( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
I found this to be a complete written beat-down of the fair Ms. Warren, and everything she purportedly stands for.
Her first sentence is meant as a direct assault on the notion of radical individualism. Yes, it is obvious that no person “ever got rich on his own.” But that statement does nothing to undermine sensible forms of laissez-faire individualism. The reason why people do not get rich by themselves is not that they lack self-reliance or ambition. It is because the individuals who succeed understand the key proposition that personal gains result only through cooperation with others. The common business school refrain of win/win deals is not an observation about one person: it is, at its core, about two (or more) people, all of whom win through cooperative arrangements. So when she says that “you” built a factory out there, it is the collective, not the singular, “you” that is invoked. You, the individual, built it because you were able-through a variety of voluntary transactions, all of which took advantage of the division of labor-to locate, design, finance, construct, and market that project. “You” used a variety of cooperative mechanisms: corporations, partnerships, and joint ventures; the hiring of salaried employees; and the use of personal savings, venture capital, and debt financing. To ignore all these joint efforts is to miss the entire point of how anyone succeeds. It is to miss, as well, the key point that the gains from trade are not confined to just those persons involved in building “your” factory. Rather these gains spread out to family members, friends, and everyone else whose opportunities for trade have expanded because of the new wealth created.
Her rhetoric is no less inflammatory when she intones, “You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.” Good grief! Her statement compresses so many errors into so few words that it is hard to know where to begin. Unbeknownst to Warren, most businesses engage extensively in the education of their employees, whether through on-the-job instruction or the financing of education through third parties. The one thing that can be said about these programs is that, in general, they are far more efficient than the endless public jobs programs, financed by taxpayers, which teach people skills they don’t need for jobs that they can’t acquire or retain. In addition, individuals and their families finance much of their own education, especially those who go onto higher education. For public education, the countless employers in the labor market have paid at least their fair share in property taxes and income taxes to support the education of others, including the badly-run public loan subsidy programs with high rates of default. Warren then brands as freeloaders those productive individuals who, by orders of magnitude, pay more than their “fair” share of taxes, as if the anonymous public has mysteriously footed the entire bill.
She does no better when discussing public safety: “You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” Once again the same you/us dichotomy obscures a far more complex reality. The first point is that today in the United States, it is just wrong to say that all police and fire services are paid for out of public dollars. It took me precisely 30 seconds worth of online research to confirm what is common knowledge. “The private security industry already employs more guards, patrol personnel, and detectives than the federal, state, and local governments combined, and the disparity is growing.” These private individuals, many of whom are “the rich,” have generated huge benefits not only for each other, but for the rest of the population. Their efforts reduce overall levels of crime and the tax burden needed to fund public security forces, all while creating thousands of jobs. This is not to say that these private police forces are always beyond reproach or could function in the absence of any public police officers.
Nothing that she writes on moveon.org makes sense. What she omits from her discussion is every bit as instructive. Warren waxes eloquently about how “you” exploit us. But she never once talks about how we exploit you. That factory did not just get built. Building it required its owner to go through an elaborate set of permit approvals and regulatory obstacles. In places like Massachusetts, the taxes on capital and initiative have made it one of the progressive sink holes of the northeast precisely because, when it comes to innovation, it is possible to play the time-honored NIMBY game-NOT IN MY BACK YARD.
At this point, the politics of you/us becomes too real, and we find that the factory owners are lumped with the dangerous one percent whose influence Warren is all too eager to curb. The former Harvard Law professor never bothers to ponder the dangers that faction and popular democracy pose to the creation of both wealth and jobs. She needs to go back to Harvard to retool her wasting analytical skills-and soon.