Americans love the safety net; they just don't know it

One of the central, driving questions in our politics is this: Why are people who are themselves reliant on government programs so prone to electing anti-government politicans who want to put them on the chopping block? …

Advertisement

Campaign 2012 will turn on this fundamental point. And as it happens, you can actually look at polling data to gauge whether this is true. A recent National Journal poll found that when respondents are asked about specific programs, huge majorities don’t think Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid should be cut at all to pay down the deficit. A majority even said food stamps and housing vouchers for the poor shouldn’t be cut at all, either.

An important related point is that the primary role of the safety net is changing in the wake of the Great Recession: It’s shifting from ministering to the very poor to “maintaining the middle class from from childhood to retirement.” In an election that’s expected to be about the values embedded in our fiscal priorities and the proper role of government in protecting Americans against the vagaries of the free market, this could shift the political calculus in untold ways.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos

Sponsored

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement