Tuesday, July 17, 2012

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What’s Yours is the Governments

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

US President Barak Obama…

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, someone else made that happen.”

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. 

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.

Give thanks to the government, for it builds your business. (not)

If you’re a religious Jew, you give thanks to G-d.  Thanks for the abilities, thanks for the opportunities, thanks for the blessings.  You give charity because it’s an obligation – because you built that using your G-d given abilities and G-d given opportunities.  And you give charity and help others because of chesed, to help each other as we can, to make the world a better place, a blessed place, where kindness steps in.

We must appreciate our blessings and thank G-d for each and every one.  Not because they may not be here tomorrow, though that’s the case, but because we appreciate them today.

I have no idea what the US president was trying to say, but in Judaism you DO get credit for trying and succeeding.  You also get obligations to give and to help others succeed.  That’s the way of chesed and making this world a holy place.

1 comment:

  1. Obama accidentally mis-paraphrased Elizabeth Warren, who said that if you built a business, you didn't do it *alone.* He just left out the last word. The point was to encourage entrepreneurs and other wealthy people to understand that their success is not through their efforts alone, but only was possible because of the help of many other people, ranging from their hard-working employees to government infrastructure and research. The reason he may have felt the need to say this is because many wealthy people are obsessed with paying as little taxes as possible (often no taxes) and lobbying the government to reduce spending of all kinds. Of course, G-d is ultimately the source of everything, but "who is wise? he who understands the consequences of his actions." Everyone needs to understand empirical reality -- cause and effect, etc. -- as we can observe it, and act rationally (both in our own interests and in the interests of others). The underlying point is true -- we need good government infrastructure, services and regulation for the free market to function, and for people to be able to become wealthy and stay wealthy.


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