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UnWarrented

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In Thursday’s (Sept. 29th’s) Wall Street Journal [2], Russ tackles Elizabeth Warren’s recent claim [3] that, because government (allegedly) contributes x toward each successful entrepreneur’s and investor’s prosperity, each such entrepreneur and investor is morally obliged to fork over to government x + (whatever additional sums the current gaggle of government officials claims government ‘needs’).

Warren’s is a frightening – and frighteningly mistake and non sequitur filled – assertion.

Russ does a splendid job challenging Warren’s assertion.  Here are a couple of paragraphs:

Ms. Warren implies that the rich aren’t paying their fair share. I’m not sure what that is, but they’re already paying a lot of taxes. In the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office, from 2007, the top 1% of households paid 28.1% of all federal tax revenue—income taxes, payroll taxes and so on—for a total of $722 billion. That would buy plenty of roads, police and fire protection—and plenty of education, too.

But perhaps Ms. Warren shouldn’t mention education. Government does such a bad job educating workers in the public school system that businesses have to spend a lot of money training their work forces in basic skills. Does that mean entrepreneurs and factory owners can get a partial refund on their taxes?

UPDATE: My good buddy Todd Zywicki, from over in GMU’s School of Law, e-mails me to say that he also especially appreciates Rich Lowry’s observation [4] that crediting government with the success of entrepreneurs in the market is like crediting the person who built Bill Gates’s parents’ garage with the success of Microsoft: Microsoft was, after all, founded in the Gates’s garage.

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