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Time for an Elizabeth Warren Reality Check

12:00 PM, Sep 22, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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I don't think I could possibly overstate how excited liberal 'netroots' are about this clip of Harvard Professor and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren that's making the rounds. I know Warren has a long history of being fawned over by liberals, but read the comments section at any one of those links above and you'll find liberals that make Justin Bieber fans sound like Statler and Waldorf.

Elizabeth Warren

You can watch the video of Warren here, if you like, but here's a transcript:

“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.”

Maybe I'm missing something, but is there some raging debate over whether or not the government should pay for roads, education, and public safety? Seriously, I encourage all liberal bloggers to take a field trip to a Waffle House or NASCAR race and try and find me a Tea Partier that doesn't believe in paying for roads. (You might find one our two squirrelly looking guys standing by themselves at the back of a Ron Paul rally that believe this, but good luck with that.)

It's obvious and been said time and time again, but Tea Partiers and conservatives believe in limited government -- not no government. In fact, their exact problem with government is that it's failing to meet the most basic terms of the social contract. The point is that government should have a few core functions and perform them well before we even think about moving on to pay for all the superfluous stuff the federal government is sticking its nose into.

Sure we pay taxes because we believe in roads and schools, but what are we getting for it? Roads and infrastructure are terrible, and schools are miserably failing to educate students even as they cost more thanks to exorbitant teacher benefits and ridiculous job protections that are in large part the result of donations to Democratic officials. And while these problems get worse, we're paying for more and more inessential things with our taxes, or worse, Washington is imposing draconian regulations supressing the ability to create the wealth these factory owners pay taxes on that otherwise pay for the important stuff such as schools and roads. Would Warren have us just ignore these problems and pay higher taxes unnecessarily? 

And am I missing something, or does Warren start her spiel by rejecting class warfare and lay out a scenario where the underlying presumption is that wealthy factory owners are unwilling to pay taxes? What about the fact that Warren speaks as if factory owners get to "keep a big hunk of it" as if the government rightfully has first claim to that money, even though they took all the risk and pay a hugely disproportionate percentage of America's taxes at a time when nearly half the country pays no federal income tax? Why doesn't Elizabeth Warren ask Gibson Guitars about how the "marauding bands [who] come and seize everything at your factory" are, in fact, the federal government?

But more to the point, lefty bloggers are jazzed because the new starting point for explaining liberalism to the masses is making the case for the government building roads? If that's the case, Democrats are losing the debate over the size and scope of government. Badly.

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