I loved runnybun's post "How Do We Create Happy Warriors?" He sought advice for how to deal with relatives who get a bit too worked up over the current political climate, at the expense of rational thought or balance.
This Byron York climate on why conservatives are worried about the upcoming election, it made me sympathize much more with people who think the stakes are ominously high. It's a sobering read. He explains that conservatives are worried about trillion-plus federal deficits, ballooning national debt, Obamacare leading to single-payer federal health care, a Justice Department that will crush state initiatives, wasted spending on fraudulent green energy programs and the thwarting of entitlement reform efforts.
But, he says, they have an even bigger concern. They worry that two terms of Obama (following two terms of Bush) will lead to more Americans dependent on the government than ever before.
He gives three examples.
- On July 12, Obama moved to remove the work requirement in the 1996 welfare reform law -- the heart of that reform, actually.
- Obama has moved to increase the number of Americans on food stamps. When Bush took office, there were 17 million Americans on them. There are 46 million today. Some two-thirds of the Agriculture Department budget goes to welfare and food stamp programs. And they just moved to encourage legal and illegal immigrants to enroll for food stamps.
- A key purpose of Obamacare is to increase how many Americans are on Medicaid, the federal program for the poor.
More people on welfare, food stamps, Medicaid; that has been the trend under the first Obama administration and most certainly would be the trend, perhaps an accelerated trend, under a second Obama term. The economic downturn undoubtedly meant that more people would receive temporary government assistance, but the effect of Obama’s policies has been to expand dependence far beyond that.
We're reminded of Julia, the Obama campaign messenger of how awesome government involvement in your life is. Conservatives scoffed but it was a great way of understanding the goal of liberal governance, York says:
And if the president is re-elected, Obama’s expanded nanny state will be here to stay. As the administration well knows, once the government confers benefits on citizens, withdrawing those benefits can be enormously unpopular, a move few politicians will wish to risk.
So in four more years, Barack Obama could make great strides toward the goal of making more and more Americans dependent on government. Yes, issues like debt and deficits are important. But dependency could be the biggest issue of all on the ballot this November.
This is all a long way of saying that those people I know who seem really freaked out by the possibility that Obama wins a second term are people who are worried about exactly the thing York explains. Increased dependency looks to some like a marginal change. To others, it's a fundamental change about the nature of our country and what makes her great.
This is their reason for caring so much about the election.
Which, of course, leads to another question. What is so important to you about the election? How would you describe it? And how does it affect your voting and other political activity at the local, state and national election?