I didn’t catch this until after I posted previously about parasitic Red States — Paul Krugman is on point:
Rick Santorum declares that President Obama is getting America hooked on “the narcotic of dependency.” Mr. Romney warns that government programs “foster passivity and sloth.” Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, requires that staffers read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” in which heroic capitalists struggle against the “moochers” trying to steal their totally deserved wealth, a struggle the heroes win by withdrawing their productive effort and giving interminable speeches.
Many readers of The Times were, therefore, surprised to learn, from an excellent article published last weekend, that the regions of America most hooked on Mr. Santorum’s narcotic — the regions in which government programs account for the largest share of personal income — are precisely the regions electing those severe conservatives. Wasn’t Red America supposed to be the land of traditional values, where people don’t eat Thai food and don’t rely on handouts?
The article referenced by the columnist is:
For my part, I point out these things to underline the hypocrisy of the right-wing position and to puzzle about why people vote against their own self interests.
I know why these states receive more than they pay out in tax dollars — they are poorer than the other states. I really don’t begrudge them the safety net that they pay into as individuals (despite my hyperbolic suggestion at the end of the last post).
Now, there’s no mystery about red-state reliance on government programs. These states are relatively poor, which means both that people have fewer sources of income other than safety-net programs and that more of them qualify for “means-tested” programs such as Medicaid.
But he also shares my confusion as to why people continue to vote for people who will screw them into poverty.
He offers three explanations:
1. The GOP exploits social issues like gay marriage, abortion and religion to whip people up.
2. The wealthy in red states tend to be very socially conservative, while the blue state affluent are socially liberal. These two groups drive the debate in their respective states.
3. Red state beneficiaries do not understand their place in the system, frequently stating in polls that they don’t benefit from the Federal government while at the same time receiving Medicaid/Medicare, Social Security, Welfare and Unemployment.
Regardless of the forces at work, the outcome is that a bunch of people are railing to end policies that they themselves benefit from; simply because they think these programs are only provided for the idle poor.
As stated in my previous post and as study after study has found, the beneficiaries of these programs are overwhelmingly elderly, poor and working folks who have paid into the system.
But with the economy starting to recover, unemployment slowly diminishing, and no ideas of their own to run on, Republicans are desperate for a boogeyman.
Like Reagan’s non-existent “Welfare Queens” of the 1980’s, the GOP needs a boogeyman to run against, and the strawman caricature of the secret Muslim socialist president has played out for most voters.
- Self-Reliant Moocher Hypocrites (legalplanet.wordpress.com)
A nice long dissection of Rand’s Atlas Shrugged by Libertarian and Science Fiction writer David Brin:
His take on Randians:
The film then resumed a level of simplistic lapel-grabbing that many of us recall from our Rand-obsessed college friends — underachievers who kept grumbling from their sheltered, coddled lives, utterly convinced that they’d do much better in a world of dog-eat-dog. (Using my sf’nal powers, I have checked-out all the nearby parallel worlds where that happened; in those realms, every Randian I know was quickly turned into a slave or dog food. Sorry fellows.)
I can’t wait until Brin takes on “Avatar” which he has promised in the near future.
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