Promises and Riots
by Thomas Sowell
Economists are the real “party of No.” They keep saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch – and politicians keep on getting elected by promising free lunches.
Such promises may seem to be kept, for a while. There are ways the government can juggle money around to make everything look OK, but it is only a matter of time before that money runs out and the ultimate reality hits, that there is no free lunch.
We are currently seeing what happens, in fierce riots raging in various countries in Europe, when the money runs out and the brutal truth is finally revealed, that there is no free lunch.
You cannot have generous welfare state laws that allow people to retire on government pensions while they are in their 50s, in an era when most people live decades longer.
In the United States, that kind of generosity exists mostly for members of state government employees’ unions – which is why some states are running out of money, and why the Obama administration is bailing them out, in the name of “stimulus.”
Once you buy the idea that the government should be a sort of year-around Santa Claus, you have bought the kinds of consequences that follow.