Right-wingers are going to say this is an apples-to-oranges comparison, and up to a point they're right:
Quote of the Day: Mitt Romney Told Olympians They Didn't Get There AlonePresident Obama, of course, said that if you built a successful business, you didn't build the roads and bridges and other infrastructure without which it couldn't thrive, and teachers taught you, and so on. He was making the case, above all, for government's assistance in getting you to where you are. The Romney Olympic statement being quoted is much broader -- but please note that it's not all about family and friends and coaches (emphasis added):
"You Olympians, however, know you didn't get here solely on your own power," said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year's Summer Olympics. "For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let's also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right! [pumps fist]."How do communities build venues? As a rule, they use tax dollars -- or, to put it in terms right-wingers can understand, they take your hard-earned income and give it to someone they decide deserves it more than you do.
Funny how "transfers of wealth" are never described in such poisonous terms when we're talking about hometown hero Jennifer or Dylan hoping to make it to the Olympics.
See, this is the thing: When it suits right-wingers, they say all government is evil -- the power to tax is the power to destroy, any transfer of my income to you is theft, and so on. But when it's something like this, well, suddenly we can talk about taxation as just another part of a Norman Rockwell, Mom-and-apple-pie world where upstanding American communities come together to help their own.
Barack Obama was just trying to expand our understanding of that notion, which applies beyond Anytown USA building a nicer facility so Dylan or Jennifer can train. It extends to things as big as the interstate highway system and Social Security and the Food and Drug Administration.
It's bad for us if it's bad for us. It's not bad for us if it's government. Even Mitt Romney concedes that.