (Don’t bother to tell me about city and state sales tax because Obama doesn’t talk about those, so why should you). The roads and bridges were built with taxpayer funds, and designed and engineered by some really smart and energetic people, meaning they may be smarter than some, and they get up and go to work every day. Here’s his exact words:
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.
So many things wrong about that. Let’s start with some background of the chicken and the egg and an industrious people, their roads and their taxes:
On the fifth day, God decided that the earth should produce “living creatures,” such as livestock and wild animals. The day before, he made all the creatures in the sea and the birds that flew above in the sky, but I think chickens came on the fifth day with the cattle and lions. God didn’t say, the land will produce an egg, which will then produce a chicken. The chicken came first, and it was designed for food for mankind, made in God’s own image. Trust me. I’m right.
Adam and Eve first sent two of their sons out into the fields to work. That didn’t work out so well for one of them. Nevertheless, there was no one to scythe the fields, to hunt and gather, to grow the crops and build house and shelter with sheafs, except the family.
Over time, the family members, wearing their handmade sandals, pounded a path to the neighbor’s house, and the neighbors pounded it back when the urge to be neighborly took over, and like magic…they saw that it was good, and they called the path a road, and that path was trod for centuries.
Then came the Hebrew, Joseph. His jealous brothers sold him into slavery to the Egyptians. Joseph did what he had to do and became a good and faithful servant to Pharaoh, who treated him like a son. The big story about Joseph and Pharaoh is the “dream,” but this Ruler not only had a dream, he had an idea.
Pharaoh tasked Joseph with collecting one-fifth of all the people’s crops for the Treasury. Thus was born the first tax. Unfortunately, there were famines far and wide. Soon there were no crops and Joseph gave grains back to the people so they would have food, but only in exchange for livestock, and wah-la, another steeper tax was born.
Soon, the cattle were gone and Eminent Domain made it’s first rude intrusion into the lives of the people. In order to eat, the people gave Pharaoh their lands.
Once their lands were gone, they were still hungry, and so they sold themselves to the Pharaoh for food. Now they were slaves, as were most of the unfortunates in Egypt, and they built bigger and better roads so that they could continue to eat. Maybe they built bridges. I’m not sure.
What I am sure of is, Pharaoh would have had no grain, no livestock, no land and no roads without the people growing the grain, tending the cattle and the land, and eventually as slaves, building the roads.
The Pharaoh, which was the Government of the time, did nothing to produce the grain, nurture the livestock, and enrich the land. Just as today, the Government receives from the people, but produces nothing for the people, that the people have not already sacrificed and paid for.
Joseph eventually escaped the land of slavery and he and his family made sure they stayed a free people, which means all throughout the family history, wars were fought, some won, some lost – a long story of huge struggle.
With freedom, the people went back to building roads because they wanted to use them to fulfill a need, not because they were forced to – and maybe building a magnificent road excited their spirit. Someone, or someones, figured out that if you mixed clay with straw and formed it into some shape, and set it in the sun, it would bake and make something they called a brick. The earliest bricks were found below the city of Jericho. I’m thinking the Government didn’t commission bricks to be made until some man with a lot of vision, energy and brainpower tried it and saw that it was good (might have been the wife’s idea).
Without a vision (an idea), things do not happen. Or maybe they happen but fail. Some with energy and excitement for the mission persist, and the vision becomes more than a daydream. Some people’s visions never come true, for reasons we don’t understand, but usually because they are unrealistic or incorrectly managed, or the persistence is not there. Many of us live good and productive lives without our visions coming true. Then there are those busy doing things that leave them incapable of vision and persistence. Most of those do not pay taxes.
But in this ancient time, Joseph and his family throughout the years did pay taxes, and those taxes were used for the common good. Taxes were in excess of the Temple tithe of 10%, which maintained the holy places and those who did the maintaining. But the people were still free. Nothing matters but living freely, which includes many misfortunes, screwing up your life beyond belief but making amends and moving on, devastating illness, heartbreaking losses – enduring them, but living freely. Living freely also means you can be a couch potato with a remote, because in America, you can do that and taxpayers will buy your beer. You’ll still get a check from the Pharaoh’s stash, which came from the people.
For some, like the couch potato, the Government is the goose that laid the golden egg, but that egg is rotten to the yolk with a poison that kills the spirit. No good thing can come from a Government that takes money from the people and misuses and abuses it.
Johnny and Suzy will take time off from work to exercise their privilege to vote. They don’t need ACORN to sign them up, or pick them up, and they will insist on the polling crew checking their I.D., even if their state foolishly doesn’t require it. They will vote, and the friends and family who contributed to their success will vote, and none of them will vote for Barack Obama.
The Parable of Johnny ends with everyone in the family working and taking care of each other as the years pass, so that others outside the family don’t have to take on a responsibility that adds to their own. Decade after decade this is the way it goes for the Johnny’s and Suzy’s in America. Graphic Credit.