Erika Johnson at Hot Air discusses Elizabeth Warren’s speech last night:
There is so much material here, I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll just pick out a few key lines and go from there.
“We fought to level the playing field before. About a century ago when corrosive greed threatened our economy and our way of life…” Greed. Oh, greed. You call it greed, I call it rational self-interest; but whatever you want to call it, one thing is certain: The profit motive, which all human beings share, by the way, is the driving force behind everything we have. Individuals trying to provide for themselves and for their families are what continually creates prosperity, a.k.a., economic growth, and an individual’s personal wealth is an indicator of how successful they’ve been in providing a good or service upon which other people voluntarily place a lot of value. How do corporations become corporations, Ms. Warren? I might patronize the hair salon or the car wash once a month or so, and these small businesses are important, to be sure. But “oil companies” and “investment banks” have so much money because I use their services every single day. I drive to work and accrue interest in my savings account all time time, just like most Americans do — and these are all voluntary, mutually beneficial transactions. And what’s more, these large corporations also provide huge numbers of jobs as well as government revenue. Please get off your high horse and quit acting like the life choices of the CEO of the oil company are somehow ignoble compared to those of the hair stylist.
“The Republican vision is clear — ‘I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.’ Republicans say they don’t believe in government. Sure, they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends.” Uhm, why yes actually, I am just on my way to play poker with the corporate emperors of the universe, along with the rest of Republican party. …What the what? Who are these ‘powerful friends’ I’m supposed to have, exactly, and why am I unable to divorce my motives from their oh-so-greedy wishes? News flash: I do not have powerful friends. I vote Republican because I want to lessen the impregnable power of the federal bureaucracy and create more opportunities for myself and my fellow Americans. That is all.
“People feel like the system is rigged against them, and here is the painful part, they’re right. The system is rigged. …Wall Street CEOs, the same ones the direct our economy and destroyed millions of jobs still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.” Blergh. This is a perfect manifestation of my precise problem with Elizabeth Warren and her “consumer financial protectin’” ilk. Yes, I grant you, the system is kind of rigged. But why are we blaming Wall Street for rent-seeking, when the metastasized federal government is what’s affording them the opportunity to rent-seek? People will always look for a way to beat out their competition, and if that includes courting favors from the government and crony capitalism, they will. This isn’t rocket science. Federal busybodies trying to incentivize the financial sector into doing things they wanted to see happen based on their political agenda was what caused the financial crisis. Everybody has an agenda — but only the government can enforce theirs through fiat without fighting the natural regulator of free-market competition. Elizabeth Warren was a big supporter of the Occupy Movement, and I made this point right when the Occupy protests first broke out — stop directing your ire at the symptoms and instead direct it at the disease.
And finally, as to the Elizabeth Warren’s claim that the Romney/Ryan ticket doesn’t care about the middle class — doesn’t anybody at that convention realize that Barack Obama’s proposal to hike taxes on America’s wealthiest earners is an absolute farce that cannot hope to pay for the level of government he wants to keep going? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!
So much of modern leftist ideology is based upon the idea of fairness. There is nothing inherently wrong with that because fairness is a worthy ideal. The problem comes from trying to define “fair.”
Life is not fair. If it was then we would all be identical. While (ideally) we may all be equal under the law, we are not all equal. Some of use are bigger, faster, smarter and/or stronger than others. Some are better looking. A lucky few choose the right parents and are born wealthy.
Government cannot create equality. In can, however, prohibit the more egregious forms of discrimination. Government cannot guarantee equality of opportunity but it can do something about providing opportunity to everyone.
In some places your entire life is basically predetermined at birth. If you are born poor you will always be poor. Your tribe, race or caste controls the choices available to you.
Here in this country your options may be limited by who your parents are but they do not control your life. An Ivy League education was not really an option for me, but that didn’t prevent me from getting an education. I didn’t inherit anything but my genes but just because I couldn’t rise to the top doesn’t mean I couldn’t rise above my parents.
Government cannot legislate prosperity. All it can do is maintain a physical, legal and economic infrastructure that allows prosperity to take place. That includes penalizing cheaters and preventing unfair competition.
But referees are there to enforce the rules, not choose the winners.