By now most Americans are aware of President Obama’s infamous “You-didn’t-build-that” gaff. I suspect the President wishes he had never made that absurd remark and could retract it—not because he doesn’t believe it but because it has been such a public-relations disaster for him. In fact, were the mainstream media not on his side and able to downplay reaction to Obama’s mindless musing, he would have been laughed out of office. This is why conservative commentator, Michelle Malkin, wrote her new book, Who Built That, a thorough and thoroughly scathing refutation of Obama’s socialist point of view. I heartily recommend the book to anyone who was surprised, frustrated, or offended by the President’s poorly-calculated comment.
Here is how Malkin summarizes her take on the President’s “You-didn’t-build-that” gaff: “His intent was to humiliate and shame those who reject collectivism. The president’s message: Innovators are nothing special. Their brains and work ethics are no different from anyone else’s. They owe their success to taxpayers and public school teachers and public roads and bridges. Pushing to raise taxes even higher on wealthy Americans, Obama brazenly stoked you-think-you’re-so-smart resentment of business owners and placed government at the center of the American success story.” Somebody should have told the president—whose personal wealth amounts to more than $10,000,000—people have no business resenting successful business men and women unless they have risked what they have risked, endured what they have endured, and done what they have done to become successful.
Malkin makes the excellent point that entrepreneurship was so important to America’s Founding Fathers that they enshrined it in the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 encourages the “progress of science and useful arts”). According to Malkin, our Founders understood that harnessing the ability, ambition, and drive of talented individuals seeking private rewards for their efforts actually benefitted the public as a whole. She gives numerous examples in her new book of this phenomenon in which individuals seeking to profit from their inventions, labors, and talents benefitted the general public even more. Further, she makes the excellent point that it does not even matter if the public good was their principle motivation. By helping themselves, they helped others.
Among those Malkin profiles are Willis Carrier and Irvine Lyle, John Augustus Roebling, and Tony Maglica. Carrier and Lyle pioneered the concept of air conditioning, something that comes in real handy in my neck of the woods—the Deep South. Roebling invented wire cable, the invention that allowed suspension bridges to be built. Millions of people have driven over Roebling’s bridges, which include the Brooklyn Bridge and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Maglica is the inventor of the world-renowned flashlight. These entrepreneurs—like the others profiled in Malkin’s new book—not only built their products and companies without government help, they created thousands of jobs in doing so, and benefited mankind in ways even they could not have imagined. This is how the concept of entrepreneurship works, in spite of musings to the contrary by a president whose only jobs have been in government (I don’t allow that being a community organizer is even a real job. I think it is something someone who didn’t have a real job claims on his political resume).
It now takes more than two billion dollars a year—taxpayer dollars—to support the office of the President of the United States. By way of comparison it requires a piddling 58 million to support Britain’s royal family each year. The perquisites of the presidency rival those of Saudi princes, yet Barack Obama resents the wealth earned by entrepreneurs who developed their ideas into products and businesses that benefit mankind in ways his presidency never will. According to Malkin, “Profit…is now treated as a profanity in today’s class-warfare-poisoned discourse. Those who seek financial enrichment for the fruits of their labor and creativity are cast as greedy villains, selfish barons, and rapacious beasts—and so are the wealthy investors who support them.” She makes the point that during his 2012 campaign for the presidency, Barack Obama routinely excoriated “millionaires and billionaires” as public enemies, then jumped on his luxurious presidential jumbo jet—Air Force One—and scurried off to Hollywood to raise money from his buddies there—all of them millionaires and billionaires.
Anyone who resents the top one-percent who Obama and company love to demonize should study the life stories of these entrepreneurs before jumping on the President’s resentment bandwagon. Start with Tony Maglica—inventor of the famous flashlight. Maglica endured poverty and living conditions that would make America’s worst ghettos look luxurious by comparison. This is also the case with many of those who are now in America’s top one-percent. They are wealthy now, but they weren’t always. My message to Obama and other hypocrites on the left is this: Until you have endured what these people endured and done what they did to succeed, don’t criticize. Yes, they have made a lot of money but they have also benefited mankind in ways the Barack Obama’s of the world never have and never will.