There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — 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. (Applause.)
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. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
Let’s look at that statement for a minute. Many successful people did get there on their own. In a classroom taught by a great teacher, there are no guarantees that any student is going to be successful. If a great teacher could make everyone in her class successful, we would have a lot more successful people. This unbelievable American system was not created collectively–it was created by individuals. Yes, we do things together, but we do things together as individuals–each contributing their own particular talent. Most of us have gotten over our envy of the rich–we understand that most wealthy people worked very hard to gain their wealth. The mindset in this speech is one of collectivism–not of free enterprise. This whole speech does not belong in an American Presidential campaign. It is an insult to the founding fathers of America.