… the one you built, of course:
This one was the overwhelming pick in the final OOTY poll. It got 62.14% of the 4,300 votes cast; the runner-up was Barack Obama’s sudden realization that the founders created a system where sudden change is impossible, and that only got 18%. Interestingly, the one I had originally thought might carry the day — “The private sector is doing fine” — came in last, with just 3.72% of the vote.
As for the context of this Obamateurism, I’ll go back to what I wrote at the time:
Actually, had Obama not been so ham-fisted in his construction, he would have had a good point about the balance between liberty and the government that secures it. We do need to have roads and bridges and the like that allow sellers and buyers to find each other; we need some regulation to prevent fraud and theft, in order to make markets operate efficiently and honestly. Our system of constitutional self-government provides a framework that allows for enough governance to provide those necessary checks without becoming overbearing, and without government distorting those markets for the preferred outcomes of elites rather than the outcomes decided by voluntary associations in the marketplace.
Unfortunately, we have deviated far down the latter path for decades, and Obama wants to go even farther down a road that leads to economic stagnation and the stunting of liberty. That path also leads to the arrogance and ignorance on display when a politician who has never operated his own business or worked in any significant manner in the private sector tells people who took enormous risks to start their own businesses that “you didn’t build that” and “someone else made that happen.” Of course the business owner built the business and was primarily the one that “made it happen”; without someone willing to take the risk, businesses wouldn’t get built at all.
Obama took an opportunity to make a good point and booted it into the realm of clueless-elite satire. And he did it in a prepared speech. Whether or not it took a White House village to create that speech, Obama made it, and this Obamateurism, happen.
At the time, Obama complained that his remarks were taken out of context, but the context actually made it worse:
The context which Obama claims is that he was talking about small business owners not building the infrastructure, not their businesses. But who pays for infrastructure? Government doesn’t pull the money off the magic trees of the Progressive Sunshine Forest; they take capital from taxpayers, either current or (increasingly) future taxpayers. Small businesses generate a large amount of that tax base, thanks to the point-of-sale transactions conducted and the labor they use, as well as property taxes and the like. If anyone should get credit for the infrastructure for successful markets, it’s the small businessman. Even in context, Obama and Elizabeth Warren treat small businesses like parasites rather than the foundation for the economy which makes all their beloved infrastructure possible at all.
As usual, OOTY voters have chosen … wisely.
Previous Obamateurisms of the Year:
- Giving 2 minutes of “shout-outs” before getting to the Fort Hood shooting (2009)
- Obama leaves Clinton at press conference podium on tax deal to attend Christmas party (2010)
- “I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president— with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln.” (2011)
For more on the history and end of the OOTDs, here’s my post from November 9th.