This video has been making the rounds:
People of all statist/interventionist/meddlesome-bureaucrat stripes are praising this snippet as “saying in more than 2 minutes than what the Democratic Party has been able to say in 30 years,” yada yada yada, as if this bit was the smartest thing a leftist politician has said in years. And it might be… if only for the fact that so many idiots out there believe it. Where to even start…?
First, I just have some questions for Ms. Warren…
Does the federal government build a majority of our roads? Does the federal government control police? Do government police truly protect us from bandits, or are they there for cleanup, investigation, and to make us feel safe? Do the costs of additional federal taxes go toward any of the programs Warren mentioned? Does ANY leftist in government seriously oppose war, other than Kucinich? Are there any private roads, universities, or security forces – and if so, why would anyone pay money for these services in private if the federal government is doing the job? Doesn’t a contract entail me signing on to something? If social contracts exist, why do I have to pay for things I don’t want to? Didn’t we try the contract thing with the Constitution, before people like you wrote laws rendering its limits about as useful as if it were a blank piece of parchment? If I vote for the guy who loses in an election, can I opt out of those programs he starts that do things which in no way help me bring “goods to market”, like say, engaging in combat in 5 countries at once against people who could never rally an army against the U.S.? Do federal subsidies to things like Planned Parenthood or entitlement programs help me “bring goods to market”? Do the vast, vast, majority of government-collected funds go toward true infrastructure that aids everyone, or does most of the money go to special interest groups? Is there any place for morality in “paying it forward,” or must all of the money for “good” be coerced? Do the federal government’s programs typically work well? Are they more efficient than the market on terms of private security, private schooling, or private roads? Is the only way that a producer of a good can help society by paying taxes? Does producing goods that heighten our standard of living count as nothing compared to what the government does? Is it true that the government helps ALL people? Is intent all that matters, and will intent justify any means of achievement of a particular intended goal? Don’t ALL people have access to the social “goods” like roads and police – and if so, what is wrong with those who use those things most efficiently taking what they make for themselves given that fact? Do all of the things that you are intent on the government giving come with any responsibility by those who use them? Could it be that, instead of social contract, what we truly have is a system of modern feudalism by which the elite seize and keep power and there is no choice but to assent to coercion? – because I sure don’t feel like I signed up for giving money to the things I do…
Anyone maintaining that our massive state is the only way programs for the social good can exist is ignorant of history and the reality of economics. How, Ms. Warren, did private enterprise lead to the most literate society on earth in the Americas in the late 1800s, or the greatest generation of wealth in all of history from the late 1700s onward? How could anyone have existed before the largest government on earth regulated, taxed, and interfered with everything? How did the U.S. become such an economic powerhouse before a massive and still-expanding federal government? Are agencies like the Department of Education, which have put hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars down rat holes with nothing to show for it but a decline in literacy and science and math skills, really in need of MORE money? If the rich don’t give more money, will we cease to have roads, police, or education? And most importantly, as someone asked a few days ago as a rhetorical to the mega-state types (I would LOOOOOOOVE to hear The One answer this question honestly):
Is there anything government CAN’T do?
The government can assassinate American citizens.
The government can search your telephone, e-mail, and financial records without a warrant.
The government can create money out of thin air… money that isn’t backed by anything of value.
The government can subject you to an intrusive inspection that might include a pat-down and body scan.
The government can start undeclared wars in foreign countries that pose no threat to American security (at least we don’t have the draft anymore… for now).
The government can tell you what you can and cannot eat.
The government can kidnap you and hold you indefinitely without charging you with a crime.]
The government is not the savior-of-all that Warren wishes it to be in a way that the market could never be. Let’s talk roads, for example:
In the 19th century, for example, private investors provided more than 10,000 miles of toll roads in the Eastern United States, under conditions immeasurably more difficult than today’s. Early in the 20th century, entrepreneur William Vanderbilt built the world’s first toll expressway—the Long Island Motor Parkway.
Modern federal financing of roads started when the Highway Trust Fund was established in 1956 to finance the Interstate Highway System. The original legislation stipulated that Highway Trust Fund revenues had to come entirely from road users, via taxes on diesel and gasoline. It also stipulated that the fund, and the taxes that feed it, would be abolished within three years of the highway system’s completion, with funding responsibilities returned to the states.
As is usually the case with government programs, the Interstate Highway System was long ago completed, while the taxes and “trust fund” live on.
Take some time to think about the questions above, and how, throughout history, we humans have survived without a government’s tax revenues being in the ~$2 trillion range and spending somewhere around double that. Is more government really the answer, even though it has done nothing to improve life since the ’60s, ’70s, or ’80s (I’d argue forever, but that is a different conversation…)? Does the government taking over everything have any bad effects?
Was that chick actually serious? Are people dumb enough to buy this stuff? We have a new tag for this post: “anti-logic”. I can’t believe it all…
For now, this rant is over.
[Edit: Some logic from Sheldon Richman. Notice the comments.
Edit 2: More
Edit 3: More
Edit 4: Most]