That brings me to the hypocrisy. While Democrats support social benefits in a wishy-washy way, conservatives are absolutely obsessed with directing huge monetary benefits to their favored constituencies — namely, the rich.
George W. Bush’s tax cuts were violently skewed towards the wealthy — over 73 percent of the benefits went to the top income quintile, and fully 30 percent to 1 percenters alone. Jeb Bush aims to pull the same trick, proposing another corpulent set of tax breaks — only this time, over half of the benefits would accrue to the top 1 percent alone. You can’t win an election solely with the support of billionaires, of course, but Bush and his allies have also already raised over $120 million. Not, one suspects, a coincidence.
Overall, welfare benefits for the top income quintile — largely a result of conservative policymaking — cost roughly $355 billion yearly. Meanwhile, what passes for new policy in Republican circles — a child tax credit — is a government benefit for middle- and upper-class parents that carefully and deliberately excludes the poor.