“Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” said President Obama to reporters in Virginia on Saturday (via Kerry Picket). “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.”
President Obama isn’t necessarily wrong. Most business require employees, suppliers, customers, etc., etc. A truly free market requires government too, in so far as it is necessary to enforce contracts and laws against things like theft and fraud.
So no, nobody really does it alone. The brilliant inventor can’t manufacture and distribute his inventions without a workforce, but the workforce has nothing to manufacture and distribute without the inventor and his/her invention.
But Obama is using the symbiotic, voluntary relationship between management and labor in the free market as justification for wealth redistribution. That’s a perversion of the entire concept. What Obama is talking about isn’t free people working together to find prosperity. What Obama is talking about is the subversion of the individual because the individual is a part of society. Obama says of your success, “somebody else made that happen.” Somebody else may have helped that happen, but successful people are responsible for their success.
What’s more, Obama undermines his own class warfare. He’s right that “the rich” don’t become rich on their own. They employ a lot of people, and do business with a lot of other people and businesses, along the way. Thus, in order for one rich person to become rich, they must by necessity create wealth and prosperity for a lot of people around them.
All the more reason not to attack the rich with exorbitant taxes.