Monday, April 16, 2007

Welfare Great-Grandmothers

Okay, so everybody hates big government spending, right? Mostly because they will spend $176 million to telling High School kids not to fuck, find out that High School kids are still fucking, and claim the program was a success because it got the message out! Or they will spend a fortune over several decades on a Drug War that will never succeed and decide to use that model for a war on immigrants that will also never succeed! Or...

You get the point. And I criticize it too. But, I'm also quite willing to question my own beliefs.

So, according to the Christian Science Monitor, 52.6% of Americans recieve significant income from government programs, even after the Reagan Revolution and the Clinton War on Giving. So, what gives? Social Security mostly. And the article includes this line:

"New Deal programs persist," despite the Reagan revolution and its aftermath, says James Galbraith, an economist at the University of Texas in Austin. "They persist because they are largely successful and highly popular."

Okay, then. So what's the problem?


The Pagan Temple said...

The problem is, almost everybody benefits in one way or another from government spending, in ways they don't realize to a great extent. It's programs that benefit everybody else but them they object to.

This was the reason for the Clinton tax increase in 2004 that lead to the Republican take-over of Congress that year.

That was not the original plan. The original plan was to cut spending across the board, in order to cut the deficit. Al Gore was put in charge of it.

But when the plans were released, everybody objected. Government employees unions were among the loudest and most vociferous protestors, but they weren't alone. Everybody objected.

On to Plan B. If no one will support spending cuts, then the only way to bring the deficit in line was to raise taxes. Alan Greenspan pressured Clinton into this, otherwise he informed him he could not possibly keep interest rates low. So Clinton went along, he had no choice, unless he preferred double digit interest rates.

It was a choice of one of the two, it just turned out that it was easier to get support for raising taxes than it was to get support for across the board spending cuts.

Rufus said...

The joke back in the 1950s was about the man who would drive down the nicely paved roads, park under the street light, walk down the sidewalk to the public library, run into his friend, and complain about government spending.