Elizabeth Warren and Private Enterprise
Now that the Dem Convention is over, we can reflect on what we heard there. One of the most remarkable things - really startling - that we heard came from Elizabeth Warren, the Native American who is running for the Senate in Massachusetts. She was the warm-up act for Bill Clinton on Wednesday night.
Getting worked up a short way into her speech, Ms. Warren said the most remarkable thing:
"Look around, oil companies guzzle down billions in profits."
The theme of Ms. Warren's speech was that "the system is rigged against them [the middle class]." Apparently, Ms. Warren is unaware that oil companies are among the best - perhaps the best - employers in the country. Oil industry jobs are well-paying, one would even say, high-paying, at all levels, particularly including field work. The fondest hope of any middle-class community is that an oil company will come to town.
Oil companies are among the best, the highest examples of private enterprise. They are in a competitive industry. Exxon Mobil, America's largest oil company only has a 3% share the world market (the truly huge companies in this industry are the state-owned oil companies). Nevertheless, Exxon Mobil and its confreres operate on a massive scale. They extract oil for our use from arctic wastes and from more than two miles under the ocean. They supply us with cheap, convenient energy on a 24/7 basis. They are temples of technology - computational, metallurgical, engineering, scientific.
They don't "guzzle down profits." That is what a Solyndra does. Oil companies generate profits. They pay for licenses on public lands, they pay severance taxes, they pay income taxes and lastly we pay enormous taxes on fuels when we buy them.
Any oil company that "guzzles down profits" is outta business. What those leave behind are tumbleweeds blowing across empty lots. That is the world that Ms. Warren wants. She is offended by profits.
And what are profits? What is a profit? It is that amount over the cost of producing a good by which consumers value that good. If a company is making losses, then its operations cost more than the value of its production and it is reducing the wealth of society. That, essentially, was the problem with Soviet industry - the more it grew, the poorer the country got because Soviet industry cost more than the value of what it produced. Eventually the Soviet economy imploded.
Profits are the result of "skill, industry and foresight" as IBM used to put it in one of its legal travails. They represent the creation of wealth independent of the government, which is why the Warrens of this world hate them so much. The Dem objective is for everybody to be dependent on the government - to be waiting in line for benefits conferred on them by politicians. That is not the American vision.
Dems want to pretend that if you are opposed to unlimited government, you want "no government." No. What conservatives want is constitutional government - limited government of enumerated powers under which the USA has emerged as the leading nation in the world despite being one of its youngest.
Elizabeth Warren, having escaped the poverty and socialism of the Res, more power to her, is a professor at Harvard Law School! And she thinks that "oil companies guzzle down billions in profits!" As the British say, one doesn't know where to look! What are they teaching our kids? At Harvard, for goodness' sake!