Quote of the day--I ♥ Elizabeth Warren edition

>> Thursday, September 22, 2011

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.
-Elizabeth Warren

I think I'm in love.


Janiece Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:11:00 AM EDT  

I KNOW. I totally want to marry her and have her babies.

Okay, not really.

But she still rawks.

vince Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:26:00 AM EDT  


This needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

Leanright,  Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:50:00 AM EDT  

That's a real nifty comment-n-all, but each time she writes "the rest of us", she should add, "Including the person or people with the ambition to build the factory and employ said "rest of us".

Carol Elaine Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 12:54:00 PM EDT  

You know how I've been saying that I want to be Helen Mirren when I grow up? I take that back. I wanna be Elizabeth Warren when I grow up.

Carol Elaine Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 1:07:00 PM EDT  

BTW, David Atkins is the brother of Dante Atkins, who I worked with a little during my political activism days. Hello, small world.

Leanright,  Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 2:09:00 PM EDT  

Just how much personal "risk capital" do the "rest of us" have in these businesses? If the business fails, what is the personal investment subject to loss of the "rest of us"?

When she speaks of the "rest of us", is she talking about the 57% of the "rest of us" who pay taxes?

Her statement is a failure of logic, but I guess it plays well to her constituents.

Eric Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 2:47:00 PM EDT  

Dave, seriously: please stop trollin'. If nobody bit on your first comment, making a second, more inflammatory comment three hours later is really just bad form. I think there's good odds nobody's going to bite on the second one, either. Just back away from the "ENTER" key and let it go, man.

Tom Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 2:56:00 PM EDT  

Dave, you seem like the guy in the restaurant with a group of people, who finds out your meal cost $15, so you put in $16, with a buck for the waiter (even though that's not 15%), and forget about your drink, and tax. Strict accounting so you don't have to pay more, and you end up not carrying your own weight. Whereas I find the same $15 cost, put in $20, and offer to cover any shortfall. I'm not worried about paying a bit more than my share.

The "rest of us" is the people of America. It may or may not include the builder of the factory, if that person is a foreigner. If not, yes, he's included in the rest of us by default, and doesn't need to be singled out. The rest of us participate in America, even to the legal or illegal immigrants, even to the people too poor to pay income tax (they do pay other taxes, though), because we all get benefit from each other. Yes, I even get benefit from the illegal immigrant picking lettuce in the fields. Illegal is a condition of law, not humanity.

Those of us who participate in America built the roads, the water and sewer infrastructure, the electrical plants, and all the rest. We all get benefit from all of that, whether we own a car or not, whether we use gas stoves instead of electrical ones. And that is the infrastructure that the factory builder depends on, even before his factory is in operation, before it starts making a profit.

I'm happy to have been part of providing that infrastructure through my taxes (all kinds) and through the services I provide in my job to the other people of America. I don't worry that some people choose not to work, and exist on welfare. Those poor "poor" people are doing more harm to themselves than they do to me. But they are only a small part of the people who otherwise use the welfare provided by "we the people." I don't mind working a bit more to make up for others. I don't insist on a strict accounting. I would rather live in a country where people don't have to starve, where even when someone can't find a job, they are still provided for. That phrase in the Constitution, "provide for the common welfare" means so much more than you seem to acknowledge.

I'm happy to be human, and American, and I can look myself in the eye every morning. Maybe I didn't say all of what I wanted to understandably, but I hope you can get my meaning.

Tom Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 2:57:00 PM EDT  

Opps, sorry Eric. It took me too long to write, and by the time I submitted it, there was your comment on your own blog.

But it's already written, and I hope there's value in leaving it.

Leanright,  Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 3:26:00 PM EDT  

Heck, I got a bite! Thanks Tom.

No, I'm not "that guy". I pay my fair share and then some. I mentor others in my field to give them a leg-up and am happy to do so. Warren speaks of leaving something to the next generation by "paying it forward for the next kid who comes along". Successful businesses don't expire with death or resignation of an owner, if they are managed correctly, they themselves leave a lasting legacy by providing jobs for "the next kid who comes along". And so on....

I understand what she is trying to say, but her comparison is certainly not equal. There is a major difference in being a part of that infrastructure and contributing to its establishment and to BE a participating taxpayer, and THEN using your own financial and human capital to build a company which, if successful, will provide jobs. I think the issue is, we're hanging on the term "self made". It's true in a sense that the "self" Warren is speaking of generally makes the decision to risk their capital to establish a business. They don't need permission from the "rest of us", provided they followed all legal channels and paid for all appropriate licenses, permits, etc., to start their own business. Yes, the tax-paying public has a part in the success, that I can agree with, yet not to the extent of the "self made" individual. I have my own small investment business. I do drive public roads to get here every day; I am pleased that there is a police force or fire department to keep me safe. I also pay for licenses and permits to government agencies to HAVE my business. I pay 100% of my own SS tax, and other benefits, I pay $800 per year to have an LLC, I pay for insurance to protect my business from things that the fine men in uniform cannot protect me from, (E & O Insurance), etc. Those fees are on me, and not on the "rest of us". I hired an assistant and I pay her what is fair and contribute to HER retirement, and pay for HER medical insurance. I pay that. Not the "rest of us".

So, while I agree with the statement that others have a role in the success of my business from the groundwork they've laid and other services provided, the two are not equal; and my intent is to continue to have a successful business, and someday "take a hunk of that and pay it forward to the next kid(s) who come along", who happen to be my daughters.

Eric, sorry if you got all bent out of shape that I'd posted twice. I was trying to add to the topic, but since you don't agree with me, it must come off as "more inflammatory".

rbird,  Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:56:00 PM EDT  

I love this Warren quote. I saw this posted on FB by a few people. Finally a folksy political statement that is actually brilliant and for the folk.

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