The Corner

Re:‛Somebody Else Made That Happen’

Ramesh, another flaw in Obama’s and Warren’s argument is it assumes that government/community benefits are uniquely or disproportionately accessed by business owners and other successful people.

The owner of Acme Plumbing Supply isn’t the only person in his community who uses a freeway, benefits from the regional sewer system, or had a fifth-grade math teacher. Individuals who haven’t built businesses or who aren’t financially successful also use the infrastructure used by business people. Indeed, some of the least successful people in society avail themselves of government/community benefits more than those Obama and Warren assert owe their success to the government and the “village.” Yet some people build businesses and others do not; some are successful, others are not. 

The Obama/Warren formulation gives little or no credit to individual initiative, skill, ingenuity, industry, and perseverance. But for Obama, Warren, and like-minded folks, the beauty of their argument is that it justifies first claim by the state on the success and profits of any individual who has, at some point in his life, received a government service or benefit.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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