About a week ago, Massachusetts Democratic Senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren set the liberal blogosphere abuzz with the following quote from a speech given to supporters (you can get a flavor of the swooning for this sentiment over at the Daily Kos):
I hear all this, oh this is class warfare, 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... 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.Ms. Warren's argument is so simplistic it makes rebutting her almost too easy. Many have already thoroughly done so. She presents a target-rich argument. Therein lies the challenge, however--how to succinctly demolish her collectivist creed.
Well, let's not go there. Instead, let's imagine a sort of Bizarro World Elizabeth Warren -- let's call her, oh, Skippy; yes, Skippy Warren. Perhaps Skippy Warren would say something like this:
I hear all this, oh this is class warfare, no! There are no rich people in this country who want people to be poor. None. So, you liberals built a government program out there -- good for you. But I want to be clear. The rest of us-- half of us, at least -- paid for it. We paid to educate poor children your way, and it failed. And now your communities are crumbling. You are unsafe in your cities ... Now look. You had an idea for a government program that would help the poor and it turned into something unworkable, a bad idea -- God bless--pat yourself on the back for good intentions. But part of the underlying social contract is you don't take other people's money to spend on programs that don't work -- that, in fact, end up killing communities, stifling innovation and stalling job growth, as well as busting the budget -- just so you can feel good about yourself. That's egotistical. Instead, you evaluate what's not working, you empower individuals and you pay forward for the next kid who comes along by balancing the budget and unshackling the free market.To that I say, "well done, Skippy! You tell it, sister!"