Half of US social program recipients believe they "have not used a government social program"
Cory Doctorow at 10:48 AM Friday, Jul 8, 2011
"Reconstituting the Submerged State: The Challenges of Social Policy Reform in the Obama Era," a paper by Cornell's Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions Suzanne Mettler features this remarkable chart showing that about half of American social program beneficiaries believe that they "have not used a government social program." It's the "Keep your government hands off my Medicare" phenomena writ large: a society of people who subsist on mutual aid and redistributive policies who've been conned (and conned themselves) into thinking that they are rugged individualists and that everyone else is a parasite.
Reconstituting the Submerged State: The Challenges of Social Policy Reform in the Obama Era (PDF) (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
• Tags: commonweal, economics, government, mutual aid, policy, tea party
These programs are hardly equivalent to each other: a person taking a student loan pays it back with interest; people contributing on a regular basis towards their anticipated social security benefits and disability, and people getting a tax credit are having less of the money that belongs to them appropriated by the government. This is in contrast to programs like food stamps and welfare that require little or nothing from the recipient (other than a perennial willingness to pull the voting lever for the politicians who ensure the entitlements). Whether that is good social policy can surely be debated. However, is it right to compare the returning veteran being educated on the G.I. bill with the third-generation on the dole?
Comment #8, at the bottom of what I posted (click the link if you want to read them all) got me to wondering -- what percentage of recipients of things like Welfare vote? What percentage are eligible to vote? I offered various acquaintances of mine rides to polling places when I was on Food Stamps and got turned down every time b/c they "didn't vote" -- these were often the hard-core "gotta get preggers, the AFDC's gonna run out" sorts while my goal was to get OFF the dole, but still....