House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) claimed Thursday that the federal government created the iPhone rather than the technology company Apple or its former chief executive officer, Steve Jobs. “Anybody here have a smartphone?” Pelosi asked an audience at a Democrat National Convention Platform hearing in Washington, D.C. Pelosi then held up an iPhone for everyone to see, telling those in the room, “In this smartphone, almost everything came from federal investments in research.” She then listed elements of the iPhone that various parts of the government have contributed to in certain ways. “The list goes on and on. If you want to learn more, look at the Association for the Advancement of Science in America, and they have the full list,” Pelosi said. “They say Steve Jobs did a good idea designing it and putting it together. Federal research invented it.”
Pelosi was speaking at the Mid-Atlantic Democrat Platform Forum, one of a series of events to prepare the Democrat Party’s platform for its convention this summer in Philadelphia. The House Minority Leader’s comments are reminiscent of what President Obama said on the campaign trail in 2012 when he declared that no one has built their own business with intelligence and hard work on their own. “Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own,” Obama told a crowd of supporters at a rally in Roanoke, Virginia. “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.” Obama’s comments resemble another statement that progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) said in a video from 2011 when she dismissed the idea that heavily taxing wealthy Americans promotes class warfare.
“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody,” Warren said. “You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You built a factory, and it turned into something terrific or a great idea: God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”