Thursdays are the last day that I drive into the office during the week. Friday traffic in Chicago is bad, no matter where you’re driving to or when you’re on the road, so fortunately I can work at home on Fridays. But I had an epiphany of sorts when I was on the road this morning, and I wanted to explain it here.
Every time I’m on the road, I see dozens of the vans or trucks like the one pictured above. I think of them as “ladder vans” because they’re pretty easy to spot with the ladder on top. And the people driving them are the people that Mitt Romney is trying so hard to mislead, based on something that President Obama said recently in Virginia. So I’m going to do what I can to clear things up, to the extent that anyone pays attention to what’s in this space.
Here is a video clip of the president’s remarks (with captions included):
The president’s remark about “You didn’t build that” doesn’t refer to the business, as epitomized by the van with the ladder on top. The “that” being referred to is the American system of roads and bridges. The things that exist for the ladder vans to be driven on in the first place. The things that make it possible for these vans to get to wherever their jobs are that day. Without those roads, which all of us pay for and all of us collectively own, those ladder vans have no purpose at all.
This might sound like socialism to some, but when it snows, who clears the streets? We all do, through our tax dollars. If a big pothole opens up in the street, does any one citizen have the burden of fixing that hole? No, we all do it, through public funding which comes from the taxpayer.
Anyone who buys a van or a truck and puts a ladder on top and uses that van or truck upon the public roads reaps the benefit of the “that” which President Obama was referring to. And if there’s someone who doesn’t get the President’s point, and continues to believe that a van or a truck is all it takes to make a business grow, there really isn’t too much more to say, except “ain’t that a shame” how someone can be mislead so easily.