First, President Obama’s remarks in Roanoke have admittedly been blown way out of proportion. In context, the President said the following:
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.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
However, placed in their context, the statements are revealing:
“You didn’t build that,” and “You didn’t get there on your own,” and “blessed” and “fortunate” have one thing in common. They deemphasize the idea that success is earned. This makes it easier for President Obama to justify taking more from those who have succeeded.
Second, I’ve previously mentioned how unions resist letting high performing employees receive higher pay. It is nevertheless worth repeating that the proposed Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (“RAISE”) Act would simply
rewrite the National Labor Relations Act to make union rates only a minimum wage. If employers wanted to, they could always pay hard-working union members more. Unions would lose the power to turn down raises on workers’ behalf.
By opposing the RAISE Act, the divergence between the institutional interests of unions and their constituency is exposed. Specifically,
to quote SEIU President Mary Kay Henry—“contracts that create a uniform, fair process for granting wage increases.” That means everyone gets the same amount no matter how hard they work.
. . .
[u]nions apoplectically warn that the RAISE Act is “a federal attack on your rights at work” because employers “would be allowed to ignore what they agreed to in collective bargaining agreements—and that’s not fair,” . . . [The RAISE Act] would only help workers. Higher pay for higher productivity is obviously good. And as workers become more productive, employers will also hire more of them.
Higher pay, higher profits, and more jobs. Why should Congress give unions the power to reject that?