From The Wall Street Journal, Trump Voters Need a Mirror by Holman Jenkins
The blaming of elites has gone too far. The American voter has a big hand in his own disappointments. His retirement system has been a conspicuous demographic Ponzi scheme for at least two generations, yet he keeps voting for unfunded benefits. The Obama administration complains in its latest economic report about declining state and local investment because all the money is going to the unfunded pension promises negotiated by public-sector employees (i.e., voters) without also negotiating the taxes to make good on them.
The deepening strife comes not because we are being victimized by immigrants, plutocrats, Chinese trade negotiators, institutional racists or other scapegoats proffered by the scapegoat peddlers.
We’ve run out of the ability credibly to promise ourselves more goodies than a non-growing population in a non-growing economy can supply. The resources aren’t available because we don’t produce them—either because we can’t or won’t work productively enough or because we decline to labor under high enough tax rates.
It turns out government cannot spare us collectively from having to adapt and compete in an economy. It can’t suspend the reality principle. Not the biggest lie of the electoral season but a characteristic one is Bernie Sanders’s claim that huge sums will be discovered by taxing “Wall Street speculation.” Guess what? Many of the transactions his “speculation” tax aims to tax won’t take place if taxed. There will be no gusher of revenues with which to continue the expansion of government goodies.