This article by Hunter Lewis was originally published by AgainstCronyCapitalism.org.
Good for her! Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is letting us know where she stands. There’s no oily evasiveness for her — or at least there’s less than we usually get from politicians.
Here are Warren’s 11 tenets of today’s progressivism, outlined in a July 18 speech before Netroots Nation. Below each tenet are a few questions for her.
1. “We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”
Will you fight to end government bailouts? How will you end them if Wall Street is operated as a subsidiary of Washington? How will you end them if Washington needs big Wall Street firms to buy its bonds with money created by Washington?
The real problem here is that government control, tough or not, is destroying the market’s own internal discipline. Markets aren’t just about profits. They are also about bankruptcy. Wall Street firms must be allowed to fail.
2. “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.”
So progressivism is backed by science and other political philosophies aren’t? People who disagree with you don’t care about the Earth?
3. “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.”
Rigged to benefit big corporations? No. But are you just benefiting some big corporations at the expense of others? What do you mean by “real net neutrality?”
4. “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.”
What if someone can’t get a full-time job, perhaps because of Obamacare? Do they get no help?
And how will an increase in the minimum wage help those who can’t get any job because of the minimum wage? How will this help teenagers or other young people get their first job?
The great progressive President Franklin Roosevelt intervened to keep wages high during the Great Depression. The result was that those who succeeded in keeping their jobs were even better off than before, while millions of others were thrown out of work and had nothing.
5. “We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”
Hm. How are you “fighting alongside them” other than giving speeches? Are you fighting for the workers or for the unions? And how much money have you received from unions?
6. “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.”
Yes — and then what? Hasn’t the Federal student loan program driven up the cost of a college education, leaving many students worse off than before it existed?
And why is the Federal government borrowing at a low interest rate and then charging the students a much higher rate? How can it be right to make a profit off the students and then apply it to the Federal budget under a line called “deficit reduction.”
7. “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare and pensions.”
How exactly will we do that? Should we keep borrowing from the Chinese in order to “protect” these programs? What kind of protection is that?
8. “We believe — I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014 — we believe in equal pay for equal work.”
Are progressives the only people you think believe in this?
9. “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.”
Except in Federal programs that discriminate in favor of one group over another? If equal is equal, then why are non-unionized companies barred from Federal construction contracts? Other examples could fill the page.
10. “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.”
It may “mean reform,” but what does “reform” mean? This is evasive.
11. “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!”
If corporations are not people, is it OK for the Federal government to gag their speech, tell them what they must say or not say, and otherwise deny them any of the protections offered by the bill of rights?
Having recited what Warren believes to be the 11 tenets of contemporary progressivism, what does she think that conservatives believe? Here it is: “I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.”
But is this what conservatives teach? Is this even what markets teach? Do they teach us to be selfish? Or do they teach us that we had better put our selfishness aside and tend to the needs of customers and employees first if we want to be successful?
People who run businesses are serving the needs of others. And people who work for the government may be just as selfish as anybody else.
Did Warren describe all the tenets of contemporary progressivism? No, she described the ones she wanted to describe. But let’s leave it for now with her 11.