The Young and the Economically Clueless

Daniel Arbess:

Bernie Sanders, the 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist, is surprising even himself with his primary-season success against Hillary Clinton, fueled by a staggering 83% majority of the under-30 vote in New Hampshire and 84% in the Iowa caucuses.

As this newspaper reported on Tuesday, voters in the millennial bracket, 18- to 34-year-olds, will for the first time equal the baby-boomer share of the electorate, at 31%. These young voters appear to be falling headlong for the Vermont senator’s plaintive narrative of economic “unfairness.” His throwaway prescriptions for redistributing income and wealth are being echoed by an increasingly nervous Mrs. Clinton—despite such policies’ having been jettisoned during her husband’s administration in the 1990s.

Then again, Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s vague promises that he will “make America great again” aren’t much more comforting—except to the masses of Americans responding to his populist diatribes against free trade and immigrants. He too scored well with the young in New Hampshire, though, winning 38% of the 18-29 support, more than double his closest competitor for that group, Ted Cruz, at 17%.

These young voters seem not to realize that the economic policies they find so resonant are the least likely to promote the growth and the social mobility they desire. They deserve to be lead from the discredited backwater of equalizing outcomes, forward with policies that instead help eliminate barriers frustrating their access to opportunities.