Debunking Elizabeth Warren

Dan Joseph
By Dan Joseph | October 28, 2011 | 4:25 PM EDT

If you follow American politics closely you’ve probably heard the name Elizabeth Warren bandied about, lately.  Over the next year or so, you’ll be hearing her name a lot more.

She’s the likely Democratic nominee in the upcoming effort to unseat Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown and, to be completely honest, she’ll probably beat him.  This is Massachusetts we’re talking about here.  Obama will probably win the state by 20 points and his coattails will be strong.

Warren is a quickly becoming a hero on the Left.  Progressives adore her.  The media fawns over her.  She is an attorney and law professor at Harvard. She chaired the oversight of the 2008 U.S. banking bailout, and led the conception and establishment of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - the sole function of which is to regulate the holy hell out of Wall Street.

She recently said of the Occupy Wall Street movement:

"I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do."

She takes credit like a female Al Gore. Only, instead of the Internet, she brags about blessing us with a bunch of  dirty hippies with no discernable goals and a propensity for getting arrested.

After this video came out, it was quickly passed around by liberals all over Facebook and Twitter, and touted as the new rallying cry in favor of wealth redistribution and Obama-style class warfare.

In the first part of the video, Warren simply repeats the most common liberal talking points in the current Democratic Party playbook.  She blames our country’s current debt on the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This is a convenient way to try and divert blame for the debt away from the Democrats’ recent spending binge. But, the facts say that the assertion is based on faulty logic.

As this handy chart shows, the federal debt as a percentage of GDP (the only accurate way to measure the debt as a part of the overall economy) didn’t grow all that much in the first seven years that George W. Bush was in office.

Bush inherited a recession which caused the debt to shoot up a bit early in his presidency, but after that it was relatively stable. That is, until the financial crisis in 2008.  But, the wars and tax cuts were on the books long before the financial bomb caused revenues to tank and the federal government decided to spend massive amounts of money on TARP and Stimulus.  If the Bush tax cuts and the wars he presided over were to blame for the sharp debt increase, the debt would have begun gradually increasing as a percentage of GDP long before the “Great Recession” began.

It’s very convenient for Warren to blame something that didn’t happen on the Democrats’ watch for the debt.  However, if Warren’s standards are used, one could blame the debt on any big spending program that has contributed to the debt over the last 50 years.  Including, Medicaid, the Vietnam War, Social Security or Medicare.  Why limit it to the eight years that George W. Bush held the White House?

This type of bogus math is a typical liberals’ defense of the Obama administration’s profligate spending and it’s to be expected.  But, it's what Warren says in the second part of the video, however, that turned her into a bona fide, Obama-style, celebrity of the Left.

"You built a factory out there? Good for you," she said. "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."

It’s a shabbily constructed straw-man that makes the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz look like Michelangelo’s David.

First of all, from the rise of the Tea Party until now, I haven’t heard a single conservative say that his tax dollars should not go to pay for roads, police and firefighters.  Sure, there are some on the fringe of the libertarian movement who advocate the privatization of these public entities, but they are a lonely minority within the conservative movement.

Additionally, funding for all three of those necessities largely emanates from the state and local level, not from the federal government.  The focus of the heated debate over spending that is taking place now has been almost exclusively on federal spending.

So, one has to conclude that Warren thinks that the American voter is pretty darn stupid.  Her misleading class-warfare tactics are similar to those used by another former Harvard educated lawyer who currently holds public office.