The President took us on a journey this week. He took us back to our founding. To the arguments made by our founding fathers when they revolted against England.
He did so when he said “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” He explained that others contributed. Especially government, with infrastructure.
This has been a theme of his. It was a theme when he launched his humungous stimulus package. It funneled most of the money to government and quasi-government jobs. Its message was that government is the best source of economic health. Whenever he sees a problem he first looks to government to solve it. He brags about how government creates jobs. He urges people to seek careers in public service, not business.
He never seems to blame government for any of our ills. Instead, he lambastes various businesses and industries. He proposes heavier taxes on entrepreneurs.
A lot of Americans believe he is right. That all help comes from government. Or should. Many Americans believed it at the time of the Revolution. These were the Americans who wanted the colonies to stay with England.
They believed all power and goodness came from the king. They believed that it was the king who should dole out any rights they might enjoy.
Our founders upended this thinking. They argued that their rights were natural rights. They came from God. And that any powers that rulers enjoyed should come from the people. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Here is the logical extension of that thinking: Yes, government builds roads and bridges we use. Yes, it helps fund what becomes the internet. Yes, it contributes to our successes. Yes, it pours out food stamps. Yes, it educates our kids. Yes, it sends our Social Security checks.
But Jefferson and Franklin would argue that it can only do that when the people allow it to do so. And when the people send the bucks to government to fund those activities. In other words, the people create and fund the government.