October 25, 2013

Sorry about this lengthy post, but there is a lot going on.  With ‎the travesty of the government shutdown and the debacle of the Obamacare rollout, there is one piece of bad news that readers may have missed.

‎Using data from the Census Bureau, CNS News reports that 49 percent of Americans received benefits “from one or more government programs” in the fourth quarter of 2011.  I don’t know if this is the highest ever, but see the data that CNS News compiled for a breakdown of how many people get what government benefits.

The bottom line is that on President Obama’s watch, Americans’ dependency is up and independence is down. Admittedly, a few recipients of federal benefits may also be taxpayers, but nonetheless it is safe to say that in America, never have so many been dependent on so few. Remember, the top 3 percent of American earners (those earning more than $200,000 annually) pay 47 percent of the total taxes generated by the government.

This phenomenon leads us to some obvious political conclusions. It stands to reason that those who are dependent on government tend to vote to defend their dependency. Well, who promises the most welfare, handouts and government jobs, Republicans or Democrats? That’s an easy one. And this is before the Obamacare subsidies kick in and create a new category of dependents.

When will we reach a tipping point?  Since Obama’s low-growth policies create very few jobs, the Obama welfare state steps in and offers multiple types of benefits from Washington.  And who can say no when you don’t have a job or even the prospect of getting a job?  The Obama economy is a self-perpetuating, Democratic voter-breeding machine‎.
So what should Republicans do? I feel like a broken record saying that we need an alternative plan to Obamacare, but the issue is actually more urgent than just the future of our country’s health-care system.  The GOP doesn’t get any credit for having real plans to stop the accelerating dependency culture that will doom the Republican Party if left unchecked.

Voters are not stupid. They see the folly of Obamacare, they see the Democrats shutting down manufacturing in America to satisfy environmentalists, being anti-business to keep the unions mollified and leaving the rest of the economy at the mercy of their allies the trial lawyers — but at least the Democrats offer welfare. Republicans, on the other hand, have slogans about growth and a host of half-measures they can’t implement in a divided government. Voters believe the GOP celebrates the economics of outsourcing, which ships American jobs overseas. They observe all this, and many reasonably think the Democrats’ welfare offer sounds better than the lack of any plan from the Republicans. Sorry for the heavy dose of cynicism on a Friday, but as I always say: Give me the bad news; good news has a way of taking care of itself.

We need to remember that the broken Obama presidency won’t automatically elect Republicans.  The GOP can gloat about the disaster that is Obamacare, but that is not very flattering for long. Republicans can say, “I told you so,” but that doesn’t really help anybody. Even if the Obama presidency is over, the spiraling trajectory toward dependency and the voter behavior it creates have already been put in place. If Republicans aren’t viewed as credible, as having a better offer and as providing solutions for America’s problems, then we should not be surprised when voters, especially younger voters, stick with the Democrats.

 

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.