While I was reading President Obama’s budget speech today, I noticed a recurring meme, one that he and others on the left have used time and again.
It was his use of the word “fortunate.”
Here’s where he used it today:
As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally born a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate. This is not because we begrudge those who’ve done well – we rightly celebrate their success. Rather, it is a basic reflection of our belief that those who have benefitted most from our way of life can afford to give a bit more back.
I say that at a time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in half a century, the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more. I don’t need another tax cut. Warren Buffett doesn’t need another tax cut. Not if we have to pay for it by making seniors pay more for Medicare. Or by cutting kids from Head Start. Or by taking away college scholarships that I wouldn’t be here without. That some of you wouldn’t be here without. And I believe that most wealthy Americans would agree with me. They want to give back to the country that’s done so much for them. Washington just hasn’t asked them to.
Whenever President Obama discusses the wealthy, he refers to them in a manner that assumes they simply fell into piles of money and didn’t have to work for it. They are just “fortunate, ” or “benefitted most from our way of life.” He even refers to Warren Buffet as a fortunate American who wants to “back to the country that’s done so much for them.”
Warren Buffett isn’t fortunate. Warren Buffett has hustled for every dime since he was a kid:
Even as a child, Buffett displayed an interest in making and saving money. He went door to door selling chewing gum, Coca-Cola, or weekly magazines. For a while, he worked in his grandfather’s grocery store. While still in high school, he carried out several successful money-making ideas: delivering newspapers, selling golfballs and stamps, and detailing cars, among them. Filing his first income tax return in 1944, Buffett took a $35 deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route. In 1945, in his sophomore year of high school, Buffett and a friend spent $25 to purchase a used pinball machine, which they placed in the local barber shop. Within months, they owned several machines in different barber shops.
Buffett’s interest in the stock market and investing also dated to his childhood, to the days he spent in the customers’ lounge of a regional stock brokerage near the office of his father’s own brokerage company. On a trip to New York City at the age of ten, he made a point to visit the New York Stock Exchange. At the age of 11, he bought three shares of Cities Service Preferred for himself, and three for his sister.While in high school he invested in a business owned by his father and bought a farm worked by a tenant farmer. By the time he finished college, Buffett had accumulated more than $90,000 in savings measured in 2009 dollars.
Say what you want about the guy, but he earned his money. It wasn’t fortune that built the Oracle of Omaha. It was focus, drive and sweat.
But this doesn’t fit the message, which is the rich are nothing but a bunch of care-free, trust fund children like Paris Hilton. They deserve to be fleeced because they inherited the money they have while you, the poor American, have to actually work to pay for that flat screen television you just put in your living room.
Well what about the actors or athletes, Duane? They have natural ability. That makes them fortunate.
Not so much. They also had to hone their talents to be one of the best. Hours in the gym or on the court. Night after night standing in the back of a scene in an off Broadway play. This is called work. It’s called earning your way.
It’s not a matter of being fortunate. It’s about making your own luck. It favors the bold because they don’t wait for someone to give them something they didn’t earn.
The rich aren’t fortunate. The poor are.
The poor in America are fortunate they were born in a country where 6 billion other people wish they could live.
They are fortunate that Americans are the most charitable people on the planet.
They are fortunate they have the freedom to pull up their bootstraps and work their way out of their place in life.
They are fortunate they live in a country where the poorest among us still live in conditions as good as the average European.
They are fortunate our country has a foundation made of freedom and liberty.
They are fortunate they have the right to become, through blood, sweat and tears, one of the most demonized members of society: a wealthy American.
Your fortune in America is what you make it, not what your class-warfare generated jealousy says it is. Don’t let the rhetoric of the left make you think differently.