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Whenever President Obama goes off prompter he reveals himself. Such was the case on April 28 at a speech in Illinois at which he was promoting his financial reform package.
(verbatim excerpt: “Were not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money…”)
In the video, you see the president realize what he said and stammer a bit trying to get back on message (read: on the prompter).
But you have to think that even if he wishes he hadn’t said it, he still believes it. If he doesn’t, then where did it come from?
If he truly believes that there comes a point when you’ve made enough money, how much money is that? Is it $5.5 million? That’s what the president and first lady showed on their tax return for 2009. The president made $400,000 for being president and another $5.1 million or so on the royalties from his unreadable books.
Is $5.5 million, then, the magic number? Is $5.6 million too much?
If that’s the case, what does he say to all of his rich liberal supporters? Oprah Winfrey just inked a deal worth more than $100 million for a prime time television show. Jennifer Aniston is a big Obama supporter. She reportedly got $25 million for that stinkeroo of a movie The Bounty Hunter. Is that too much? Should she feel guilty? (In the case of this particular movie, absolutely.)
Steve Jobs is a wealthy liberal. He reportedly made $48 million last year. Surely that’s enough.
And assuming that we can all agree on just how much money is actually enough, what becomes of the excess? Once you’ve crossed some pre-determined enough-is-enough threshold, do you stop doing whatever it is that pays you so well? Or do you consign all that you make in excess of that amount to the government in the form of taxes?
One suspects, in the case of Obama, the latter. And if that’s true, when are Oprah and Jen and Steve going to pay up?
What the president and all who think like him don’t understand is that there are only two ways to accumulate money. One way is to engage in illegal activities such as drug dealing. If you make money in this manner, you belong in the penitentiary.
The other way is to produce something or provide a service upon which your fellow citizens place a great value. When you do that, you make life better for everybody and absolutely everything depends on you continuing to do so.
Say what you will about Jennifer Aniston, according to Forbes magazine, her preceding three movies produced $17 in revenue for every one dollar she earned. That extra $16 is feeding a lot of families.
Everything that Steve Jobs touches turns to gold. His 34,000 employees and his shareholders have every reason to be grateful. Apple, Inc. is making more than 10,000 iPads per day and still not meeting the demand. For being Apple’s CEO, Jobs made one dollar last year. But he made $48 million from dividends on the Disney stock he received from selling Pixar Animation in 2006. How many earn their livelihoods directly or indirectly from Apple and Pixar? Should we make Jobs hand over the $48 million or should we let him hang on to it in case he has another good idea?
Mr. President, the truth is Americans have been pretty good at deciding for themselves when they’ve made enough money. Monroe Dunaway Anderson established a foundation that left $19 million in 1939 (the equivalent of almost $300 million today) to establish the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Cancer victims that would have long ago died are alive today as a result. Do we imagine the federal government doing as much good with the $300 million as M.D. Anderson did?
Andrew Carnegie decided for himself that he had made enough money. As a result, we now have, among other things, Carnegie Hall, the Carnegie-Mellon University and hundreds of Carnegie Libraries all over the country, (including the library here in Tyler), all as a result of Carnegie donating wealth born of his productive enterprise.
Put this on the prompter and read it, Mr. President. So long as you are meeting the needs of your fellow citizens and offering something of value in return for what you are paid, you can never make too much money.
The prospect of enormous reward for value given is the reason America became the greatest nation in history.