Another quote from P.J. O’Rourke:
Economic history since the Industrial Revolution proves — be the rich however stinking rich — we ordinary people can make more of the good things in life. But we have to make them ourselves, with our knowledge, skills and hard work. Government can’t give us good things. Government doesn’t make things, it just redistributes them.
I just don’t get this sort of thinking at all. Yes, self reliance is great, is to be encouraged and is to be admired. We as individual members of society have a responsibility to take care of ourselves as best we can. However, if that was all that was needed for survival then we wouldn’t need government at all. Government doesn’t just redistribute things! But when it does, it should redistribute fairly and rationally. Right now, government redistribution is tilted further towards the rich and powerful than any time since the Great Depression.
Like Elizabeth Warren said,
there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. … 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 are safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces the rest of us paid for. … You built a factory and it turned into something terrific, God Bless. Keep a big hunk of it but part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay it forward for the next kid who comes along.
Just as the government protects factory owners, the government should protect consumers. It doesn’t matter whether “we ordinary people can make more of the good things in life” if those gains in productivity are redistributed up to the folks that can afford the lobbyists who actually write many of our laws.
It is implausible to credit 1% of population for virtually all productive gain since 1979 yet 1% received virtually all benefit.
– Iron Filing