An examination of the curious views of MA-SEN Candidate Elizabeth Warren

by Cody Hensarling

During my daily perusal of social media, I encountered a coordinated effort to expand the public awareness of a quotation attributed to Candidate for the US Senate from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. Admittedly, I found myself unsurprised that this effort to advance the ideas in the quotation originated from moveon.org, as Warren’s comments express a liberal counter to the idea that class warfare is unproductive. No, I’m not going to link to moveon.org.

Talking Points Memo covered the quotation as follows:  In a video of a recent Warren appearance, posted online by an individual who says he or she is not affiliated with the campaign, Warren answered the charge. “I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever,’” Warren said. “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.” (http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/09/elizabeth-warren-on-class-warfare-there-is-nobody-who-got-rich-on-his-own-video.php)

Warren’s rhetoric is intriguing because it consistently utilizes an “us vs. them” dichotomy. Taken on face, it would appear that Warren would like her audience to believe that those who have built factories don’t pay for roads, don’t pay for education, don’t pay for police & fire services, and are share no responsibility of the safeguarding of their factories. This ignores the fact that the rich pay the same taxes (if not significantly more) to pay for those services that the “rest of us” for which have supposedly paid. Furthermore, it assumes that the “rest of us” pay taxes, which is not true in all cases as there are many individuals who pay no federal income tax  (with other exceptions existing for other taxes). Were that this was the only problem with her view.

The last paragraph is truly astonishing to behold. In it, Warren claims that you are entitled to keep a “big hunk” of the proceeds from whatever productivity for which you are responsible. She further argues that it is part of the “underlying social contract” that you “pay it forward” to “the next kid”. What underlying social contract? The social contract on which the Declaration of Independence is based describes a compact by which citizens give up protection of their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness to the government in return for the security of these natural rights that only a collective body can provide. Nowhere under this contract does it state that the citizen has an obligation to transfer property to future generations or the government. If not the social contract upon which this nation was founded, then to what social contract is she referring?

Elizabeth Warren is not just a prominent liberal, she is a former advisor to President Obama himself and as such, her ideas on what responsibilities we have as citizens and to what extent the government has control over capital are unfortunately representative of the underpinnings of belief sought out by the current administration.

This quotation is what moveon.org argues “every American needs to see”. I agree, because America needs to know that the statists in Washington and around the country believe that we have an obligation to give government money for future generations. Mentoring future generations of leaders is a noble goal, as is financially providing for their security. This goal is best accomplished through private means and is by no means an obligation that is only fulfilled through higher taxes on the wealthy. Also, Americans might want to know that Candidate Warren has an interesting idea of who pays for public services. The bottom line is this: the government is supposed to protect our natural rights, not dictate the success of future generations; the goal of supporting the leaders and successes of the future is best accomplished outside the realm of government.