Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly held a 90 minute debate in Washington on Saturday. They discussed a number of topics, but one moment has received some attention for being a particularly strong point in Stewarts favor, Stewart asked O’Reilly:
“Why is it that if you take advantage of a corporate tax break you’re a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something so you don’t go hungry, you’re a moocher?”
Liberals have reacted to this point enthusiastically, in fact the quote quickly reached the front page of Reddit with many singing its praises. But all this statement reveals is the ignorance of Stewart and his followers. In fact it reminds me (due to its daftness) of an Elizabeth Warren quote that captured the hearts of statists everywhere.
The first part of the quote is strange because it could mean a few things. If he’s referring to a company getting a “tax break” that is not available to other companies, then we have a corrupted market that no one advocates and Stewart is guilty of a massive straw-man argument. But, if Stewart means that when a company simply has a “low” tax rate they are getting a “break,” we have another problem. Simply put, legally keeping more of what you EARN doesn’t make you a bad person.
The second part of the quote is pure straw-man. Nobody believes that if someone takes “advantage of something so you don’t go hungry” you’re a “moocher.” On a side note, who in America exactly is going hungry? What is far more prevalent is fraud and abuse of government programs. Stewart is alluding to conservatives distaste for government dependency, but he refuses to address this — straw-men are easier to argue against.
If Stewart was honest about confronting conservative ideas in his now beloved statement, it would read something like this:
“Why is it that if you are able to keep more of what you earn you’re a smart businessman, but if you become dependent on something you didn’t earn, you’re a moocher?”
- AR Ward