Media apologists might be trying to get all post-modernist about President Barack Obama's justifiably infamous "you didn't build that" rap, but not Obama's former employee, the current Democratic nominee for Teddy Kennedy's old Senate seat:
"I think the basic notion is right. Nobody got rich on their own. Nobody. People worked hard, they buil[t] a business, God bless, but they moved their goods on roads the rest of us helped build, they hired employees the rest of us helped educate, they plugged into a power grid the rest of us helped build," she said.
"The rest of us made those investments because we wanted businesses to flourish, we wanted them to grow, we wanted them to create opportunity for all of us. That's what we do together. We get richer as a country when we make those investments." […]
Warren called government investments "a good thing," charging that, "the Republican vision of the future is just to continue to make cuts and not to make those investments."
Note here how all government spending is equated to roads, public education, and electrical power, which–despite massive spending increases–account for a very small fraction of federal spending. You could (and should!) lop the federal budget in half without touching these line items.
Note, too, how increased government spending has not noticeably improved the very areas of service Warren names. K-12 results are flat over 40 years despite more than doubling per-pupil spending. The electricity grid is inefficient, wasteful, and expensive. The latest federal transportation bill continues squandering money without building or maintaining anything near highway capacity, and is best described as "pathetic." We are getting much less return on our "investment," while being asked to pony up more.
Above all, Warren's comments underline that mainstream Democratic thinking in 2012, from the president down to his apologists, includes the following three prongs:
1) Successful people are insufficiently grateful to government, and should therefore be expected to give it more of their money.
2) Government spending helps the economy.
3) You can't do great things without government.
Think #3 is an exaggeration? Post-modernize this:
"Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive," [Vice President Joseph Biden] said. "In the middle of the Civil War you had a guy named Lincoln paying people $16,000 for every 40 miles of track they laid across the continental United States….No private enterprise would have done that for another 35 years."
Two other White House quotes worth remembering. First up, President Obama, in February 2009:
"The only measure of my success as president when people look back five years from now or nine years from now is going to be did I get this economy fixed," Obama told CNN. "I'm going to be judged on did we pull ourselves out of recession."
And here's Joe Biden in September 2009, on the Recovery Act, "If it fails, I'm dead."
The United States has been mostly governed by Obama/Biden/Warren economics for 42 consistently disappointing months. If nothing else, I guess you have to give them credit for sticking to their principles.