In a new ad airing in Massachusetts, Democrat Elizabeth Warren hopes that slamming corporations like General Electric who avoid paying taxes will win over voters as she tries to unseat Republican Sen. Scott Brown in November:
"I grew up in a family hanging on by our fingertips to a place in the middle class. But back then, America invested in kids like me. We had a lot of opportunities. Today, Washington lets big corporations like GE pay nothing -- zero -- in taxes while kids are left drowning in debt to get an education. This isn't about economics -- it's about our values. I'm Elizabeth Warren, and I approve this message because Washington has to get its priorities straight."
This ad has many problems, the first and most glaring of which is Warren's accusation that "big corporations like GE" are responsible for mixing Washington's priorities. But what she doesn't mention is her role as a high-ranking official in President Obama's White House -- a place where GE's corporate donations were happily accepted. Warren's old boss liked GE so much, in fact, that he named its CEO the head of his jobs council.
Also wrong is Warren's assumption that Washington is leaving kids "drowning in debt." On the contrary, the Obama administration is out campaigning this week for a bill to keep a tight cap on student loans offered by the federal government. But "investing" in kids like Warren by pumping taxpayer dollars into higher education will not only fail to fix the problem of rising costs, but will likely only compound it by blunting competition that is needed to reign in the world of higher education. The fact of the matter is that ever-increasing federal subsidies for higher education -- which Warren endorses -- are part of the problem, not the solution.