Progressive Elizabeth Warren is in the running for Republican Scott Brown's Senate seat in Massachusetts. There's no mushy middle ground for this lady, so it should be an interesting race. At a recent campaign stop, Ms. Warren said 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.”
First of all, companies aren't like sourdough bread, where you reserve some of the yeast for the next batch. Business owners already "pay it forward" in many ways - by providing intern programs, scholarships or mentoring, to name a few. Second, the "big hunk" government allows companies to keep doesn't go right in the owner's bank account. It makes payroll, buys materials and machinery, advertising, shipping, and myriad other things. Most small business owners don't see a profit for the first five years. Most businesses operate with a lean 2-5% profit margin. Every new tax, fee and license the State demands cuts into that. People aren't in business for philanthropy, they're in it for success and money. Profits are NOT evil - if nothing else, without them who would be footing bills like this?
The Boston Globe actually tries to spin her comments as conservative, if you can believe it. It's an interesting take, but what author Ben Jacobs misses is that for conservatives, a good faith 'social contract' between the factory owner and the taxpayers who pay for the infrastructure upon which he is dependent isn't about an unspecified increase in taxes (how much is fair? when is it enough?) or punishing regulation. The factory owner fulfills his obligations by giving the homeowner whose property taxes paid for the infrastructure a silly little thing called....a job. You know, the thing people do to earn the money to pay the property taxes to keep the road that they themselves use every day to get to work at the factory or one of the many other businesses that crop up around manufacturing centers like restaurants, shops, hotels, apartment complexes, car dealerships - need I go on?
By the way, isn't it interesting how greedy old business owners apparently don't pay any taxes at all? At least, that's how progressives make it seem lately. (Maybe it's because so many of the progressive
Yes, there is a social contract between a large business and the community that supports it. It is a symbiotic relationship that, when done right, nurtures and supports both parties. Many businesses even participate in community outreach such as Target, who partnered with Oprah Winfrey to give my daughters' school a new library in appreciation for their dedication to promoting reading. Just think of it as private sector voluntary redistribution of wealth from Target to the kids of Ocoee Middle School. But when government steps in and begins punishing businesses for their success through excessive regulation and confiscatory taxation, they are not only sabotaging the businesses, but the communities with whom they are so closely tied by taking the resources that would have gone into the local community and redirecting it to Washington.
As of now, Warren is the front runner in her race against Brown for the Senate. It will be interesting to see how her comments are taken by the Massachusetts public. We truly are at a crossroads with the 2012 election. Which will we choose - a further slide into the floundering European model of high unemployment, high taxes, excessive regulation and low productivity or a return to the founding principles of smaller federal government, more power to the states and, above all, fiscal sanity. If Warren remains the front runner, it will be clear that there really is a desire to punish the private sector and grow the public as the press has been claiming. There was certainly no ambiguity in her statement to confuse voters about where she stands. She has pinned her hopes on class warfare and redistributionism. If Brown retakes the lead, well...if even uber-liberal Massachusetts gets it, there's hope for the rest of the country.
UPDATE: Oh dear God in Heaven. Looney old Paul Krugman is calling Warren a "financial reformer" whose "eloquent" comments have spoken truth to power. If by "financial reform" you mean more of the same tax and spend policies that the democrats have been shoving down our throats for decades (and really put on steroids since 2007) then sure, she's a real "reformer".