"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," he said.
Let's get one thing straight: Roads and bridges are funded by taxpayers. There are alternative ways of funding them, but they are not conducive to politicians manipulating the system to channel money to their supporters, but, oh well.
At any given point in time, the roads and bridges are the same for everyone. In a given environment, some people start businesses that succeed, some start those that fail, and some people prefer the safety & security of a regular paycheck. The rewards to the already successful determine how many people will try to start the next business. Given the risks involved, if there aren't significant rewards to the successful, nobody would take the risk in the first place.
There are places like that on this planet: The Soviet Union, Cuba, UK, France, Germany, Argentina, and a whole bunch of other places come to mind.
El Jefecito then drops this cherry bomb on us:
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.
This is a particularly idiotic statement.
It assumes that there would not have been a computer network inter-connecting the entire planet had it not been for the government.
The fact that the current Internet has some of its roots in government projects does not establish that we would not have had access to an even better network in the absence of government interference with communications.
First, realize that neither the telephone nor radio communications were invented by some farsighted government project. However, the moment politicians realized their importance, they basically took control of those industries. It was the government that established telephone monopolies, gave AT&T its dominant position, undermined people's efforts to develop alternatives. We are still suffering through the aftereffects of government interference with communications infrastructure.
On the bright side, ever since the long distance telephone market was opened to competition during the Clinton administration, I haven't had to spend about $3–$4 a minute to talk to family members in Turkey.
And, if we hadn't been lucky enough for Al Gore to spearhead initiatives to open the Internet to private use, the Internet might just have been another thing that is only available on select university campuses and military installations.
Just like there were schools before government control of education, there was the desire to communicate before wholesale government control of communications infra-structure.
But, let's assume that there would not have been any Internet without the government. Fine, at this point, it exists for everyone. People start a lot of companies. Some succeed, some fail. We need people to keep trying these things because there's no government planning bureau that could have known people needed something called Facebook, and that Facebook was a better project than Digg. Only the marketplace can figure that out. And, if there is no reward to producing a Facebook, not enough people will try. The Facebook is already here, but we'd never know how much more we would have had in a vibrant, growing economy.
Mr. President, you sir, with all due respect, don't know what you don't know.