I built this idiocy

The Boston Globe has an article titled ‘Points for both sides in who-built-it debate’ which says things like:

Miller’s company is like many visited by Senator Scott Brown in recent weeks as he has argued that individual initiative, not the government, builds business success. Brown’s visits, some of which have been stops on his “Thank You for Building This” tour, are a retort to Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic challenger, and her emphasis on the role government plays in helping businesses thrive. It is an argument about the very definition of American capitalism.

But as Miller’s example shows, it is more complex — and the candidates have more in common — than partisans might acknowledge.

Neither Brown nor Warren has been wholly dismissive of either government or the private sector, although their rhetoric can sometimes make it sound as though they are.

Let’s go back, here’s Warren’s statement:

“You built a factory out there? Good for you,” she says. “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.”

In other words, Warren is NOT saying government builds success and is NOT saying individuals do not build businesses. She is making the completely unremarkable claim that government builds the infrastructure and environment where individuals and businesses can be successful. Then she goes on to state that that means that people who are successful should be willing to pay higher taxes to make it so that environment is there for the next generation–a statement that is only controversial to Randians and the current crop of conservatives.

Thus, all the points go to Warren. Only people who willfully misinterpret Warren’s and Obama’s statement think either of them really believes government is the only reason that anyone is successful, so this is really bad reporting.

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