Category Archive 'Elizabeth Warren'
01 Feb 2012

Elizabeth Warren Is the 1%

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Holly Robichaud, in the Boston Herald recently, relished the hypocrisy with which class warfare is waged by the likes of Elizabeth Warren, a member in good standing of the privileged elite firing her revolutionary musket from atop the American class pyramid in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Who was it who bitterly said no one gets rich on their own? None other than the self-proclaimed champion of the middle class, Harvard professor Lizzy Warren.

Well, she should know. After finally filing her financial disclosure forms, it is clear that Lizzy is a member of the 1 percent. …

Lizzy has suggested she believes it takes a village to get rich. Her experience indicates it actually takes a part-time job at Harvard. In 2009, her salary was $350,000 and she earned $429,000 for 2010 and 2011.

She also raked in $136,000 in royalties from her books, $10,000 for lecturing at a Boston law firm, $90,000 for consulting for a Florida law firm and $43,000 for working for Traveler’s Insurance. …

Let’s not forget the Oklahoma transplant earned a hefty salary for part-time government work. As a special adviser for President Obama, she was compensated $165,000 from September 2010 through August 2011 and she received $192,000 for serving on the Congressional panel overseeing TARP.

So we can say that based on her own experience, she’s at least part right. No one gets rich on his or her own . . . when they are working for the government. Because that’s taxpayer money.

Just like every other middle-class household in Massachusetts, her investments are valued at $3 million. Is her middle name Forbes?

Her home is estimated to be worth $1 million to $5 million. That doesn’t cut her out of the 99 percent because it is located in the politically correct neighborhood of Cambridge. It is middle class when you compare it to the pads of her fellow Democrats, U.S. Sen. John Kerry and Gov. Deval Patrick.

The only thing that could make her a more hypocritical class warrior is if she anchored a yacht in Rhode Island.

There is nothing wrong with being financially well-off. The problem is that Lizzy wants everyone in the 1 percent to feel guilty about their success while she lands another six-figure part-time gig.

08 Oct 2011

Elizabeth Warren’s Social Contract

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George Will explains that Elizabeth Warren’s version of social contract theory really constitutes the elite’s attempt to substitute a forged IOU entitling them to rule.

Warren’s statement is a footnote to modern liberalism’s more comprehensive disparagement of individualism and the reality of individual autonomy. A particular liberalism, partly incubated at Harvard, intimates the impossibility, for most people, of self-government — of the ability to govern one’s self. This liberalism postulates that, in the modern social context, only a special few people can literally make up their own minds. …

Many members of the liberal intelligentsia, that herd of independent minds, agree that other Americans comprise a malleable, hence vulnerable, herd whose “false consciousness” is imposed by corporate America. Therefore the herd needs kindly, paternal supervision by a cohort of protective herders. This means subordination of the bovine many to a regulatory government staffed by people drawn from the clever minority not manipulated into false consciousness.

Because such tutelary government must presume the public’s incompetence, it owes minimal deference to people’s preferences. These preferences are not really “theirs,” because the preferences derive from false, meaning imposed, consciousness. This convenient theory licenses the enlightened vanguard, the political class, to exercise maximum discretion in wielding the powers of the regulatory state.

Warren’s emphatic assertion of the unremarkable — that the individual depends on cooperative behaviors by others — misses this point: It is conservatism, not liberalism, that takes society seriously. Liberalism preaches confident social engineering by the regulatory state. Conservatism urges government humility in the face of society’s creative complexity.

Society — hundreds of millions of people making billions of decisions daily — is a marvel of spontaneous order among individuals in voluntary cooperation. Government facilitates this cooperation with roads, schools, police, etc. — and by getting out of its way. This is a sensible, dynamic, prosperous society’s “underlying social contract.”

Read the whole thing.

30 Sep 2011

Good Elizabeth Warren Rejoinder

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Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds via Bird Dog.

27 Sep 2011

Elizabeth Warren’s Statist Fallacy

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Dan Greenfield replies decisively to Elizabeth Warren’s “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.” argument.

“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,” Warren says.

This is the stationary bandit theory of government. The problem with it is that it really means you’re paying for government marauding bands who can come and seize everything in your factory. As the CEO of Gibson Guitars found out. …

Warren’s argument is that no one got rich on their own. True. By her definition, also no one makes breakfast on their own. Or does anything at all. No one writes on their own either, someone had to make the pencil or the typewriter or the computer. Why shouldn’t that collective “we” then have a say in what you write?

Here the sleight of hand assumes that the greater society is equivalent to the state, and that any activity makes the individual obligated to pay back the collective whole somehow embodied by the state.

There are two holes in this. It assumes that the individual is somehow getting a free ride at the expense of the other people in the equation. That whatever benefit they receive from participating in the arrangement is insufficient and exploitative. There’s an obvious whiff of Marx to this, but not much common sense.

And the final hole is that the state stands in place of the society, that it is the legal recipient of the net benefits due to society and can claim them. That when you’re expected to pay it forward to the next kid, that doesn’t mean hiring a kid and giving him a leg up, it means paying higher taxes.

This proposition is at the heart of the broken case against private property. If there is indeed a greater claim on private property by the society, why is an oligarchy of Harvard lawyers and government appointees the one to lay claim to it?

This precise form of argument is made by my liberal classmates all the time: “You received Shakespeare, modern medicine, and all sorts of other social benefits, so you owe the government whatever amount of taxes the left might care to demand.”

Greenfield identifies precisely the false logic. The federal government did not create human culture and society, write Shakespeare’s plays, or develop modern medicine. The state-worshipping left’s continual attempt to place government in the position of claiming ownership of human culture and every form of social interaction and cooperation is a grand-scale form of fraud.

Hat tip to the Barrister.

23 Sep 2011

More on Elizabeth Warren

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Bookworm does a very nice job of putting Commissar Warren in her place.

There are so many things wrong with Warren’s statement that I really don’t know where to begin. Tonestaple sent me an email that certainly gets the tone right (which led to my post’s title):

    They [meaning the middle class Leftists who applaud the above statement] seem to think it is the ne plus ultra of common sense. I think it sounds like a gangster saying, “Nice factory you’ve got here – be a shame if anything happened to it.”

…Tonestaple perfectly nailed the reality behind Warren’s cutesy, nursery school-esque, “God blessy” statement that everybody should share with everybody else.” The reality is that, in Obama world, if you don’t make nice with the government, the government is not going to make nice with you. (The cutesy tone, incidentally, is classic Warren. She was one of my law school profs, and I found her invariably sweet in word, unintelligible in substance, and vaguely vicious in action.)

Tone aside, there are two major problems with Warren’s factory parable. The first is the assumption that the factory owner contributed nothing to roads, education, police and fire forces, etc. In Warren’s world, the factory owner is a pure parasite. Warren conveniently forgets that the factory owner pays taxes (hugely more taxes than all those people whom she posits paying for roads, education, etc.); that the factory owner provides work for and pays the salary of those employees who then pay taxes; and that a successful factory owner makes a product that provides a benefit to people.

The second problem with Warren’s statement is actually a much more profound one than her “forgetting” that it’s the employers who provide the goods, services and salaries that make all those useful taxes possible. Warren’s statement turns the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and everything else the Founders stood for upside down.

In Warren’s world, a socialist world, the government owns everything. (And don’t you love it when well paid Harvard professors advocate socialism?)

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

23 Sep 2011

Stanford Football Fans Respond to Elizabeth Warren’s “Nobody Got Rich On His Own”

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Liberals are burbling in delight over Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s full-throated expression of the left’s soak-the-rich version of the social contract.

Warren said:

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.”

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One of Glen Reynolds’ readers, who signs himself Fog City sent along his own rejoinder to Warren, originally posted in a discussion of her remarks in the Current Events section of a Stanford Football Fan forum:

“You built a factory out there? Good for you,” “Built a factory” is a summary for a lot of work. Put up equity, designed a business, took risk to buy land, get permits, pay property taxes and use taxes and permit fees. Then, bought a bunch of equipment and had it installed …and paid sales taxes. Hired some employees and paid them a bunch of money and paid payroll taxes on top of that. Bought a bunch of raw materials from companies that paid a bunch of salaries and a bunch of taxes. Building a factory is a huge private investment that pays the public a lot of taxes for the right to be built.

“But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.” Between fuel taxes, license fees, tolls and various taxes on transportation related activities, the roads budget is smaller than the total tax take.

you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; No, you did not educate them. You babysat them for 12 years. Then I hired them, taught them how to be responsible and show up for work, taught them how to communicate in clear sentences, taught them that there are rights and wrongs and (unlike with your schools) wrongs have consequences in the workplace. Then paid for extended education for my employees so they could continue to improve themselves and better add value to what we do around here.

“You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” Funny, my factory has 24/7 security guards because the last time it was broken into, the police did not even bother to take a report, they just said “call your insurance company”. As for fire? The closest fire department is 10 miles away. My insurance company requires that I have a full wet sprinkler system to qualify for insurance because there is no local fire protection.

“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.” Well, that is not exactly true. When the AFL-CIO tried to unionize my workforce, they staged three days of noisy protests outside my factory. The police forces just stood around and watched as the protesters intimidated my workers, vandalized their cars and destroyed my property.

You say “we” like the government and society are the same. They aren’t. My company and my community and you politicians are not “we”.

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Another Stanford fan signing himself neodymian60 remarked in disgust:

I’ll weigh in because she could be my next Senator and the Democrats here are scrambling to unseat Scott Brown. Somehow she seems like the perfect insufferable replacement for the insufferable Ted Kennedy.

She has the big 3. Harvard. Lawyer. Academic. Check.

She is shrill, contentious, and condescending as only the elite can be.

While any idiot knows that there can be no market without roads and consumers, she insults everyone’s intelligence by having to explain that to them. And then insults the successful by making it seem as if they have betrayed everyone with their talents. …

I just got a call from the Brown campaign and gave them $110.

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mendicant98:

You built a factory out there? Good for you,” she says. “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.”

Um – the thing is – those who built the factory and employed the workers generated the revenue that allowed the ctizens to pay for the roads, police etc. It sure as hell wasn’t built by the poor.

She continues: “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.”


Um – again. THEY HAVE ALREADY BEEN DOING THAT. Hey if she questions that – just go to a town that revolved around a factory that went out of business and see how that town is faring. The factory – as it employs the citizens and pays its taxes etc (not to mention all its fees etc under the various regulations/licensing requirements) IS TAKING A HUNK OF THAT AND PAY(ING) IT FORWARD FOR THE NEXT KED WHO COMES ALONG.” Course if the factory shuts down – then that kid loses that opportunity and the town loses a whole lot of revenue.

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Rocky 17 vented:

Elizabeth the Harvard and Rutgers Prof, Head of TARP, lawyer, marxist, head of consumer affairs, candidate for US senate in Mass. friend of Obama, friend of Harry Reid…

If anyone on this board doubts that she is for the social contract that successful people need share their success with those who aren`t successful and have no cause for personal celebration or reward, that she intends that wealth redistribution is necessary and good, that she is not a marxist, you must be Palcal. There is no successful individual except those who have earned it on the backs of others and therefore owe the masses. There are no successful countries except those that earned it on the backs of other countries and therefore owe those countries.

Thus the apology tour at the initial stages of the Obama administration, the rage at successful people, the class warfare rhetoric. She and Obama are two peas in a pod, share the same values and cannot be called anything but Marxist redistributionists. To me, this is the antithetical behavior and value of what made the US exceptional and why the country is headed into the deep morass with policies that slowly and quickly drain the wealth of America over the world.

Gosh, it looks like some Stanford grads must have gone into business and become conservative.

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