There are several lessons from the White House climbdown. One is that tax benefits, once established, are hard to get rid of. It follows that tax reform, something a majority of voters in both political parties support, will be complicated by the politics of envy. Simplification and wealth redistribution — the essence of this proposal — often go hand-in-hand.

Obama’s coalition, most of which will become Hillary Clinton’s political coalition, includes an awful lot of upper middle class voters who won’t be amenable to structural reforms that might cause them to pay more money.