At a recent fundraiser in New York, Vice President Joe Biden made an astonishing claim about government and its role in society. He said, “Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.”


Forgetting for a moment that this claim is patently false-as evidenced by the folks at and the CATO Institute-the vice president’s statement is troubling for an entirely different reason. See, in many ways, his message conveys the idea that government acts as a catalyst rather than an impediment to prosperity-which we know to be inherently wrong.

For most of us will agree that government does not create wealth, it redistributes it; government does not create markets, it taxes, regulates, and manipulates them; and government does not create jobs, it destroys them.

In the words of the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, “Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way…The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way.”

– Kimberly KisnerIntern, Center for Fiscal Policy