I just realized I haven't put up the Elizabeth Warren quote

It’s something that Democrats have tried for years to articulate, and then here comes Elizabeth Goddamn Warren and she nails it.

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 maurauding 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.

Bingo. The problematic notion amongst the right is that people who built their companies didn’t benefit from the programs the government set up. Public services aren’t limited to social security and NPR, any time you eat a hunk of meat and are confident it isn’t diseased you can thank a government agency, right along with roads that aren’t wrecked and a neighborhood that’s safe.

What the GOP is suggesting is that if you’ve capitalized on the opportunities the United States has given you, that means you shouldn’t have to give anything back. Despite riding on the backs of the taxpayers your whole life, you should be allowed to keep it all and fuck everyone else.

Advertisements

14 responses to “I just realized I haven't put up the Elizabeth Warren quote

  1. Hadn’t seen this quote before now, but sure as hell like it. Valid points really and proof that the Republicans are just too stupid – or purposefully ignorant – to acknowledge that it takes everyone to help those big wigs BECOME the big wigs they are.

  2. I have always admired Warren, but I have to disagree with her on this one.

    >> any time you eat a hunk of meat and are confident it isn’t diseased you can thank a government agency, right along with roads that aren’t wrecked and a neighborhood that’s safe. <<

    And yet… diabetes, obesity, heart disease, strokes… our lifespan is dropping. I suppose that we can thank a Government Agency for that too? You can't have it both ways. Yes, Government food inspections were both necessary and a good idea, but are they still needed? It seems that every month there is a (usually voluntary) recall of "Government-inspected" food that turned out to be less than safe – has a Government food Inspector ever been fired over this, or is it the evil/stupid food company? And why can I not purchase raw milk or unpasteurized cheese even if I want to? The FDA, that's why.

    And let us not forget that every time a drug is recalled, nobody ever asks the FDA why they screwed up, even though they had up to seven years to check it out. It is never the FDA's fault – it's always the eeeeeevil pharmaceutical company that gets punished.

    Capitalism is a much-maligned word. All too often it is spoken with a sneer, as if it were synonymous with greed, avarice and rapaciousness. Yet some of the greediest people I know are not at all wealthy, and probably never will be. The true concept of Capitalism founded on property rights — the basic principle that what is mine is mine, what's yours is yours. We are free to be generous and help others, but neither can forcibly plunder the treasure of the other.

    There are many well-meaning individuals who want to solve society's problems — poverty, hunger, unemployment — and this is a laudable goal. The problem comes when we start trying to do it with other people's money. We start looking for "the rich" — a euphemism that usually translates as: "Anyone with more money than me". Sadly, the problem with "fair shares" is that we all think that they are in somebody else's wallet.

    The result is called Socialism. And it doesn't work. I lived in it for over thirty years. And I liked it so much I left the country.

    My fuller treatment is here: http://wizardprang.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/warren/

  3. Pingback: Elizabeth Warren gets it wrong « Wizard Prang's Blog

  4. I have always admired Professor Warren, but I have to disagree with her on this one.

    >> any time you eat a hunk of meat and are confident it isn’t diseased you can thank a government agency, right along with roads that aren’t wrecked and a neighborhood that’s safe. <<

    And yet… diabetes, obesity, heart disease, strokes… our lifespan is _dropping_. I suppose that we can thank a Government Agency for that too? You can't have it both ways.

    It seems that every month there is a (usually voluntary) recall of "Government-inspected" food that turned out to be less than safe – has a Government food Inspector ever been fired over this, or is it the evil/stupid food company that gets it in the neck? And why can I not purchase raw milk or unpasteurized cheese even if I want to? The FDA, that's why.

    And let us not forget that every time a drug is recalled, nobody ever asks the FDA why they screwed up, even though they had up to seven years to check it out. It is never the FDA's fault – it's always the eeeeeevil pharmaceutical company that gets punished.

    Capitalism is a much-maligned word. All too often it is spoken with a sneer, as if it were synonymous with greed, avarice and rapaciousness. Yet some of the greediest people I know are not at all wealthy, and probably never will be. The true concept of Capitalism is founded on property rights — the basic principle that what is mine is mine, what's yours is yours. We are free to be generous and help others, but neither can forcibly plunder the treasure of the other.

    The Federal Government was supposed to take as much money as it required to do its job; a job that is being continuously redefined in spite of a written job description.

    There are many well-meaning individuals who want to solve society's problems — poverty, hunger, unemployment — and this is a laudable goal. The trouble arises when we start trying to do it with other people's money, and enlist the government to force them. We start looking for "the rich" — a euphemism that usually translates as: "Anyone with more money than me". Sadly, the problem with "fair shares" is that we all think that they are in somebody else's wallet.

    The end result is called Socialism. And it doesn't work. I lived in it for over thirty years. And I liked it so much I left the country.

    I've written a fuller rebuttal of her quote here: http://wizardprang.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/warren

  5. wizard.prang – First off, our lifespan is increasing, not dropping. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr59/nvsr59_04.pdf

    In paragraph 4 would you propose that we just allow any product to be sold for public consumption? Would you like a side-order of mad cow burger with that?

    Why do you assume any food inspector is at fault? Do you believe that every single food or drug item that makes it to store shelves has been tested or that there is enough manpower or money available in the government to do that? I’m thankful for the few regulations and personnel who are available to at least test as much as they can, and appreciate the fact that I don’t have to worry about melamine or other toxins being added willy-nilly to foods and medicines I buy; and if a toxin is found to be an ingredient, it is traceable to its source and is immediately pulled from shelves.

    Paragraph 5: Yes, the pharmaceutical company is legally bound to follow rigorous testing, safety and purity standards. If they are found to be not in compliance it certainly IS their fault.

  6. And… (Continue from below becase I ran over the character limit)

    Capitalism: Ah, near and dear to my heart. I love money. I earn money. I don’t begrudge anyone their hard won piles of money. I do begrudge them paying less tax on their earnings than I do (or no taxes at all after they hire expensive accountants to find them every loophole, legal and otherwise), especially when they are earning 300 times more money than I am.

    Counting on the benevolence of rich corporations to “do the right thing” gets us exactly where we are now: jobs shipped overseas, middle-class retiree’s pensions squandered and huge unemployment numbers, all while those same companies post record profits. Most major corporations, although they are now considered people, have proven themselves to be selfish and mercenary. I won’t be Friending any of them on Facebook in the near future.

    I am getting weary of people equating taxation with socialism. Everything that keeps this country civilized and safe is done through the collection of taxes.

    • @Mrs. Bitch »Everything that keeps this country civilized and safe is done through the collection of taxes«

      Excuse me Miss, but your slip is showing. Or, to put it another way, Bull. London has high taxes, draconian gun control and the most extensive surveillance system in the world… but that didn’t prevent the riots from happening.

      Out here in the “Wild West”, a crime is prevented by a private gun owner at least 1.5 million times a year — no taxes involved, except for compiling the statistics. http://www.nij.gov/pubs-sum/165476.htm. Yes, I appreciate the irony of using Government statistics, but the Government has no vested interest in the outcome here — quite the contrary if you are a gun-control advocate.

      So what makes us “civilized and safe”? If you are talking about Police/Ambulance/Fire “Dial-a-prayer” services, they are usually local and funded with property taxes — which businesses already pay. So much for “paying their fair share”.

      Bottom line: Go ahead and raise taxes on business, Professor Warren — but that money has to come from somewhere. And is there is one thing we know about well-meaning legislation, it is that there are always unintended consequences.

    • @Mrs. Bitch I love the cut-and-thrust of lively debate. Since your reply was so long, I will try to answer to each of your points individually.

      » First off, our lifespan is increasing, not dropping.«

      You’re right — we are living longer. And inflation is in the 3-5% range. And unemployment is only 9%. And we have always been at war with Oceania 🙂 But I look around me and see people who are less healthy than they were ten years ago. Obesity and Diabetes stalk the land like… two giant stalking things (with apologies to BlackAdder). I tend not to place much trust in Government statistics that have the effect of making the Government look good. We can debate life expectancy until the cows come home… but I think that we can agree that our life expectancy in the US is way too low given the amount we spend on Healthcare.

      » In paragraph 4 would you propose that we just allow any product to be sold for public consumption? Would you like a side-order of mad cow burger with that? «

      As someone who grew up in the UK and loves his steaks rare, I say “Yes!”. I recall the British Government’s initial reaction to the Mad Cow scare — their first response was to run stories in the newspapers of a the Government Minister responsible for food (John Selwyn Gummer) eating a burger and put up posters in every Butcher’s shop in the land proclaiming that “Beef is safe”. The Government’s job was to protect the consumers, but when the first CJD cases came in, they put the farmers first… and I will never forgive them for that. Which kind-sorta makes my point for me…

      »Why do you assume any food inspector is at fault?«

      Because it’s supposed to be their job. Why would you hold them blameless? Just as the TSA is responsible for flight safety (by preventing grannies from smuggling knitting needles onto aircraft). And just like the TSA, there seems to be no accountability; nobody gets punished if they screw up. And the passengers end up having to catch the bad guys.

    • @Mrs. Bitch

      »Do you believe that every single food or drug item that makes it to store shelves has been tested or that there is enough manpower or money available in the government to do that?«

      There’s a difference between certification and testing. I don’t expect the government to check every item on the shelf – that’s the store’s job. I once bought a chicken, and when we cut it open, we found worms. It’s gross, but I suppose it happens, since that’s what chickens eat. We could have returned it to the store, or splashed photos all over the Internet, or reported them to the government, or even lawyered up, were we litigious enough. But we didn’t — we just never shopped there again. Problem solved. Ain’t the free market wonderful?

      »I’m thankful for the few regulations and personnel who are available to at least test as much as they can«

      “Few regulations”? Tell that to the small “real-food” family businesses who have had to close because they didn’t want to spend $35k on a pasteurizing plant. Or to the mom-and-pop gas stations who had to close down because they couldn’t afford to spend $50k on new underground tanks to comply with new regulations… championed, curiously enough, by the big oil companies (who, of course, could afford it) in the name of “public safety”.

      »and appreciate the fact that I don’t have to worry about melamine or other toxins being added willy-nilly to foods and medicines I buy«

      You credit the government, I credit the market. And that’s probably the basis of our fundamental difference of opinion.

    • @Mrs. Bitch

      »and if a toxin is found to be an ingredient, it is traceable to its source and is immediately pulled from shelves.«

      …and you think the Government does that? In almost every case, the problem is found by the manufacturer or the stores, and the withdrawal is voluntary; I suspect that businesses worry about potential litigation and bankruptcy more than Rules and Regulations. And that’s how the free market works.

      I am not saying that we don’t need any regulation — that would be silly — but who watches the watchers? And who owns them? And who makes the decision that “this regulation no longer solves any problems”? Like Unions — or air-bag legislation — much of our regulation was once a well-intentioned solution to a real problem, but is now no longer such a good solution. The end result is that as adults we can legally poison ourselves with alcohol and nicotine, but we cannot purchase unpasteurized cheese or raw milk.

      »Yes, the pharmaceutical company is legally bound to follow rigorous testing, safety and purity standards. If they are found to be not in compliance it certainly IS their fault. «

      The problem is not standards-compliance or purity; the problem is when an “FDA-Approved” drug is later found to be harmful. The whole point of FDA certification that the drug is deemed “safe for humans”, but when it all goes wrong and people start dying, the FDA is held blameless and it’s the big bad EEEEevil corporation that is to blame. I’m not saying that the corporation is always innocent, but no-one _ever_ asks the FDA “how the HELL did you guys screw up so badly when you had five years to check it out?” (here’s a hint: the FDA is run by and for the food and drug industries — and that is a major part of the problem).

    • @Mrs. Bitch

      »Capitalism: Ah, near and dear to my heart. I love money. I earn money. I don’t begrudge anyone their hard won piles of money. I do begrudge them paying less tax on their earnings than I do (or no taxes at all after they hire expensive accountants to find them every loophole, legal and otherwise), especially when they are earning 300 times more money than I am.«

      How do you define “rich”? The IRS defines you as “rich” if you pay higher-rate tax, which starts at about $65k. I look for deductions; I can’t get upset when others do the same. I heartily agree that loopholes need to be closed — but that won’t happen as long as while those who created them stand to benefit from them.

      Taxation policy is best defined as the gentle art of plucking a goose so as to get the most feathers with the least hissing — and when you raise taxes on business, the money has to come from somewhere. And that’s where Professor Warren’s “fair-shares” theory falls flat on its face; contrary to popular belief, most businesses are not sitting on a huge pile of cash, so they have to choose between cutting costs, cutting/off-shoring jobs or raising prices. The only remedy against outsourcing that works is import tariffs — and that won’t work against countries who are buying our debt (Clinton found that out the hard way back in the 90s). So we have to balance the budget if we want to keep jobs here — and that’s not likely to happen.

      »Counting on the benevolence of rich corporations to “do the right thing” gets us exactly where we are now: jobs shipped overseas, middle-class retiree’s pensions squandered and huge unemployment numbers, all while those same companies post record profits«

      Funny… I thought that it was because our purchasing decisions pushed jobs overseas. I thought it was because because we stopped “Buying American” at the local mom-and-pop and and started shopping for cheap imported rubbish at the local Stuff-Mart. I thought it was because union and government regulation made American labor so expensive that it was cheaper to make stuff overseas and ship it half-way round the world. Thanks for setting me straight on that.

    • @Mrs. Bitch

      »Most major corporations, although they are now considered people, have proven themselves to be selfish and mercenary. I won’t be Friending any of them on Facebook in the near future.«

      I am in favor of “corporate personhood”… if, and only if, we can flog ’em, jail ’em or apply the Death Penalty when they misbehave. Joking aside, the current “only-when-it-is-convenient” brand of corporate personhood is just a way for corporations to get away with misbehavior, and I am definitely against that.

      Corporations are, by definition amoral. They have to be, and we cannot expect them to be otherwise. If they were people, they’d be psychotic, if not psychopathic. It’s the customer that keeps them honest; if we all decided to stop shopping at Wal-Mart, they would be bankrupt within a month. I am also against all forms of corporate welfare (yes banks and GM, I’m looking at you). We have allowed corporates — and unions — to run the show and get away with too much. But that is a separate issue from taxation policy.

      »I am getting weary of people equating taxation with socialism.«

      And I’m getting weary of people equating sex with pregnancy 🙂 . But the second is invariably preceded by the first. High Taxes are usually a sign that a Government is trying to do too many things… the end result of which is (drum roll please) Socialism.

    • @Mrs. Bitch

      »Everything that keeps this country civilized and safe is done through the collection of taxes«

      Excuse me Miss, but your slip is showing. Or, to put it another way, Bull. London has high taxes, draconian gun control and the most extensive surveillance system in the world… but that didn’t prevent the riots from happening.

      Out here in the “Wild West”, a crime is prevented by a private gun owner at least 1.5 million times a year — no taxes involved, except for compiling the statistics. http://www.nij.gov/pubs-sum/165476.htm. Yes, I appreciate the irony of using Government statistics, but the Government has no vested interest in the outcome here — quite the contrary if you are a gun-control advocate.

      So what makes us “civilized and safe”? If you are talking about Police/Ambulance/Fire “Dial-a-prayer” services, they are usually local and funded with property taxes — which businesses already pay. So much for “paying their fair share”.

      Bottom line: Go ahead and raise taxes on business, Professor Warren — but that money has to come from somewhere. And is there is one thing we know about well-meaning legislation, it is that there are always unintended consequences.

      • @wizard.prang@Mrs. Bitch For the record: Clinton raised taxes and Bush dropped them. We saw how that all ended up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s