Elizabeth Warren: Nobody Got Rich on Their Own

by Crocker on September 24, 2011, 7:30 am

in Economics,Philosophy,Politics

Where does this bile come from? Chalk it up to the “property is theft” school of lefto-anarchism, I suppose. Her comments are just about as contradictory as Proudhon’s.



WARREN: I hear all this, “You know, well, this is class warfare. This is whatever.” No! There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody! 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, uh, were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory and hire someone to protect against this because of the work the rest of us did.

Ah, Professor, have you ever heard of property taxes, excise taxes, income taxes, fuel taxes – and on and on? The entrepreneur pays them too, I can assure you. They pay for the roads, schools, firemen and police – often several times over.

And who’s this “we”, anyway? Would that be “we” as in know-betters like you? Or would it be “we” in the sense of all the people who pay taxes, including the miscreant who “builds a factory” (and creates valuable products and services benefiting all) and “hired workers” (and paid them taxable wages and benefits). The “work the rest of us did”, indeed.

What stinks the most about her tirade, however, is the arrogant assumption that we are all state property. That everything we are, including our very selves, belongs to government.

Although I realize it’s in the nature of a tu quoque argument, I feel obliged to point out that her campaign was forced to admit that she was paid $192,722 for her “services” on the TARP panel.

Good work if you can get it.

UPDATE: A reader over at Instapundit sent in this reply to Professor Warren:

Group of friends of Stanford football post on a board called thebootleg.com On the current events board, we have debated the Warren comments. here was my response:

“You built a factory out there? Good for you,” “Built a factory” is a summary for a lot of work. Put up equity, designed a business, took risk to buy land, get permits, pay property taxes and use taxes and permit fees. Then, bought a bunch of equipment and had it installed …and paid sales taxes. Hired some employees and paid them a bunch of money and paid payroll taxes on top of that. Bought a bunch of raw materials from companies that paid a bunch of salaries and a bunch of taxes. Building a factory is a huge private investment that pays the public a lot of taxes for the right to be built.

“But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.” Between fuel taxes, license fees, tolls and various taxes on transportation related activities, the roads budget is smaller than the total tax take.

you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; No, you did not educate them. You babysat them for 12 years. Then I hired them, taught them how to be responsible and show up for work, taught them how to communicate in clear sentences, taught them that there are rights and wrongs and (unlike with your schools) wrongs have consequences in the workplace. Then paid for extended education for my employees so they could continue to improve themselves and better add value to what we do around here.

“You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” Funny, my factory has 24/7 security guards because the last time it was broken into, the police did not even bother to take a report, they just said “call your insurance company”. As for fire? The closest fire department is 10 miles away. My insurance company requires that I have a full wet sprinkler system to qualify for insurance because there is no local fire protection.

“You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.” Well, that is not exactly true. When the AFL-CIO tried to unionize my workforce, they staged three days of noisy protests outside my factory. The police forces just stood around and watched as the protesters intimidated my workers, vandalized their cars and destroyed my property.

You say “we” like the government and society are the same. They aren’t. My company and my community and you politicians are not “we”.

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 1 comment }

Sacashi December 20, 2015 at 6:27 am

Your have a great flag, known all over the world.The Americans also are very eager to use their flag in all sorts of contexts.Now I also have leernad that your flag has its own day!(Ours doesn’t).Your picture of flags waving in the wind, so appropriate.Happy Flag Day, Happy Ruby Tuesday.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: