The left has a new hero. Elizabeth Warren, a former Obama administration official who is now challenging for Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, is the star of a YouTube video that has “gone viral.” In a recent speech before a group of supporters, Warren delivered what her admirers believe is a devastating smack down of those who oppose tax hikes on the “rich”:
“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 don’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 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.”
Columnist Andrew Sullivan gushingly compares Warren to Chris Christie. Not to quibble, but Christie rails against the entitlement mentality and Warren rails for it. (She is essentially admonishing entrepreneurs: “We are all responsible for your success and are entitled to a hunk of it!”)
A number of smart people have beaten me to the punch with excellent rebuttals of Warren’s rant, including Rich Lowry, Reihan Salam and Instapundit (who also posts a superb response to Warren from one of his readers). I’ll add my two cents:
First, I’m struck by the hostile, sarcastic and dismissive attitude that Warren displays towards those who create jobs. So, you’ve just risked a large “hunk” of your money to build a factory that employs a bunch of people? “Good for you.” Spent another large “hunk” of money and years of your time to satisfy the demands of layers of bureaucrats, until they finally relented and let you build it? “God bless!”
President Obama displayed a similar attitude in his September 8 jobs speech before a joint session of Congress: “[F]or everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for ‘job creators,’ this plan is for you,” said the president, unable to hide his contempt for Republican concerns even while purporting to be solicitous of them. “Job creators” was placed within dismissive quotation marks in the prepared text. He might as well have referred to entrepreneurs as “so-called job creators,” sneering at those who would presume to usurp the federal government’s role.
Warren’s quote, of course, is based entirely on a straw man. It is the same straw man that President Obama used in his jobs speech, when he decried “this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everybody’s money, and let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own.”
The funny thing about “this larger notion” cited by the president is that virtually no one — not even Ron Paul or the dreaded “Tea Baggers” — subscribes to it. And speaking of notions that no one subscribes to: Does anyone out there seriously believe that the rich should not be required to pay reasonable taxes to support roads, police, firefighters and education? If so, then Boo-yah! You have just been owned by Elizabeth Warren!
Obama and Warren appear to think they’re running against the Anarchist Party rather than the Republican Party. If you’re capable of grasping the subtle point that opposing excessive, unsustainable and wasteful public spending is not the same as opposing all public spending, then you probably haven’t been caught up in the wave of Warren-mania that’s sweeping the nation.