We have repeatedly quoted Victor Fuchs of Stanford’s 1976 honest assertion that a “most effective” way to build “allegiance to the state is through national health insurance.” The Democrats seek to marry the rest of society to its national elite, and to make the entire middle class what nearly half the country already is: government-dependent.
Democrats want to remake the United States into a top-down social democracy. And they are making great progress. Look at the graph above. It shows that we now have as many government dependents as full-time workers.
Terence P. Jeffrey, at the conservative “CNS News,” provides similar, even more dramatic figures:
Americans who were recipients of means-tested government benefits in 2011 outnumbered year-round full-time workers, according to data released [in October] by the Census Bureau. . . There were 108,592,000 people in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2011 who were recipients of one or more means-tested government benefit programs, the Census Bureau said[, alongside] 101,716,000 people who worked full-time year round in 2011. That included both private-sector and government workers. That means there were about 1.07 people getting some form of means-tested government benefit for every 1 person working full-time year round.Jeffrey notes his 108,592,000 figure for those receiving benefits does not include people funded solely by non-means-tested government programs such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, and non-means-tested veterans compensation.
Robert Samuelson at the Washington Post adds the entitlement population into his picture of how government has wrapped itself around the bulk of voters, even before Obamacare goes into full effect. According to Samuelson’s figures, the largest entitlement programs in 2012, ranked by the number of recipients, are:
1. Medicaid/CHIP*: 63.2 million
2. Social Security: 55.8 million
3. Medicare: 49.9 million
4. Food Stamps: 46.6 million
5. Child Nutrition: 35 million
6. College Loans: 11.3 million
7. Unemployment Insurance: 8.9 million
8. Supplemental Security Income*: 7.9 million
9. Veterans Compensation: 3.8 million
10. Civil Service Retirement: 2.5 million
11. Military Retirement: 2.2 million
12. Farm Subsidies: 1.3 million
*CHIP stands for "Children's Health Insurance Program," mostly subsidized school meals. "Supplemental Security Income" aids the aged, blind and disabled.
Samuelson’s list contains overlap: most Medicare recipients receive Social Security, and some unemployed get food stamps. But Samuelson still finds that after eliminating double counting, about half of U.S. households receive some federal benefit.
They say a “gaffe” is a candid truth better left hidden. And so it was with Romney’s infamous quote that “47%” of us “are dependent upon government.” Romney was right, and is right until Obamacare raises the dependency percentage even higher.
Have the Democrats, then, won permanent control over the country’s hoi polloi? Not yet, because there’s another trend cutting sharply against the centralized state Democrats love and worship.
Truth #2: The top-down, big government model is so yesterday.
Scott Rasmussen, the former pollster whose views are informed by continuous re-examination of popular thinking, writes about how our post-industrial citizenry is undermining centralized control:
[Leaders] in Washington are frustrated by the public distrust. They dream of public relations programs to overcome it. What is needed, though, is for the government to change its behavior, so that it can earn the trust of the people it serves.More recently, Rasmussen added that change began
in the 1970s with the launch of cable television networks. That gave individuals more choices in the 1980s, and the Internet expanded those choices in the 1990s. Now we’ve reached a level of personalization powered by more than 100 million smartphones. The culture of individual choice and customization is so strong that no two of these smartphones are alike. We have different apps, music and more.
Over the past 30 years, as society has moved away from centralization, the political class has resisted. Government has grown ever more centralized. In fact, the federal government today directly controls a far larger chunk of the nation’s economy than it did just a generation. . . ago. [But] politics and government always lag . . . politicians are not thrilled with riding the new wave that disperses power away from the political class. The disconnect cannot continue. Sooner or later, the politicians will concede.Change has reached even the heart of the national elite--its capital-centered Washington Post. Listen to Washington elite journalist James Fallows on the Graham family’s separation from the newspaper it built into an opinion-shaping giant:
My first reaction to news that the family had sold the [Washington Post] is simple shock. [But] what we consider "serious" journalism has never been a viable business. Foreign reportage, serious investigative or government-accountability coverage -- functions like these have always been, in economic terms, parasites that need to ride along on some profitable host body. In the old days, that was the fat, bundled newspaper, which provided a range of information to an audience with no technological alternative. We're in the un-bundled era now, and serious journalism has been looking for new host bodies -- much as higher education, museums, the fine arts, etc have also needed support beyond what the flat-out market would provide.“Serious journalism,” along with “higher education, museums, the fine arts,” all “looking for new host bodies”? “Host bodies” indeed! What a graphic euphemism for big government! The storm of change is raging, and the media-academic-nonprofit-entertainment/arts elites are all looking for more taxpayer support, nicely delivered via Democratic Party-run government.
We are far from the days when “progressive” and “liberal” actually meant “progressive” and “liberal.” Here is Kurt Schlichter, at the conservative website “Townhall,” saying of the late Andrew Breitbart, the right wing’s answer to provocateur Michael Moore:
Andrew was born and raised a liberal. He stopped being a liberal precisely because he believed in the things that liberals claimed they believed in – that all individuals should be treated with respect regardless of race or creed, that they should have a voice in their government, that civil [liberties] matter, and that hypocrisy is wrong. It was his epiphany that liberals actually believe the opposite of what they preach that drove him out of the liberal camp. His incredible honesty and his refusal to accept the snobbery and lies that characterize liberalism made him liberalism’s Public Enemy Number One.Ruben Navarrette, on CNN.com, spoke with dismay about where mainstream journalism’s support for centralized authority has taken it today:
once we sanitize the news, or manipulate it to serve an agenda, it's no longer news. It's public relations. Or worse. Think of it as nanny journalism. Too many people in my profession have strayed from the mission of reporting what happened. . . to massaging what happened in order to advance some greater societal good. And when journalists. . . impersonate social workers, we ask for trouble.But less trouble, now that the mainstream media no longer remains the force it once was, as the central government it so faithfully supports continues bucking inevitable tides of change.