The final thing the comment suggests is that Romney knows nothing about ambition and motivation. The formula he sketches is this: People who are forced to make it on their own have drive. People who receive benefits have dependency.
But, of course, no middle-class parent acts as if this is true. Middle-class parents don’t deprive their children of benefits so they can learn to struggle on their own. They shower benefits on their children to give them more opportunities — so they can play travel sports, go on foreign trips and develop more skills.
People are motivated when they feel competent. They are motivated when they have more opportunities. Ambition is fired by possibility, not by deprivation, as a tour through the world’s poorest regions makes clear.
I got this quote via Aaron Carroll. One thing that seems to have really changed in the public mind over the past 5 years is the simple relationship between investment in human capital and improved outcomes. Putting aside the Randian fantasy of super-men who can do it all on their own, all of us are dependent on others to a greater or lesser extent. Hard work may well make opportunity into success but all of the hard work in the world doesn't help in the absence of opportunity. Just ask any coal miner or subsistence farmer . . .