Friday, April 23, 2010

Fox news talking points, brought to you by Vaughn Ward

Dan "Poisen Pen" Popkey had an article yesterday revealing that anti-government candidate Vaughn Ward's wife works at Fannie Mae, which is now 75% government owned. I guess there is some news value to that, as it does expose a bit of hypocrisy, but it really doesn't tell us much about Ward as a candidate. However, this quote does:
Ward also has said, "A government job isn't a real job. True wealth creation comes from small business."
This is a flat out Fox News talking point, oft repeated by wingers, so let's unpack it a bit.

A government job is not a real job. Well. I guess, then, no one in Ward's family has a real job, preferring to feed at the government trough, while dissing it. Talk about biting the hand that feeds it. Also, given that our military is now all volunteer and the troops work for pay, those are government jobs. Not real ones, though. Please, Vaughn, keep telling our troops that they don't have real jobs. Police? Not a real job? Firefighters? Not real? Coast Guard rescue swimmers who will drop from a helicopter into an icy and stormy sea to rescue a fisherman? Not real? The helicopter pilot who fights to keep the aircraft aloft in a storm to help the rescue? What a bunch of pussies, the lot of them.

Next point, implied when taking the two sentences together: only jobs that create wealth are real. Well, okay Vaughn, garbage collection doesn't create wealth; not real. Doctors and nurses, while they make a nice living, don't create wealth. Not real. Teachers and professors? Not real.

True wealth creation comes from small business. I agree that small business does create wealth, but I disagree with the "true wealth creation" part of it. What Ward is saying is that when it comes to creating wealth, only small business matters. Only small business gets it done. Well, Vaughn, that's just stupid.

Take away all the jobs noted above. And roads. And traffic signals. And air traffic controllers. And courts and judges and prosecutors. And bank regulators. What will we have? A third world country in which it's nearly impossible to create wealth. Think life without government is so special? Move to Somalia.

Vaughn, yes, government workers might be "takers" as Rush likes to say (even though they pay their share of taxes, too), but they set the environment in which citizens can succeed and create wealth. It's an over used analogy but a good one: Try to play a football game without the referees. It would just descend into chaos.

Supporters of Ward, Adam Graham for instance, might be tempted to criticize this post by saying that wingers don't want to do away with all government, they just want to keep it small and efficient. They might acknowledge that policemen and soldiers are okay. But to that concession I say, tell me exactly what part of government you'd do away with. Don't just generically attack government while wrapped in the flag.


fortboise said...

Nicely done.

I thought of teaching in public schools as another one of those "not real" government jobs that Ward dismissed so casually.

Seems like the guy is a little short of intellectual depth for the task at hand.

marly said...

Hi Alan, this is a little off-topic but I was wondering if you'd read this article from the editor of the Idaho Press-Tribune, where he states "I would be thrilled to find a similar "liberal" watchdog or columnist who writes well, is well established as a researcher and who represents a foundation or organization of sorts."

I am completely unfamiliar with Idaho politics but I thought it was worth trying to find someone to take him up on the challenge and Google directed me to your blog.

I am very concerned about US media issues and learned about the rise in Think-tank funded 'news' - e.g. Wayne Hoffman and his "freedom' foundation - from comments in a diary on Daily Kos -,
which was based on this AP article, which discusses the situation in Idaho specifically: .

I'm just a concerned person and thought I might make a tiny impact by alerting you (or some other Idaho liberal) about this opportunity to write a column for the paper.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

Michael said...

My father, God rest his soul, was fond of saying that the people he most respected were the ones that created opportunity, not just made money. By that metric, many jobs, both private and public sector, qualify as creating wealth. Mr. Ward's attitude strikes me as arrogant, but more likely just naive.

Serephin said...

"Think life without government is so special? Move to Somalia."

At the least, that belongs on a T-shirt. Better, though -- a huge banner flown above every teabagger gathering.

Geo_Condit said...

Yup, a pretty stupid thing to say. What he should have said is that the money that small business pays in taxes could be going to create real jobs, not jobs that require more of a drain on the product of the private sector. When 46% of every dollar that's spent by government is borrowed, and people have to work one-third to one half the year to pay their taxes, we've got a problem. Is it possible that government is too big. Wouldn't it be nice if one parent could stay home with the kids and still have a really nice lifestyle? The people who work for the government do real work, well some of them anyway, but their pay is generated by the production of the private sector. The private sector is taxed to pay people who have to pay tax on that money again? What does it cost to process all those extra tax returns, and who pays for that? The Private sector. But who's really paying? Consumers. If all those layers of taxes were removed, wouldn't that help the jobless find jobs, the poor to buy clothing and food?

What should be considered is what is the role of government? The role of the government should be to protect the honest from the dishonest, the good from the bad, and figuring out ways to facilitate small business without adding layer after layer of cost. Looks to me like we're getting that backwards on some instances. LIke Constitutional rights for terrorists, paying people not to work, illegal immigrants on welfare, bad teachers in unions, Sarbanes Oxley; and the list goes on.

I listen to Limbaugh quite a bit, and I don't think I've ever heard him call government employees "takers."

Sara E Anderson said...

My mom recently had some teabaggy guy come and lecture her about the size of government. She told him she likes things like roads and streetlights, and to help out people who can't get by. He (guy was my age) was like, "We'll see what you think in a few years." Um, she's in her 50s. She's seen how these things go.

MainStreetIdaho said...

Perfect. Mr. Ward may be Right, but he ain't right about this. You are.