According to a provocative column by Glenn Reynolds in USA Today, the number of millionaires in France declined by 10,000 last year. Some American cities are also seeing millionaire flight: Chicago is reportedly losing more than any other city. Meanwhile the University of Missouri just closed two more dorms because of falling enrollment. Two had previously closed.
What do these things have in common? The consequences of giving in to leftist demands, instead of focusing on the basics.
Most people want some pretty basic things from the powers-that-be: Safety, freedom of movement and the opportunity to get ahead. Where these things prevail, people tend to be pretty happy. Where they don’t, people tend to be less so — and to vote with their feet when they have the opportunity.
France drastically raised taxes under socialist Francois Hollande, even though the government seems less able to provide protection against crime and terrorism. Most citoyens can't pack up and leave. But millionaires often can.
Chicago also has raised taxes to support a greedy and bloated public sector. Crime, meanwhile, is on the upswing. People don't feel safe and many who can seem to be leaving for places where they can feel safe and also control more of their own resources.
If Hollande or Emanuel could maintain peaceful, prosperous polities, perhaps people would forgive the high taxes. But, as so often seems to be the case, their citizens see themselves paying higher and higher taxes to support a government that fails to deliver on its most basic function of maintaining public order. Unsurprisingly, that feels like a bad deal.
The University of Missouri's declining enrollment also seems to stem from acceding to the demands of the left. The university allowed student demonstrators to shut down the campus and acceded to demands to remove certain administrators. Journalism professor Melissa Click was even charged with assault for trying to have a student journalist muscled out of the protests. As with taxes, tuition is going up. Who would want to pay a higher tuition to attend such a school?
Both Bernie Sanders are Hillary Clinton want to raise taxes, but they should heed the lessons of France, Chicago, and Mizzou. Reynolds concludes:
When the people who pay taxes, and thus provide government revenue, leave, you’re left with the people who consume government revenue. But it gets harder and harder to pay the benefits without the taxpayers or students who provide the money.
All over the world, leaders have been busier satisfying noisy constituencies than addressing the basic requirements of their jobs. Now the noisy constituencies remain noisy, and everything else is going downhill. Maybe it’s time for a change in emphasis.
Tell that to the fabulists who are running for the Democratic nomination.