Candidate for Senate from Massachusetts, and late of the Consumer Financial Protection BureauAssistant to the President and Special Advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Elizabeth Warren, recently had this to say about our need for big government:
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 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 it forward for the next kid who comes along.
There are some thoughts on this statement. I paid for those roads, too, not just “the rest of you.” And that’s a legitimate tax: fostering the free exchange of goods, as well as fostering their easy production, by free citizens is part of the government’s job: under our social contract—the one actually in existence via our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution—the government’s sole job is to protect those individual liberties. And nothing more.
On the other hand, “the rest of you” didn’t pay for the education of the workers I hired. My fellow members of my local community and I paid for that education. As did, individually, all the local communities surrounding all the other factories pay for the education of those factories’ workers. Your Federal government had little to do with that, Arne Duncan and his Office for Civil Rights’ “Dear Colleague” letter’s attack on the rights of our students notwithstanding.
Further, “the rest of you” didn’t pay for the police and fire protections of my workers—again, the local community around my factory did, and does, that. “The rest of you,” and I, do pay for the federal police function that keeps our borders secure, and our citizens along the border area safe. We’re well aware of how that’s working out.
And if my workers and I were able to keep more of our money, instead of having it confiscated by an overreaching government for current spending (note that: not “paying it forward for the next kid”), I’d be able to improve my factory, develop better products, and hire even more workers (educated by local communities, not “the rest of you,” and kept safe by locally funded and manned police forces, not paid forces for by “the rest of you”). On top of that, if my workers and I were able to keep more of our money, we would be able to put “a hunk of that” by to “pay forward” to our own kids. But your kind of government won’t even let us do that. You’re going to increase the death taxes you seize to 55%—at direct cost to those kids.