Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently revealed that the government sends out 80 million checks a month. That’s a lotta dependency. Add in spouses and others who are also dependent on those checks, and you have a lot of slaves on the government’s plantation. Could a citizen 100 years ago have imagined such a monster?
This is why there aren’t going to be meaningful cuts to the government until there is some form of collapse. Mess with the checks going out and you’ll have a problem on your hands. Thus your conservative Congressman talks about a meaningless balanced budget amendment, as if Congress is going to pay any more attention to that than they do the rest of the Constitution. He proposes a 1% cut in year one (the only year that matters in the budget) when a 60% cut is needed (for starters). He supports a gimmicky non-solution. This is the path that wins elections in conservative districts. If you think most conservative voters support a small government in practice, just try to cut off their government checks.
As this article puts it:
The intellectual purpose of the entitlement state – conditioning people over generations toward dependency with vows to loot future taxpayers to maintain the system – has worked perfectly… The welfare state has won over all of society. It has succeeded in making the entire culture dependent on it. Middle class conservatives condemn welfarism even as they clamor for better public schools, apply for student loans for their kids, hold jealously onto their Medicare and Social Security benefits, accept unemployment checks when they’re expedient, and resist any talk about cutting back the government’s support for its police and soldiers. Liberals today say they are realists on welfare but never cease to agitate for more ways to put us all on the dole. As we find ourselves in the wake of fiscal catastrophe, we must recognize that only a tiny portion of government expenditures go to the easy targets – the earmarks, the welfare mothers, the roads to nowhere, the Woodstock museums, the funding to study bird migrations, even the salaries of bailed out CEOs. America is, despite the conservative and liberal propaganda to the contrary, essentially as much a welfare state as most other nations of the West, and the hugest chunk of the entitlement expenditures are going not to the easily scapegoated classes, but rather to the respectable masses.