Sunday, November 30, 2003

Small Government

It should be at least a little amusing to note that the apex of the era of small government was right at the end of Clinton's second term.

Too many analyses of the future of our government ignore the point I keep hammering on - that the changing demographics of voters ensure that old people at least will get all the government goodies they want. The one government program which will likely take a hit, both from the feds and state/local, will be public education. Current research demonstrates that while elderly people won't necessarily vote against funding education for other peoples' children, there are two big exceptions to this. The first is that cross-cohort racial heterogeneity has a giant impact on the willingness of old people to fund education. That is, old white people living in communities with young brown people will consistently vote against money for the local schools. The second is when old people migrate -- if they retire and move to new places they aren't into spending money on the natives.