We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
“You didn’t build that!” is probably the most preposterous statement I have ever heard from an American politician. A high bar to clear, no doubt, but let me justify the choice. It puts the effect before the cause. Suppose someone were to say, “If it weren’t for cities, there wouldn’t be such things as big family farms,” and therefore farmers owe it to city-dwellers to hand over more of their profits. But the farmer could well reply, “If it weren’t for farms, there would be no such things as cities,” and that is absolutely correct; without a surplus of food that can be stored, no city can exist. The farm is the foundation of the city, and not the reverse.
And yet historically, without a military defense provided by a nation-state, there could not be farmers.
I don't think it's so much a question of causation as of whether a debt is created, and if so from whom to whom. Even we libertarian types believe that a government performs functions essential to material prosperity, such as ensuring law and order and the predictability on which markets thrive. That doesn't mean that free markets must keep paying and paying more and more into government, or that government should expand its sphere of influence as much as it likes and then charge everyone for the privilege of putting up with it.
Our biggest problem is the increasing tendency to collect taxes from half the population in order to redistribute money to the other half. If we were all paying more equally for government, we'd more easily come to a consensus about how much of it there should be, and how big a slice of the economic pie it should eat. I also think there's a terrible tendency to equate all cooperative activity with government. Most cooperative activity and should proceed by consent -- that is, via private institutions. Only those public functions that require force should be ceded to government, and very few public functions worth keeping should require force.
Obama obsesses with "roads and bridges." He always talks about them and does nothing about them. The roads came from game and Indian trails, then from travelers making their own roads as they went along. That was followed by subscription road companies and toll roads, if I've got my history right. Bridges were built where there weren't fords. Highways were a response to the automobile — it was the growing popularity of the car that made highways a necessity, and the federal government didn't really get involved in a big way until Eisenhower pushed through the Interstate highway system.
Obama cites the Golden Gate Bridge as a great government accomplishment, but the federal government was absolutely opposed and tried to block its construction.
The Elephant's Child