William Murchison | Why Democrats Are in Trouble

The so-called "Rising American Electorate" appears to hanker for, among other things, larger investments in education, "protection" of Social Security and Medicare and fairness for women. Thomas B. Edsall, in the New York Times, calls attention to a Pew Research Center poll showing rising support for socialism as the remedy for capitalism.

Yes, yes, fine. Let’s see how it all works out. To put it another way: Let’s see what works out in practice and not just post-campaign rhetoric. The instant temptation, from the conservative side, is to go all weepy at such news. I would counsel resistance to such temptation: this, for a couple of reasons.

–The alliance of "Rising American Electorate" members is not necessarily based on congruence of interests. The young may be the shakiest element of the alliance for economic reasons. When you’re earning $20,000 a year — or living at home — it may seem well to call for expropriation of the bloated plutocrats. The genius of America, nonetheless, has always been the elevation of the low-income earner to the higher tax brackets. To redistribute widely would be to overthrow the American premise of entitlement to the fruits of one’s work and enterprise. Are we there yet? I see no persuasive evidence.

–Then what’s all these nonsense about hiring another 100,000 teachers? Meaning, another 100,000 members of the teachers unions, whose troops have carried American public schools to such celestial heights? "Protect" Social Security and Medicare? Without affecting economies as to cost and eligibility? That should do a lot of good. And without — gulp! — burdening taxpayers with slimmer means than the two left-wing Georges — Soros and Clooney?

Shall we try socialism? What a great idea — Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela as our models and pole stars! Ought to be an effective formula for weight loss.

A continuing problem with left-wingery — a problem not grasped by some of the analysts — is that it doesn’t work. Socialists, as Maggie Thatcher astutely observed, always run out of other people’s money. They can’t replace it of course with their own. Socialism isn’t about creating wealth; it’s about grabbing someone else’s.


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