Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Congressman Kevin McCarthy's mighty big bootstraps

Last week I noted that the Koch brothers believe in the power of hard work and free enterprise because they turned themselves from millionaires into billionaires—seemingly missing the point that it's lots easier to become a billionaire if you start out with some word ending in "illionaire" as a description of your monetary worth.

Via Adam Serwer, I note that GOP Congressman Kevin McCarthy has a similar story to tell.
FOX: Sure. Such a good point. You would actually know something about the American dream because going... in the Wayback Machine for a moment... you won the California lottery.

McCARTHY: On my first ticket. I was 19. I won the lottery. I could do one of two things: I could become Charlie Sheen and throw a big party, but I chose to invest in the market, and after a while... I decided to invest in the American dream and open my own small business. [Despite] the challenge of government regulation, luckily I was successful, and at the end of two years, I then had enough money to pay my way through college.
He was a deli guy, so I wonder what kind of "challenges" government regulation posed. Did the government put its boot on his neck by forcing him to put unused meat in the refrigerator?

More seriously, it does seem to be a theme among Corporate Republicans that even in instances where they clearly benefitted from great luck or great genes, well, they believe that it was their own virtue that really carried the day. That's simplistic. Success is probably often a matter of both luck and hard work—and one without the other probably doesn't offer much long-term reward, generally speaking. Acting as though the stool only has one leg is foolish.

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