Last week we featured observations from Angelo Codevilla, author of The Ruling Class, on the deeper sources of Trump’s appeal, namely, that Trump is talking back to the ruling class in a way no other candidate can or will.
Yesterday Robert Reich came in on the same theme from the left in the Christian Science Monitor, examining the appeal of Trump and Bernie Sanders:
Yet as enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to build within each party, the political establishment is mystified.
Political insiders don’t see that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a revolt against the “ruling class” of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades.
So far so good, except that Reich naturally has the cause of the ruling class problem exactly backward. Consider this paragraph:
In 1964, Americans agreed by 64% to 29% that government was run for the benefit of all the people. By 2012, the response had reversed, with voters saying by 79% to 19% that government was “run by a few big interests looking after themselves.”
So what happened between 1964 and today? Government got a lot bigger, and does a lot more things. (Incompetently and destructively, needless to say.) Reich fancies himself an economist of sorts. Gee—I wonder if there is come kind of correlation here between the growth of the size and reach of government and public attitudes about it?
And what is Reich’s solution? More government, of course, in the form of higher taxes, more redistribution and more regulation. And more Washington insiders to run the show. Is it some weird coincidence that something like seven of the top ten highest income counties in the nation are clustered around Washington DC? And somehow Reich thinks creating more power for rulers will tame the ruling class? Methinks he needs a new term: the ruling clueless. (By the way, if you invite Reich to speak, he commands a $40,000 speaking fee and two first class airline tickets for himself and his baggage handler. When Reich talks about income inequality, I believe him! He is indeed an expert.)
This is simple: the way to get rid of corruption in high places is to get rid of high places.