Saturday, December 10, 2016

The difference between capitalism and socialism

I’m sure most people remember the snarky condescending remarks President Obama made in 2012: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. … If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
The gist of his speech is no business owner can take credit for his or her successful enterprise. Instead, we must give credit to the government, which built the roads and bridges and the Internet and other infrastructure that made any success possible.
Obama’s remarks rightfully caused a furor among small-business owners. So capitalism can’t work without extensive government regulations? Businesses can’t succeed without government funding? On what planet?
Why would the president make such a patently absurd claim? I believe the answer could be found in an Erik Rush column: “If business owners owe their success to others [especially the government], then it ostensibly justifies confiscating their wealth.”
Even David Chavern, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in response to Obama’s speech, “Success is apparently a collective effort – but where was that ‘collective’ during the periods of risk-taking and failure? The vast majority of businesses fail. … Every day millions of people put their lives, savings, houses and families on the line and work 20 hours a day just to grab their small slice of the American dream. Where is the collective when all of this is going on? And if the collective is really responsible for success, how come everyone isn’t successful?
Let’s face it, there are certain individuals who have the drive and interest to start their own business. These are the people who worked harder, studied more, took more risks and didn’t look for handouts. No one ever became successful by folding his or her hands and doing nothing, no matter how many roads and bridges there are.
But there are lots and lots of people to whom “success” means confiscating the wealth of the producers and redistributing it to those who don’t produce. After all, it’s unfair for wealthy people to have wealth. And “wealth” these days is defined as “having something the government wants.” 

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