Recently, Elizabeth Warren, Harvard law professor, former Obama regulator and candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Edward Kennedy, sparked a national debate by positing that people who are successful in business owe that success to a large extent because of the state’s contributions in the form of schooling, public utilities, police and fire protection, and thus the state should be able to take as large a share of their wealth as it needs in order to provide such services as it deems necessary.
George F. Will, writing in the Washington Post, argues that Warren’s social contract is “antithetical to America’s premise, which is: Government – including such public goods as roads, schools and police – is instituted to faciliate individual striving, a.k.a., the pursuit of happiness.” This debate encapsulates the differences between the two national political parties and thus may play a role in the outcome of the 2012 election. Who is right — Warren and Occupy Wall Street or WIll and the Tea Party, or is there a third view?
The Empire Page, a website devoted to stimulate discussion of issues relevant to NYS, today launched its own discussion of the social contract issue with pieces written by former Albany Times Union managing editor Dan Lynch, by environmental expert and columnist Paul M. Bray and by yours truly.
Here’s the link: http://www.empirepage.com/2011/10/18/roundtable-on-the-social-contract.
Comments and contributions (longer than comments) are welcome. They will be added to the site as received.