Elizabeth Warren’s latest “liberal” bleat, in support of Obama’s plan to soak “the rich,” has caused ripples in the blogosphere (here and here, for example). The bleat? It goes like this:
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 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.
Now look, 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.
Who said anything about anyone getting rich on his own? But didn’t the factory owner — and other “malefactors of great wealth” — pay a “fair share”of the taxes that support roads, education, and police and fire forces? Yes.* Didn’t the factory owner pay his workers for their labor? Yes, and sometimes (in the case of union workers) at the expense of consumers and those workers who couldn’t find employment because unions effectively limit entry to the labor market.
If anyone owes “the rest of us” anything, it’s the workers who received subsidized educations that enabled them to earn good wages at factories that were built because factory owners, shareholders, bond holders, and (sometimes) venture capitalists put their own money at risk.
Workers and others (including Elizabeth Warren) ought to be grateful to the “malefactors of great wealth” who have — against heavy odds — enabled America’s prosperity.
Asymmetrical (Ideological) Warfare
Giving Back, Again
Taxing the Rich
More about Taxing the Rich
Luck-Egalitarianism and Moral Luck
In Defense of Wal-Mart
* Even a union-dominated lobbying organization, Citizens for Tax Justice, acknowledges (backhandedly) that “the rich” pay their “fair share” of all taxes — federal, State, and local:
I won’t vouch for the accuracy of the numbers. But, given the source, this can be taken as a “worst case” depiction of the distribution of the total tax burden. “The rich” are paying their “fair share,” and then some, unless you believe (as leftists seem to believe) that “the rich” are supposed to take care of everyone else.