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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » I Built That (A peice of fiction). (Page 1)

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Author Topic: I Built That (A peice of fiction).
Darth_Mauve
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Harold Charman stood at the podium, tall and proud in his blue suit and red tie. Across the street stood the gleaming tower that was Charman Industries new headquarters. It was 25,000 square feet of modern office space and 150,000 square feet of warehouse and production space.

It wasn't a skyscraper of glass and steel, but it was his. He had spent decades taking the small family business into the interstate powerhouse it was today. He brought it to the point of success that it could afford a new, modern, headquarters. He had made this happen.

Harold stood there thinking over and over his favorite refrain. "I built that."

As the people gathered around to cut the ribbon Harold noticed a young man, about 25, taking his young daughter, about 4, over to a better view of the new building.

"See that building hon?" the young father asked. "I built that. That is why I've not been home to tuck you in for the past few months. I've been working hard to build that building. But now, when ever you go by this corner, look up at that building with pride and know that your father built that."

Harold was struck dumb. How could this brick layer claim to have built his building. Harold knew that he built it, but he had just assembled it. Harold was the one who had built it. Harold had sacrifices so much time, energy, effort, and will power to make the company. This builder had spent time too, and energy and effort, but he was paid for those things.

Then again, thought Harold, so was I.

Harold looked away from the builder's family and turned to his friends. He turned to his wife.

She smiled and said, "I am so proud. To think that We Built That."

.
.

More to come. I have to go for family. Just want to get across the idea that "It takes a village to make a business."

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Samprimary
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Your father set up camp in the wilderness, harvested some wood, and had a search engine optimization LLC built up by his own two hands, n' fought off anyone who was looking to pinch his bandwidth or nick his spider code. Yassir, this here postindustrial economy is an individual's world, as I learned doing some rudimentary QA engineering off by Sleider's Creek in a lean-to in the warmer months...
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Orincoro
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When I was in college, I had it rough. Nobody helped me. If I needed money, I had to go to the ATM on my own, and get it. Nobody told me how to do that. I had to remember my pin-code, and I had to keep track of how much was in the account so that I wouldn't overdraft. If I wanted a coffee, well I had to go to Starbucks and order one. If I wanted food, I had to call someone to deliver it. I did it all on my own. Nobody helped me.
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capaxinfiniti
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This thread has made me realize that, yeah, the governments has built everything! And all this time I thought that blood, sweat, and tears were my own... But it wasn't actually me bleeding, sweating, and crying. My belief that a guy can build a skyscraper by himself, with just his own two hands, has been turned on its head. We might as well nationalize all businesses since they are all the brainchildren and hard work of the collective. All people having contributed equally should be rewarded equally too. Yay for "We didn't build that!"
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Strider
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capax, here is Obama's full quote, since you've obviously never seen it.

quote:
look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. 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. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

Now...you're an intelligent adult, in the quote above, what did this hypothetical business owner not build? Take all the time you want.
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Godric 2.0
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Darth_Mauve, I love this post.

quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
This thread has made me realize that, yeah, the governments has built everything! And all this time I thought that blood, sweat, and tears were my own... But it wasn't actually me bleeding, sweating, and crying. My belief that a guy can build a skyscraper by himself, with just his own two hands, has been turned on its head. We might as well nationalize all businesses since they are all the brainchildren and hard work of the collective. All people having contributed equally should be rewarded equally too. Yay for "We didn't build that!"

Capax, I think if you go back and read Darth_Mauve's story you'll find a bit more complexity than what you seem to be responding to here.

This whole "You didn't build that" "debate" has hinged upon a soundbite. It's much more complex and there are legitimate, interesting and relevant points on both sides of the argument - but it needs to be recognized as an issue, not a black/white narrative.

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Orincoro
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Lol, Capax. Of course. Clearly shades of grey don't exist. It would be waayyy too much to ask that you appreciate any degree of subtlety on this issue. [Smile]
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Kwea
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The point couldn't possibly be that all of them meant something a little different when they said "I built that", right? That all of them were telling the truth as they saw it, and all of them were correct, because it took all of their contributions and sacrifices to make it actually appear.
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Orincoro
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Is there any equivalent irony in Obama's "you didn't build that," statement to the Republicans saying "we built that," while congregating in a publicly built venue? In a way, they're right. Just for the wrong reasons.
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Teshi
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Since this whole argument and soundbite based politics is relatively absurd and you might as well go and stick your heads in a paperbag for all the good its doing for rational discussion (not this thread, the Romney rebuttal and the inability to make headway on this point between the camps) can I point out that piece is spelt piece? You can remember that it's a piece of pie. You wouldn't write pei, so now you will always know how to spell piece.

You might not have a great political discussion but at least you will always know how to spell piece.

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Orincoro
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Pai-Mei will be angry.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Strider:
capax, here is Obama's full quote, since you've obviously never seen it.

Seeing something is one thing, seeing a narrative is another.
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Dan_Frank
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Haven't we been through this before?

It's not hard to derive the Republican talking points about the Obama speech from, well, Obama's speech. Even with the full quote. Believe it or not, many of us saw the full quote first and still drew roughly the same conclusion that Romney's campaign did.

This is both due to the vagaries of the English language itself (wherein the "that" is just as easily referring to "business" as it is to the American system of roads and bridges) and, more importantly, due to the overall sentiment of the entire full quote (wherein individual achievement, intelligence, and effort is downplayed in comparison to government-built infrastructure).

This isn't surprising. That's a primary talking point on the left: Individual achievement is often downplayed compared to the role government programs/infrastructure/etc. plays in the success of a person or company.

The same way the inverse is a common talking point on the Right.

Why people need to convince themselves it's really about lying and distortions is beyond me.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
It's not hard to derive the Republican talking points about the Obama speech from, well, Obama's speech. Even with the full quote. Believe it or not, many of us saw the full quote first and still drew roughly the same conclusion that Romney's campaign did.

Really? You heard the full quote in context and came to the conclusion that Obama was explicitly claiming individuals don't build businesses? Because that is the claim put forward by the Romney camp- specifically that Obama said something that he specifically *did not say*. There's not that much weasel room in this. You can disagree with the sentiment of the statement, but they are claiming he said something he didn't. Surely, you aren't.
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Foust
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Haven't we been through this before?

It's not hard to derive the Republican talking points about the Obama speech from, well, Obama's speech. Even with the full quote. Believe it or not, many of us saw the full quote first and still drew roughly the same conclusion that Romney's campaign did.

This is both due to the vagaries of the English language itself (wherein the "that" is just as easily referring to "business" as it is to the American system of roads and bridges) and, more importantly, due to the overall sentiment of the entire full quote (wherein individual achievement, intelligence, and effort is downplayed in comparison to government-built infrastructure).

This isn't surprising. That's a primary talking point on the left: Individual achievement is often downplayed compared to the role government programs/infrastructure/etc. plays in the success of a person or company.

The same way the inverse is a common talking point on the Right.

Why people need to convince themselves it's really about lying and distortions is beyond me.

So you're defending the right to interpret something in a technically legitimate, but ridiculously bad faith manner?

So when you see this, do you think its legitimate to think this is the DNC's admission that they intend to bring back mid-20th century style totalitarianism? Everything within the State, nothing outside the State? Because there are right wingers interpreting it that way.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

Why people need to convince themselves it's really about lying and distortions is beyond me.

The answer is "Because it's about lying and distortions, dan."

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jul/26/mitt-romney/putting-mitt-romneys-attacks-you-didnt-build-truth/

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Darth_Mauve
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Some see President Obama's comment as saying, "The Government builds things, not the Entrepreneurs".

The Entrepreneurs say, "We built it ourselves."

What I say is that it wasn't the Government, or the Entrepreneurs, but many people in many ways that create success. Yes, the Entrepreneur leads, defines, and works hard to create something. But the employees work to make it happen, the customers pay money for the service, the family helps the Entrepreneur succeed, and a good government helps as well.

When the business owner yells, "No, I BUILT THAT!!!!" I as a worker thinks, "What an egotistical @#$@#$@. What about everyone else who helped you?"

Then I realize this comes from the Tea Party, or as I call it, the Me Party. Its the Me Generation grown old. Its all about "Me, Me, Me." If the taxes help others but not me, I'm not paying. If something is made, I want all the credit. If someone else has a point to make, then they should shut up and listen to....me.

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Samprimary
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Sounds about the common interpretation of the tea party at this point, I guess. (they're sort of totally falling off, and I guess it's not too much to hope occupy goes with them)
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Really? You heard the full quote in context and came to the conclusion that Obama was explicitly claiming individuals don't build businesses? Because that is the claim put forward by the Romney camp- specifically that Obama said something that he specifically *did not say*. There's not that much weasel room in this. You can disagree with the sentiment of the statement, but they are claiming he said something he didn't. Surely, you aren't.

Yeah, when I heard the full quote in context listening to Obama's speech, I interpreted it that way. Later I saw Jon Stewart mocking the Romney campaign for "cutting it" and "distorting it" and it took me a while to understand what Stewart's alternate interpretation was, or how on earth he'd gotten it.

I get it now, and I see it's a valid interpretation and probably the one Obama intended, but even so it really doesn't significantly change what he's saying.

Original interpretation:
Obama says that if you have a successful business, you didn't build it, someone else (government?) did.

New interpretation:
Obama says that if you have a successful business, your success is not due to your own intelligence or hard work (lots of people are smart and hard-working and don't succeed), but instead it's due to roads and bridges and public school teachers. And you didn't build those roads, bridges, or schools.

So... you aren't responsible for your success. It amounts to the same thing as the first interpretation, it just takes longer to get there.

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
The answer is "Because it's about lying and distortions, dan."

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jul/26/mitt-romney/putting-mitt-romneys-attacks-you-didnt-build-truth/ [/QB]

Yeah we've seen that and are in fact discussing the two interpretations. Just because a website agrees with you doesn't mean you're right, Sam. Above I think I explained why the politifact interpretation is insufficient.

If you disagree with my explanation, then offer an argument. [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
So you're defending the right to interpret something in a technically legitimate, but ridiculously bad faith manner?

So when you see this, do you think its legitimate to think this is the DNC's admission that they intend to bring back mid-20th century style totalitarianism? Everything within the State, nothing outside the State? Because there are right wingers interpreting it that way.

I think such an interpretation of the DNC ad is much more of a stretch than the common right-wing interpretation of Obama's speech. Seems pretty ridiculous. It's obvious they aren't saying that.

But I think lots of right-wingers will nevertheless react with some level of revulsion at that ad. Even when not taken in a very literal fascist interpretation, the sentiment that we "belong" to government is still one a lot of people categorically reject.

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BlackBlade
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Dan_Frank: Not exactly. You *are* responsible for your success. You are not *solely* responsible. You thrive because of individual initiative *and* the cooperation of other entities, including the government.

Nobody succeeds alone. Unless you were born in the wilderness, raised by wolves, educated yourself by spying on your human neighbors, write a book about it, walk around the country giving speeches for bucks, in which case you can thank the US Park Service for saving wolves from extinction and introducing them back into the United States. [Wink]

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Strider
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Maybe Dan (and others) think that when it comes to success there is a strict dichotomy, either you are solely responsible or not at all. Seems like a very naive dichotomy, but that's the only way his interpretation of Obama's remarks makes sense.
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Dan_Frank
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Nope, I'm not sayin' that, Strider.

BB, at no point did I say anyone is "solely" responsible for their success.

Maybe it will be clearer if I state that by far the most offensive part of Obama's speech, to my ear, was the condescending "It must be because I'm so smart... there are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked so hard... there are a lot of hard workin' people out there" bit.

That's downplaying individual responsibility and shifting the responsibility for success or failure onto external factors like government. That sentiment is at the core of his speech, and keeps cropping up. And that's what most folk like me were reacting so negatively to. "You didn't build that" just encapsulates the sentiment in a nice 4-word soundbite.

I predict that people now start arguing with me about how external factors do determine success or failure, the same way you, BB, are arguing about how much government helps people succeed. The last time I argued about this Rakeesh said Obama's speech was knocking "individual responsibility for success" off the unreasonably high pedestal that Republicans put it on.

That's all well and good, I'll disagree with such sentiments in a sec, but it's worth mentioning that these lines of argument are absolutely supporting my original assessment:

1: Obama's speech was intended to downplay individual responsibility for success.
2: It did so.
3: Republicans unsurprisingly disagreed with this.
4: They argued with him about it using a soundbite that encapsulates his position in a harsh light that is more likely to swing independents.

After all, you yourself are downplaying individual responsibility for success. And I am disagreeing with you! It's like Obama v. Romney, writ small.

I just don't see the elaborate lies. These are ideological differences. What's more, they are old, classic, retreads of ideological differences.

As for my personal disagreement with your comment, BB, and about Obama downplaying individual responsibility... Two things.

First: you, and others, throw in weasel words like "cooperation of other entities" and lump that in with government services. But even the most hardcore anarcho-capitalist is in favor of "cooperation of other entities," since that's a fundamental requirement for any sort of capitalism. Nobody across the aisle is actually saying that people succeed in a vacuum with no help from anyone or anything. That's a straw man.

Second: Ostensibly, government services are for the entire populace, yeah? So regardless of how many services they do or do not provide, they would still be providing things in an egalitarian way. Thereby ensuring equality of opportunity (government-provided opportunity, I mean. Families will provide varying levels of opportunity, right?).

Therefore, if you succeed within this structure where someone else failed, it is due to the things not provided by the government. It must be, right? The people who failed got the same government services, so you can't attribute success to government services.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
They argued with him about it using a soundbite that encapsulates his position in a harsh light that is more likely to swing independents.
If you replace the word "harsh" with the word "false," I would otherwise be in agreement.

Also: you've got a bee in your bonnet about the idea that Obama was referring only to government services. Of course that was the main thrust of the speech, but it's also vital to his argument -- and to simple, good sense -- to realize that the guy who owns a factory owes no small portion of his success to the workers in that factory, as well.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
They argued with him about it using a soundbite that encapsulates his position in a harsh light that is more likely to swing independents.
If you replace the word "harsh" with the word "false," I would otherwise be in agreement.

But I think I already demonstrated why it's not really false. It's an accurate summation of what Obama was implying.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Also: you've got a bee in your bonnet about the idea that Obama was referring only to government services. Of course that was the main thrust of the speech, but it's also vital to his argument -- and to simple, good sense -- to realize that the guy who owns a factory owes no small portion of his success to the workers in that factory, as well.

Who's arguing against this idea? Does Obama think there are people who don't think this is true?

I mean, the workers in the factory get paid, right? That indicates to all and sundry that the factory owner owes part of his success to them. Roughly speaking, he owes them... what he pays them. [Smile]

Again, no businessmen claim that they succeeded without the cooperation of anyone. They pay employees to help them, demonstrating through unequivocal action that they owe something to those employees, and they give valuable services to customers and spend lots of money advertising to customers and trying to make customers happy, because they recognize how vital a role the customer plays in their success. Hell, most business owners shout praises of their customers from the rafters.

So yeah. I'm glad you acknowledge that the main thrust of Obama's speech was about government services.

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Kwea
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And there have been recent studies about why people succeed, vs why they THINK they succeed, and luck plays a far greater part of it than skill or intelligence. TIMING is the most important thing in business, and most of the time timing is not something people can plan.

We love to think that we are more successful than other because we work harder, or are smarter, but the fact of the matter is that it usually has more to do with other factors...like family connections, demographics, and location than anything else.

No one is saying these people didn't work hard, didn't build their businesses, or didn't deserve their success. But so many owners of companies make 50-100 times what their employees make, and they usually don't work 2 jobs, spend 90 hours a week making ends meet, or accept teat their employees are the reason they succeed.

They don't understand that their stores exist because people have road to drive there and shop, that the fire services required to protect their stores are far more extensive than what is needed for most homes. That every piece of their inventory was probably made by someone else who probably works just as hard IF NOT HARDER than they do.

We like the idea that we succeed on our own merits, but that's a trap. OF COURSE we have to work hard, but we also need other people. To buy our stuff, to work for us, to build and maintain an infrastructure that allows our society....and their businesses...to grow and maintain our standard of living.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Nope, I'm not sayin' that, Strider.

BB, at no point did I say anyone is "solely" responsible for their success.

Maybe it will be clearer if I state that by far the most offensive part of Obama's speech, to my ear, was the condescending "It must be because I'm so smart... there are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked so hard... there are a lot of hard workin' people out there" bit.

That's downplaying individual responsibility and shifting the responsibility for success or failure onto external factors like government. That sentiment is at the core of his speech, and keeps cropping up. And that's what most folk like me were reacting so negatively to. "You didn't build that" just encapsulates the sentiment in a nice 4-word soundbite.

I predict that people now start arguing with me about how external factors do determine success or failure, the same way you, BB, are arguing about how much government helps people succeed. The last time I argued about this Rakeesh said Obama's speech was knocking "individual responsibility for success" off the unreasonably high pedestal that Republicans put it on.

That's all well and good, I'll disagree with such sentiments in a sec, but it's worth mentioning that these lines of argument are absolutely supporting my original assessment:

1: Obama's speech was intended to downplay individual responsibility for success.
2: It did so.
3: Republicans unsurprisingly disagreed with this.
4: They argued with him about it using a soundbite that encapsulates his position in a harsh light that is more likely to swing independents.

After all, you yourself are downplaying individual responsibility for success. And I am disagreeing with you! It's like Obama v. Romney, writ small.

I just don't see the elaborate lies. These are ideological differences. What's more, they are old, classic, retreads of ideological differences.

As for my personal disagreement with your comment, BB, and about Obama downplaying individual responsibility... Two things.

First: you, and others, throw in weasel words like "cooperation of other entities" and lump that in with government services. But even the most hardcore anarcho-capitalist is in favor of "cooperation of other entities," since that's a fundamental requirement for any sort of capitalism. Nobody across the aisle is actually saying that people succeed in a vacuum with no help from anyone or anything. That's a straw man.

Second: Ostensibly, government services are for the entire populace, yeah? So regardless of how many services they do or do not provide, they would still be providing things in an egalitarian way. Thereby ensuring equality of opportunity (government-provided opportunity, I mean. Families will provide varying levels of opportunity, right?).

Therefore, if you succeed within this structure where someone else failed, it is due to the things not provided by the government. It must be, right? The people who failed got the same government services, so you can't attribute success to government services.

Dan: I was not arguing that you said anything about *sole* responsibility, only that Obama is making that arguement. He went to school with scholarships and grants, but he also ran for President and won on his own initiative.

Liberals, at least this liberal don't believe talent and drive should be crushed or punished, they should be incentivized. But business owner is not what everybody should aspire too. And business owners shouldn't be called job creators, laborers should be called business creators. We love to hear about Steve Jobs in his garage, but nobody wants to talk about the assembly line foreman and staff who worked overtime to meet a tough quota so Mr. Jobs would have computers to display for that expo that introduced Apple computers to an ignorant world.

We write them off as if their minimum wage is all the thanks they should expect. This liberal doesn't want to hand the workers equal pay. But I do expect that if we are going to lavish money in the leadership, then the workers should have a floor beneath them. Education, healthcare, tools that will enable them to create and join the pursuit of happiness. A person who is ignorant or can't survive, can't contribute to a grand society.

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SpDTheadkeFor
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I'm curious, would the brick layer have built that building if the rich business man wasn't paying him to build it?

If the brick layer's trowel could talk, I'm sure it would say "I built that." And it would be correct to one degree or another. But the trowel can't do anything unless the bricklayer uses his time and energy to move it. In the same way the brick layer doesn't do anything unless the business man pays him to do it. The brick layer is the business man's trowel.

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Orincoro
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Pithy, and uninciteful. No, I'm sorry, I know you thought that was clever of you. But it just wasn't. [Frown]

The issue that tou'll run into here is not that liberals are particularly interested in claiming *who did* build things. It's a complex point, and there no beginnings and ends t labor, government and business. That is the point. There are no ends. A worker is *not* a trowel. Not least because a worker is himself or herself a customer and a member of society- a society in which he or she has equal protection and representation under the law. Your trowel *does not* talk. And tht is rather significant- the difference between muteness and deafness.

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Dan_Frank
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Businesses do treat their laborers as business creators (or, really, business sustainers), BB.

It's a lot easier to see this when looking at highly valued employees in a high-demand field. Excellent computer programmers are given great wages and employers compete not just on those wages but also on work atmospheres, allowing all sorts of office shenanigans that many other offices would never stand for.

When the job is easy enough that many people can do it, and pays well enough that many people would want to do it, then the employees have a lot less clout. Why on earth would it be any other way?

To the extent that they are difficult to replace, employees have increased value, and that gives them things like job security and negotiating power.

Put another way: To say that a business wouldn't succeed without it's employees is ridiculous. It wouldn't succeed without getting X work done.

If the best way to get that work done is by hiring ten random people, then the business owner wouldn't succeed without ten random people. He could easily succeed without the ten current employees he has, though.

But if he could get that work done with a machine, then you could say he owes his success to that automated machine, right?

And if the only way to get X work done is by hiring Fred the Highly Specialized Engineer, then it's fair to say the business owner would not have succeeded without Fred.

I'll bet Fred gets paid pretty damn well, too.

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Destineer
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I've read this thread with interest, but haven't had much to say, and honestly I still feel like the whole debate rests on a false assumption.

I've long since adopted a view according to which no one needs to build anything, or do anything, in order to deserve the best life can offer. The only reason to have (what many would naively call) a "meritocracy" is because it's an efficient way to get things done. The less "meritocratic" the distribution of liberties and resources can be while still getting things done, the better.

This means the Democrats are natural allies for me, but that alliance can get pretty unnatural at times. I find myself saying "No, Obama hasn't relaxed the work requirements for welfare" while simultaneously thinking, there shouldn't be any work requirements.

I can see why people get worked up about this sort of issue, but to me the whole premise of it is just grating. I want to say, OK dude, you Built It. Lah dee frickin' dah. Why you think that entitles you to more happiness, freedom and safety than the next guy who didn't Build It completely escapes me.

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BlackBlade
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Dan: I had a response 3/4ths typed up, but my brain is just tired. Sufficeth me to say, I feel people at the top and bottom are essential. The head can't say he has no need of the foot so to speak. I also feel that worst thing that can happen to somebody at the top is they just don't get what they are worth in salary compared to the skills they have, that sucks. It really does, it happens to people all down the line. (Please correct me if I am missing something).

The worst thing that happens to a person at the bottom is they starve to death.

I'm concerned about one of these things more than the other.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Dan: I had a response 3/4ths typed up, but my brain is just tired. Sufficeth me to say, I feel people at the top and bottom are essential. The head can't say he has no need of the foot so to speak. I also feel that worst thing that can happen to somebody at the top is they just don't get what they are worth in salary compared to the skills they have, that sucks. It really does, it happens to people all down the line. (Please correct me if I am missing something).

The worst thing that happens to a person at the bottom is they starve to death.

I'm concerned about one of these things more than the other.

One question: Is this conversation about economics and the role of government in general, or is it still about those issues within the context of the United States of America and Barack Obama's presidency?

I ask because if the former, that's fine, but I think I missed the topic switch. And if the latter, I think your concern is not very realistic.

At a guess, without checking stats, how many folks do you think starve to death in our country?

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BlackBlade
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It's not the numbers that give me pause, it's the severity of the problem. Down on that edge of the scale there's, gets killed, becomes addicted to drugs, ends up in prison, steals out of desperation or anger, gets a criminal record and thus can't get a job.

On the other side there's just nothing that compares. Can you think of something? A social floor, keeps people away from those extremes, and gives them the will and time to find something productive, instead of leeching resources from the working class.

Obama's remarks could be heard the way you describe but look at Romney's,

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.

Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax..."

In regards to his role, "my role is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

What slant can we give that statement so as to not feel like Romney only wants to govern his side of the aisle?

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Dan_Frank
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I don't much like his pessimism (the "I'll never convince them..." bit).

And yeah, that statement could easily spell Good Game for Romney's presidential bid. I'm amazed he put it like that! It's not just gonna look bad to leftists, I don't think.

But... for my own interpretation? I would guess, from what I know about Romney and Republicans in general, that his hope isn't that, say, that 47% of the country just dies or whatever. He probably hopes that he can "force" what he doesn't think he can persuade people of. That is, that by removing some of the dependence those people would then be forced to take more responsibility for their lives.

I'm not a fan of people using force instead of persuasion, but since the "force" in this case would be scaling back laws that, themselves, rely on forcing people to do things... Shrug.

[ September 18, 2012, 02:25 AM: Message edited by: Dan_Frank ]

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I don't much like his pessimism (the "I'll never convince them..." bit).

And yeah, that statement could easily spell Good Game for Romney's presidential bid. I'm amazed he put it like that! It's not just gonna look bad to leftist, I don't think.

But... for my own interpretation? I would guess, from what I know about Romney and Republicans in general, that his hope isn't that, say, that 47% of the country just dies or whatever. He probably hopes that he can "force" what he doesn't think he can persuade people of. That is, that by removing some of the dependence those people would then be forced to take more responsibility for their lives.

I'm not a fan of people using force instead of persuasion, but since the "force" in this case would be scaling back laws that, themselves, rely on forcing people to do things... Shrug.

I'll grant Romney may have just been pandering to his audience, it was after all said to a group of millionaire donors. It wasn't on the record.
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Godric 2.0
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I don't much like his pessimism (the "I'll never convince them..." bit).

And yeah, that statement could easily spell Good Game for Romney's presidential bid. I'm amazed he put it like that! It's not just gonna look bad to leftist, I don't think.

But... for my own interpretation? I would guess, from what I know about Romney and Republicans in general, that his hope isn't that, say, that 47% of the country just dies or whatever. He probably hopes that he can "force" what he doesn't think he can persuade people of. That is, that by removing some of the dependence those people would then be forced to take more responsibility for their lives.

I'm not a fan of people using force instead of persuasion, but since the "force" in this case would be scaling back laws that, themselves, rely on forcing people to do things... Shrug.

I'll grant Romney may have just been pandering to his audience, it was after all said to a group of millionaire donors. It wasn't on the record.
It was a public event... Maybe by invitation only, but hardly a closed-room, one-on-one meeting. I agree, he was probably pandering to his audience. Half of why I'm insulted is that an audience who believes 47% of Americans are lazy is worth pandering to. I know a lot of hard working people in that 47%. Yeah, there are those who are lazy and could be accurately described by Romney's comments. But I would argue they are a small fraction of that 47%.
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Bella Bee
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It mostly just amuses me that it had to be 47%.

Because everything is always 47.

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Darth_Mauve
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I'm amused because the reason many of that 47% rely on the government for food, healthcare, etc is because the millionaires in that room don't pay their employees enough so they can afford their own food, healthcare, etc.

Oh, and Dan, yes--the brick layer did get paid for his labor to build it. So did the owner of the company. In fact, he got paid more.

If payment for services rendered means you can't take credit for the time, effort, and sweat, then those paid the least should get the most credit.

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Chris Bridges
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The 47% number has been debunked, often. It includes the people who pay enough in payroll tax and have enough deductions (several big ones coming from GOP initiatives) that they don't owe at the end of the year. It includes retired people. It includes rich people who use deductions, carry-forwards and loopholes to avoid paying tax.

Romney has conflated a number (47% of Americans did not pay income tax this year) with another number (47% of Americans are diehard Obama supporters) that have no connection. And he has declared them all freeloaders, and that the only reason anyone supports Obama is because they believe they are victims and want to continue being a drain on the state.

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SpDTheadkeFor
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Oh, and Dan, yes--the brick layer did get paid for his labor to build it. So did the owner of the company. In fact, he got paid more.

If payment for services rendered means you can't take credit for the time, effort, and sweat, then those paid the least should get the most credit.

Yes the business owner did get paid more than the brick layer, and he used his extra money to pay for the building's construction and expand his business. The business man took the most risk and in my opinion is entitled to more of the reward.

The majority of people in this country choose to work for someone else, myself included. It tends to be a safer more stable path. Those who attempt to build their own business take on much more risk. They can make huge profits, they may just keep their heads above the water, or they may lose everything they invested.

I could go start my own engineering firm, but I simply don't want to take the risk. The time, effort, and uncertainty is simply not worth it to me. The company I work for took that risk and I have no problem if they get paid a lot more than me. Their success means I have a stable job.

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Orincoro
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The argument against investor-class friendly laws is not tht we don't want these people investing money. It is the fact. Read: the fact, that the current system encourages *more* wealth sequestration than investment, that worries us. The fact is that in the current system, the investor class bleeds more money out of the economy than is reinvested. That is just the way it is. Tht is where middle class money has been going. And that tells you that the code is too lenient- that if it continues this way, enough money will be bled out of circulation n the real economy to collapse it. That is the central danger of reagonomics, and it is becoming true.
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Darth_Mauve
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SpD, I do not deny the risk, time, effort, skill, and energy of those who start their own businesses. I am thankful for them.

I was arguing against Dan's statement that he was paid for his labor, so he shouldn't be given credit for building something.

The owner was paid for his labor as well, and by Paid I mean he earned more money after reinvestment in his company.

I work for an owner who does not make more money than me--yet. He invests every penny into this company with plans on making it grow nationwide. I am in awe of his courage and his brilliance.

He has a group of very loyal and hard working employees, clients, and others because he doesn't claim all the credit for the companies success. He freely gives it, and blame, where it is deserved.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:


Maybe it will be clearer if I state that by far the most offensive part of Obama's speech, to my ear, was the condescending "It must be because I'm so smart... there are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked so hard... there are a lot of hard workin' people out there" bit.


Do you think that is in some way untrue? Do you think that everyone (or even most) people who are smart and hard working end up being successful? Do you think that being smart and hardworking is the most important factor in being successful?
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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by SpDTheadkeFor:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Oh, and Dan, yes--the brick layer did get paid for his labor to build it. So did the owner of the company. In fact, he got paid more.

If payment for services rendered means you can't take credit for the time, effort, and sweat, then those paid the least should get the most credit.

Yes the business owner did get paid more than the brick layer, and he used his extra money to pay for the building's construction and expand his business. The business man took the most risk and in my opinion is entitled to more of the reward.

The majority of people in this country choose to work for someone else, myself included. It tends to be a safer more stable path. Those who attempt to build their own business take on much more risk. They can make huge profits, they may just keep their heads above the water, or they may lose everything they invested.

I could go start my own engineering firm, but I simply don't want to take the risk. The time, effort, and uncertainty is simply not worth it to me. The company I work for took that risk and I have no problem if they get paid a lot more than me. Their success means I have a stable job.

Your forgetting that your rich theoretical man most likely went to a bank anyway, secured a business loan, and used those funds to create the company, then pay back the loan. Should the loan officer be called a job creator?
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

Original interpretation:
Obama says that if you have a successful business, you didn't build it, someone else (government?) did.

New interpretation:
Obama says that if you have a successful business, your success is not due to your own intelligence or hard work (lots of people are smart and hard-working and don't succeed), but instead it's due to roads and bridges and public school teachers. And you didn't build those roads, bridges, or schools.

So... you aren't responsible for your success. It amounts to the same thing as the first interpretation, it just takes longer to get there.

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
The answer is "Because it's about lying and distortions, dan."

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jul/26/mitt-romney/putting-mitt-romneys-attacks-you-didnt-build-truth/

Yeah we've seen that and are in fact discussing the two interpretations. Just because a website agrees with you doesn't mean you're right, Sam. Above I think I explained why the politifact interpretation is insufficient.

If you disagree with my explanation, then offer an argument. [Smile] [/QB]

Because the "new interpretation" you have is still a misinterpretation. Moreover, what you asked is why it had to be about lying and distortion, and politifact is throwing the answer straight at you: the republicans are purposefully using an incorrect reading of his statement. This is "lying" and "distortion" and I think under most circumstances you would object more strenuously to the practice of someone taking something you said and committing to a distorting incorrect interpretation of it.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Really? You heard the full quote in context and came to the conclusion that Obama was explicitly claiming individuals don't build businesses? Because that is the claim put forward by the Romney camp- specifically that Obama said something that he specifically *did not say*. There's not that much weasel room in this. You can disagree with the sentiment of the statement, but they are claiming he said something he didn't. Surely, you aren't.

Yeah, when I heard the full quote in context listening to Obama's speech, I interpreted it that way. Later I saw Jon Stewart mocking the Romney campaign for "cutting it" and "distorting it" and it took me a while to understand what Stewart's alternate interpretation was, or how on earth he'd gotten it.

Okay. You are totally disconnected from reality. Now I understand. I'm sorry, there is not a discussion to be had on this. You are wrong. If the reality of the video doesn't convince you, I will not.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Original interpretation:
Obama says that if you have a successful business, you didn't build it, someone else (government?) did.

New interpretation:
Obama says that if you have a successful business, your success is not due to your own intelligence or hard work (lots of people are smart and hard-working and don't succeed), but instead it's due to roads and bridges and public school teachers. And you didn't build those roads, bridges, or schools.

So... you aren't responsible for your success. It amounts to the same thing as the first interpretation, it just takes longer to get there.

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
The answer is "Because it's about lying and distortions, dan."

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jul/26/mitt-romney/putting-mitt-romneys-attacks-you-didnt-build-truth/ [/qb]

Yeah we've seen that and are in fact discussing the two interpretations. Just because a website agrees with you doesn't mean you're right, Sam. Above I think I explained why the politifact interpretation is insufficient.

If you disagree with my explanation, then offer an argument. [Smile]

Because the "new interpretation" you have is still a misinterpretation. Moreover, what you asked is why it had to be about lying and distortion, and politifact is throwing the answer straight at you: the republicans are purposefully using an incorrect reading of his statement. This is "lying" and "distortion" and I think under most circumstances you would object more strenuously to the practice of someone taking something you said and committing to a distorting incorrect interpretation of it.
Bolded the crux of the issue.

You think politifact is throwing the answer straight at me, because you think (like Orincoro below you) that the truth is patently obvious and anyone who disagrees with you is obviously wrong. But the truth isn't obvious. Informed people frequently disagree on this and many other issues, because they have varying explanations for the facts in evidence.

And all of this is predicated on the idea that my explanation is still relying on a misinterpretation of Obama.

But you've advanced zero arguments to that effect. How did I misrepresent him? In this very thread Obama supporters have, unsurprisingly, disagreed with me about the role of individual responsibility. They're siding with the sentiment behind Obama's speech... the sentiment that I and the Republicans are criticizing Obama for... the sentiment that informs the whole topic of this post.

This is a substantive ideological disagreement. Focusing on the quote is a distraction. The quote is convenient and sounds particularly damning, but with or without it the core of the disagreement is unchanged.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Really? You heard the full quote in context and came to the conclusion that Obama was explicitly claiming individuals don't build businesses? Because that is the claim put forward by the Romney camp- specifically that Obama said something that he specifically *did not say*. There's not that much weasel room in this. You can disagree with the sentiment of the statement, but they are claiming he said something he didn't. Surely, you aren't.

Yeah, when I heard the full quote in context listening to Obama's speech, I interpreted it that way. Later I saw Jon Stewart mocking the Romney campaign for "cutting it" and "distorting it" and it took me a while to understand what Stewart's alternate interpretation was, or how on earth he'd gotten it.

Okay. You are totally disconnected from reality. Now I understand. I'm sorry, there is not a discussion to be had on this. You are wrong. If the reality of the video doesn't convince you, I will not.
That's an amazing argument! Thanks! [Smile]
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Destineer
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You guys aren't doing a very good job of something that should be very easy, namely spelling out for Dan exactly what's wrong with what he's saying. As I said, I don't give a crap who built it, but I can't bear to watch this continue.

Dan's new interpretation of what Obama said:

quote:
New interpretation:
Obama says that if you have a successful business, your success is not due to your own intelligence or hard work (lots of people are smart and hard-working and don't succeed), but instead it's due to roads and bridges and public school teachers. And you didn't build those roads, bridges, or schools.

which entails that if you are successful, your success is in no part due to individual initiative ("your success is not due to your own intelligence or hard work").

For this to be the correct interpretation of what Obama said, it must not be in contradiction with anything Obama actually said.

Among other things, Obama said:
quote:

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

which entails that if you are successful, your success is in part due to individual initiative.

So, Dan's interpretation of Obama contradicts one of the things Obama said. So it's not the right interpretation of what he said.

To put it another way, the prez clearly and explicitly said

"A, but also B"

and Dan interprets him as saying

"B and not A."

QE goddamn D, as my favorite math prof used to say.

[ September 18, 2012, 11:00 PM: Message edited by: Destineer ]

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Dan_Frank
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Sorry Destineer, but you're misunderstanding me. I probably wasn't clear enough. Sorry about that!

I don't think he's saying "B and not A." I think he's saying "B before A." Or "Mostly B and then, yeah, of course there's some A too, whatever, B is the important thing."

Whereas, once again, my position is a lot closer to "A and B. But B is, by design, supposed to be the same for everyone, so the primary deciding factor is A."

These are all oversimplified, but that's the gist.

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