My all-time most-viewed blog post wasn’t the parable about beer and the tax system.
Nor was it the joke about California, Texas, and the Coyote.
Those won the silver and bronze trophies. The gold medal belongs to the two pictures that explain how the welfare state begins and how it ends.
Those images make a very serious point that the social capital of a nation gets eroded and the economy gets overburdened when there are too many people riding in the wagon and not enough people pulling the wagon.
And I’ve been especially fond of the wagon cartoons because they were my idea.
Unfortunately, I can no longer claim to be the first one to explain this relationship using humor.
I’m currently in Copenhagen, where I just gave a speech on the collapse of the welfare state at the Center for Politiske Studier (CEPOS). While at the CEPOS offices, I noticed a big print hanging on the wall and it was eerily familiar.
One of Denmark’s main newspapers put together this cartoon, based on CEPOS research, about the growing share of the population living off the state. It shows a boat of galley slaves (i.e., taxpayers) towing a party boat filled with people (like the infamous Lazy Robert) who live off the state.