For the last few days the media has been blatantly obsessed with the candid videos of Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser released by Mother Jones. At this point almost everyone is aware that on the video the former Governor told a room full of wealthy donors that the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax feel entitled to everything and they will vote for Obama “no matter what.”
Although the belief that the social safety net and entitlement programs reduce innovation, eliminate individual incentives and are wholly unjust are very important to conservative fiscal ideology, the left has mass-produced self-righteous outrage at his comments.
Although the outrage on behalf of liberals has been nothing short of silly, the conservative attempt to defend Romney’s assertion that the reason the polls are so close is the effect of government dependency and welfare slavery is even more ridiculous.
As the conservative senior editor of the National Review Ramesh Ponnuru points out, many of the election trends don’t seem to correlate with those notions. Senior citizens, a demographic that benefits from entitlement programs much more than other age groups, are becoming increasingly more conservative even as spending per beneficiary has increased.
It should also be noted that even as the number of people receiving food stamps increased, the amount of low-income people who voted to help conservatives take back the house of representatives increased.
Although philosophically it does make some sense that the people who want government handouts would continue to vote for whomever promises them the most, but there is little evidence that indicates that is what is happening in the U.S. at this moment. There is definitely increasing dependency on government programs, but given the state of the economy and a rapidly aging populace it is not surprising.
It should also be noted that in theory people who receive benefits from the government should be concerned with the financial stability of that government, because they depend on those programs to some degree. This doesn’t often occur, because many people can be selfish and short-sighted, but in reality it is in the long-term self-interest of people who benefit greatly from government programs to promote limited deficit spending and fiscal responsibility.