‘There Is Nobody In This Country Who Got Rich On His Own’

Elizabeth Warren is a smart lady.

I first came across her several years ago when she was discussing her book, “The Two-Income Trap – Why Middle Class Mothers And Fathers Are Going Broke.” It explains how middle class families became increasingly pinched by the economy — and this was before the Lesser Depression.

Warren explains the heart of her book here:

Fast forward to today, and Warren has just announced that she is running for Congress in Massachusetts.

I’m not advocating for her candidacy here, but I do want to call attention to something she said while on a recent talking tour. It is a message that many people in this country seem to forget because there is a tendency to worship the rich, as if they got where they are without anyone’s help but that of Divine Providence.

This is what Warren has to say about those sentiments:

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 maurauding 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.

That’s a message we need to hear more often. It’s not about “you,” it’s about “us.”

3 thoughts on “‘There Is Nobody In This Country Who Got Rich On His Own’

  1. What amazes me is how so many people linking this quote celebrate the sheer ignorance of it. People who build factories pay a variety of fees that also pay for roads, schools and many other things. Just a few fees in my locale are Building Plan Check and Permit Fee, Transportation Impact Fee, Parks Development Fee, School Impact Fee, Service Impact Fee (for police and fire), Treatment Plant Connection Capacity Charge, Trunk Line Capacity Charge, and any number of special fees depending on the nature of the building. These aren’t fees for a factory necessarily, these are fees to build anything. Then for the life of the building there will be ongoing assessments (taxes) by the city and county that will be used to pay for city and county services and roads. The fee schedule for my city alone is 28 pages long.

    Someone who builds something pays his fair share, especially here in California. Moreover, someone with the wherewithal to build in California has paid taxes on his (probably larger than average) personal income and residence. That developer also paid the salaries for the construction workers and then the employees that worked in the building who in turn paid income tax, sales tax, and if a homeowner, real estate tax.

    Yes, almost everyone pays for roads, police and fire, but a developer has paid far more for such things than the average citizen. How much worse off would a community be that didn’t have someone to build buildings and pay employees that then pay taxes? It isn’t very hard to find communities that are dead or dying because they couldn’t find businesses to locate there. The liberal myth that businesses don’t pay their fair share is what drives those businesses to other states or countries.

    And what’s with the crack about “marauding bands”? Does Ms. Warren honestly believe that is a realistic problem in the U.S.? This isn’t Europe.

    Indeed. Warren’s obnoxious quote is supposed to rebut those who accuse the left of engaging in class warfare. Instead, by dividing America into businessmen and “the rest of us,” and portraying the former as freeloaders at the expense of the latter, she proves they are absolutely right.

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