A few days ago I was looking through the Board of Directors list at Freedom Works and happened across the bio of board member Mary E. Albaugh. Here’s the bio.
“When our daughters were born, my husband and I envisioned an ever-expanding world of opportunity and continued prosperity. But the government grew faster than our children, shrinking their future prospects and each person’s ability to flourish through his own efforts.”
Now, these bios are often boilerplate. And Albaugh is just as likely to be a delightful human being as the next person I know little or nothing about. But what a mindset and worldview … The government grew faster than her daughters and now they’re faced with diminished life prospects and ability to flourish.
Now it turns out, as I learned in this Mother Jones article, Mary E. Albaugh is actually Betsy Fisher, the owner of a upscale and very successful women’s clothing store in Washington. (Albaugh isn’t a pseudonym; it appears to be her married name, Albaugh, along and her other given name, Mary. She’s often professionally referenced as Mary Elizabeth Fisher.)
Now looking at her Linkedin page and some other information, Fisher appears to be roughly 50 years of age. For the sake of conversation let’s assume her daughters were born at some point in the late 80s or 1990s. So when Fisher’s children were born during, let’s guestimate, the Bush I or Clinton years, the world appeared open to individual flourishing and economic advancement based on your own efforts. But since then government has grown and grown faster than her kids (which is fast when you consider how fast kids grow) and its shrinking their prospects for success and individual advancement.
My gut reaction is, WTF? But what more genuinely interests me about this is that some extremely wealthy people really do think this way. Not just that more activist government is diminishing the stage on which their children can advance, flourish, self-actualize, blah, blah, blah – something that might arguably be true at the extreme end of the margin. There are trade-offs in life. But in addition to this, the idea that the United States has actually moved in this direction over the last generation – something that seems demonstrably false both in terms of the size of government vs GDP, the private economy and economic stratification but in more subjective sense of the increasing privileges made possible by the agglomeration of extreme wealth.
[Photo: Children’s Law Center]