Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You don't have a right to the fruits of my labor!

The current crop of GOP presidential wannabes harps on this right wing trope--that government is theft on behalf of the lazy poor who want to steal from the industrious rich.

It's Class Warfare!

But as Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren points out, every successful business depends on the government providing the infrastructure--social and physical--those businesses rest on. Imagine trying to launch a business in Mogadishu. Wages and property costs would be rock-bottom. But without any of that physical and social infrastructure, you'd immediately be raided by the local warlord and/or Islamofascist insurgents. Your employees wouldn't know what they needed to know. You'd be out of business in days.

And when the richest .1% of Americans are the only ones whose incomes have risen substantially (as a group) in the last 40 years, despite huge increases in productivity, it should be obvious that a prime source of the wealth of the richest of the rich is government welfare through sweet insider deals and financial manipulation--not from producing goods and services.

Thus it should be apparent that it's actually the richest of the rich who believe they have a right to the fruits of our labor--not the other way around.


One Salient Oversight said...

The Biblical verse "Those who do no work should not eat" sounds wonderfully conservative.

Except the phrase was also used by Lenin in the early days of the USSR... and the people who did "no work" were considered to be the bourgeoisie - the factory and business owners who profited from the labour of the workers.

Ehkzu said...

Your comments should remind us all of the human inclination to exaggerate our own contributions and undervalue those of others.

Thus factory workers see the boss as just sitting around while they work their tails off, while the boss sees the workers as lazy drones depending on his talent and initiative and expecting more than they deserve.

The ratio of boss value to peon value is ultimately arbitrary, but I'd take the 20 to 1 pay ratio (true of most industrial democracies and of Eisenhower-era America) as a plausible starting point.

However, you should also check out this LA Times article:,0,5965885.story

It describes experiments indicating that when people become or are wealthy they're more inclined, in general, to cheat in order to gain advantage, relative to the rest of us.