Sunday, July 12, 2015

You didn't build that

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on 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 built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless! Keep a 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

Provocative remarks—famously repeated by President Obama during his 2012 re-election campaign and stressed by the left today—but logically unpersuasive.

All of us—including the factory builder—have paid for roads, schools, and police and fire departments, and have therefore “paid it forward.” The relevant question is why some people innovate and create. Is it because there are public roads and police departments? No. The truth is it's because of talent, hard word, luck, ambition, and drive, among other factors. The policy question is how to foster an environment where individuals maximize their potential for wealth creation.

But, as these statements make clear, the left is more preoccupied with equality than prosperity.

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