Daniel J. Mitchell

I’m part of a just-posted online Debate Club sponsored by U.S. News & World Report which asks “Is the United States a Nation of ‘Makers and Takers?’”

My contribution to the discussion is basically a reworked version of what I wrote last week about Romney and the infamous 47 percent remark, so there’s no need to regurgitate those remarks. Suffice to say that I gave an answer of “No” because Americans don’t (yet!) share the European belief that it is government’s responsibility to provide the basics of life.

What’s interesting is that the two other participants in the debate (Phil Kerpen and Scott Winship) who are closest to my views answered “Yes,” while the three leftists sided with me and voted “No.”

But not because the leftists agreed with me on policy, or because I disagreed with Phil or Scott. I think the strange divergence is a result of me being very literal (some would say pedantic) about the question that was asked while the rest of the participants addressed the broader issue of whether there’s too much or too little means-tested redistribution.

So allow me to take a moment to elaborate on my remarks. My answer was driven by my belief that American exceptionalism – limited government, self reliance, and personal responsibility – is still real. I linked above to one poll comparing American and European attitudes, but I also invite you to review very important polling data here and here.

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.