As I’ve often noted before, I strive to heed the warning of the great Michael Savage who said, “Don’t be a knee-jerk Conservative.”
So as I watched Varney & Company this morning on the Fox Business Network (if Fox News leans Conservative, then Fox Business is even better because it leans Libertarian) as they played the weekend excerpts from President Obama’s speech about how successful people didn’t get that way without the help of government endeavors like public school teachers, interstates and the Internet, I tried to give the President his due.
These are valid points, I thought. I somewhat liken them to the controversial “It takes a village to raise a child” remarks by Hillary Clinton. I mean, I get what they’re saying. I didn’t hear the President include this in his remarks, but heck, without a strong military protecting us from evil adversaries, how would any of us be able to enjoy success?
The FBN team of Stuart Varney, Charles Payne and Nicole Petallides champed at the bit to jump all over these points, predictably. They’re having a field day, it’s no surprise. The President served them a hanging breaking ball. Those who’ve created their own businesses understandably bristle at the notion that they couldn’t have done it without the government’s help.
Could both the President and the FBN Libertarian-Conservatives be right? Sure they can. The point, however, is: what should we as Americans choose to emphasize when discussing the successful?
Traditionally, we cite the entrepreneurial spirit of individuals operating in a free market society (President Obama did credit our system of government in his speech). That’s the American narrative, which is precisely why Varney chose to call the President’s emphasis on the government facilitating success of individuals as an “Un-American” message. It sounded more European, he suggested, and credibly so as he is from England.
Charles Payne, who is tremendous on FBN and as a panelist and fill-in host on both Varney & Company and Neil Cavuto’s Saturday morning shows, made the best point of all. He mused rhetorically: If all it took were roads and teachers and other government resources, then why isn’t everybody successful?
Zing! He nailed it. He went on to personalize his commentary by briefly championing his own business success coming from a less than modest Harlem upbringing. Yes, successful people tend to be insulted when you tell them they couldn’t have done it without the government’s help.
Nicole Petallides piled on from the floor of New York Stock Exchange by noting that whenever Romney is up in the head-to-head polling results, Wall Street is abuzz with optimism.
The team and its guests also presented the premise, rightfully so, that it is the people who pay for the government initiatives. That should lead one to ask, what was the point the President was trying to make? We know he’s pushing a tax increase on only the most successful individuals, so it can be supposed that he is suggesting that they aren’t currently paying enough for those teachers and roads.
I’m no Varney or Payne or Joe the Plumber for that matter, but that does sound much more European than American in my view.
The argument is of the chicken-or-egg variety, I.e., are individuals successful because of government infrastructure or do we have government infrastructure because people are successful (and thereby pay a lot of revenue to the government)? We know where each side stands. The chickens on the Left only view the world through its prism of government control. They see every dollar earned as belonging to the government, who then decides how much of it to give to each individual. The FBN rebellion to the President’s remarks indicates they are the eggmen (koo-koo-ka-choo!) when it comes to the interrogative above.
Meanwhile, I found myself so compelled by Payne’s commentary that it occurred to me that he’d make a great running mate for Romney. Man I’d love to see him in a debate against Bungling Joe Biden. Payne’s rising from modest background to achieve big success is just the sort of pro-business narrative that belongs on the Romney ticket, which is taking a beating for Romney’s own big business storyline (“of sending jobs overseas” as the Left puts it).
Hey, I’d much rather see Payne in the White House than pain in our tax rates.