His New York Times column is titled The Secret Weapon: All of Us, and it goes after the theme of the RNC, "We Built It."
A preliminary caution - some here will not like Kristof taking Democrats to task for criticizing Romney for outsourcing, but he tempers that with writing about the “You didn’t build that — you destroyed it.” meme Democrats are pushing at Romney.
Consider instead how he goes after the Republican claim to be job creators:
Prof. Robert S. McElvaine of Millsaps College examined employment data for the 64 years from the beginning of Harry Truman’s presidency to the end of George W. Bush’s. He found that an average of two million jobs were created per year when a Democrat was president, compared with one million annually when a Republican was president.And there is more.
More pointedly, and unfortunately for Romney, business executives have only a mediocre record when transferring their skills to government. In the last great economic mess, this country was led by a Republican who had been stunningly successful in business: Herbert Hoover. Hmm. More recently, President George W. Bush staffed his cabinet with C.E.O.’s who had been stellar in the private sector — and that didn’t work out so well, either.
After a couple of pointed paragraphs of the words of Elizabeth Warren (!), Kristof points directly at MNitt Romney, noting
He built his Bain empire partly because he was smart and hard-working, but also because of a great education and because of tax breaks for debt financing. Tax loopholes helped him build his fortune, and other loopholes gave him the low tax rates to retain it.He suggests that the Republicans have a moment of silence to honor "our infernal tax code."
It is his final short paragraph that hits a home run:
Who built this country? Entrepreneurs, yes. But so did schoolteachers and railway construction workers. Doctors and truckers. Scientists and soldiers. You didn’t build it, Mitt Romney — we all built it.If your father went to college on the GI Bill, we all helped you build whatever it is you claim credit for, Chris Christie.
If you yourself went to public school, Gov. Christie, we built that.
I remember hearing former Senator Fritz Hollings once saying about a man, he went to college on the GI Bill, he started his business with a Small Business Adminstration loan, his kids went to college using National Defense Education funds, he is now retired with Social Security and Medicare, and now he says he wants to get government off the back of the American people - who the hell does he think he's kidding?
We built this country together, going back to the earliest years of this nation - think of Henry Clay's American Plan, for example. In the 19th Century, railroads were able to flourish because of land grants from the states. Our educational system blossomed nationally first because of the establishment of Land Grant colleges and universities during the Civil War.
In the 20th Century, beginning with the Progressive Era, we recognized the need for government to intervene - we got the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Federal Reserve System, then moving forward the SEC, bank insurance, a national highway system, protections against discrimination because of race or gender or disabilities or age. We got our pensions guaranteed. We recognized that unfettered business could not even protect itself, that it needed the intervention of government.
Let's be clear - you invent something, you write a song or a book or produce a movie, you can get rich from the property rights which are protected by patents and copyrights for which We the People of the United States of America have provided in our Constitution - in a sense, we helped you at least benefit from building or creating that, because without those guarantees why take the risk?
Hobbes warned that in a state of nature it would be the war of every man against every other man and that in such a situation the life of man would be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
We encourage you to start businesses, to invent things, to create things. We provide the framework in which that is not only possible, but you can get quite wealthy because of the things we provide you, including the protection of our military and our police.
You didn't do it on your own. No one ever does.
And because you didn't, maybe it is time you acknowledge your debt by paying your fair share for the services and benefits We the People of the United States - and your local and state governments - have provided you.
Read the Kristof. It is a very good column.
Pass it on.
And thanks for reading my words.