Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Why do so many people vote for the Democrat party?

ECM sent me this article from National Review that explains why so many people vote Democrat.

Excerpt:

First, we should recognize that the War on Poverty is now a huge budget item. According to calculations by the Congressional Research Service and the Senate Budget Committee, taxpayers coughed up over $1 trillion in federal and state-provided benefits in 2011. These benefits flow to tens of millions of voters and cover the waterfront, offering low-income Americans everything from cash assistance to food, housing, and medical care, not to mention help with education, transportation, home-heating costs, and child care. Spending on these programs has soared more than 40 percent since 2007. That’s an unsustainable trajectory.

Then we get some facts from a Wall Street Journal article on the topic:

  • The percentage of the American labor force drawing disability benefits from the government has doubled since 1992, from 3 percent to 6 percent. They further note: “The number of workers qualifying for disability since the recession ended in 2009 has grown twice as fast as private employment.”
  • During the last four years, the Obama administration’s aggressive promotion of the food-stamp program has increased the number of recipients by 18.5 million.
  • Unemployment insurance that lasted no longer than 55 weeks in 1980 and 72 weeks in 1992 now can last 99 weeks. Some 40 percent of unemployed workers have been out of work for more than half a year.

And how does it affect voting?:

The Battleground Polls conducted by the Tarrance Group on behalf of George Washington University and Politico make this level of detail readily available. The poll helpfully divides its sample of likely voters into, among other things, those who self-identify as either “low income” or “middle class.”

So, what do we know about these voters?

  • Those who self-identify as “low income” are more likely to be unemployed, frustrated over the state of the economy, and pessimistic over the general direction of our country than are those with higher incomes. Yet the Battleground Poll indicates they are more Why do people likely than those who identify as middle class to believe the country is heading in the right direction (42 percent vs. 35 percent).
  • Do welfare benefits insulate these voters from the sort of economic concerns that plague middle-class voters? Apparently so. Compared with their middle-class counterparts, far fewer low-income voters cite pocketbook issues as their number-one concern (53 percent vs.74 percent). Middle-class voters are, almost by definition, far more likely to pay taxes than low-income voters. Unsurprisingly, they are much more likely to list the economy and the level of spending and deficits as their most important concern (28 percent and 17 percent, respectively) than low-income Americans. Among the latter group, only 20 percent say the economy is most important, and a mere 7 percent worry about spending and deficits. Again, this is not surprising, considering that, for most low-income Americans, government benefits come with no strings attached, and at little or no cost in taxes.
  • In contrast, low-income Americans cite Medicare, Social Security, and education benefits as their number-one issue (29 percent in all) more than twice as frequently as do middle-class voters (only 13 percent).
  • If the receipt of welfare benefits affects voters’ views of the economy and alters the equation they use to judge candidates, one would expect them to give the president high marks for how he has handled the most stagnant and underperforming economy in over half a century. And, indeed, that is the case. By a margin of 51 percent to 37 percent low-income voters prefer Obama over Romney on this measure. They prefer Obama by an even more lopsided margin, 55 percent to 37 percent, on the issue of jobs. In contrast, Romney wins big among middle-class voters on these concerns (56 percent to 41 percent on handling the economy, and 54 percent to 43 percent on jobs).

These people aren’t voting for any high and noble reason. They want money. It’s just greed. Greed is why people vote Democrat.

Elusive Wapiti adds:

It makes sense, really. The 47% vote their pocketbook too… the issue comes from the pocketbook being oriented in the opposite direction. Government largesse fills their wallet, whilst draining the bankbooks of the 53%. They are the “zero liability” voter; they are insulated from the costs of the programs and candidates they vote for… but they are understandably quite concerned with ensuring the payouts continue.

You need to get out there today and vote for Mitt Romney to stop the downward spiral into dependency and bankruptcy that we can see in countries like Greece, Spain and Italy. We can see it happening over there, don’t let it happen here.

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Half of all Americans live in households that get government handouts

From the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

49.1%: Percent of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011.

Cutting government spending is no easy task, and it’s made more complicated by recent Census Bureau data showing that nearly half of the people in the U.S. live in a household that receives at least one government benefit, and many likely received more than one.

The 49.1% of the population in a household that gets benefits is up from 30% in the early 1980s and 44.4% as recently as the third quarter of 2008.

[...] As of early 2011, 15% of people lived in a household that received food stamps, 26% had someone enrolled in Medicaid and 2% had a member receiving unemployment benefits. Families doubling up to save money or pool expenses also is likely leading to more multigenerational households. But even without the effects of the recession, there would be a larger reliance on government.

The Census data show that 16% of the population lives in a household where at least one member receives Social Security and 15% receive or live with someone who gets Medicare. There is likely a lot of overlap, since Social Security and Medicare tend to go hand in hand, but those percentages also are likely to increase as the Baby Boom generation ages.

[...]The more people who receive benefits, the harder it’s going to be to make cuts, and it’s never popular to raise taxes. In some respects that argues for letting a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that is set to automatically hit in 2013 take effect. There’s just one problem: the Congressional Budget Office says it would sink the economy into recession.

All of this dependence on the government is not good for us. How can we compete with the rest of the world when we just sitting around borrowing money from our kids and spending it?

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Why social conservatives should support free market capitalism

The free enterprise system should not be adopted simply because it is the best system for creating wealth. The best reason to support free market capitalism is a moral reason. Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, and a Christian, describes the moral argument for free market capitalism.

Excerpt:

It might seem that the best case for free enterprise is the material one. Free enterprise lets people make more money, buy more and nicer stuff, and have a greater degree of comfort. The freer our economy is, the more competitive the US economy is vis-à-vis the rest of the world. And so on.

But these aren’t our best arguments. There is another reason, a transcendent reason, for which free enterprise matters most—and this is the case we all must be able to make today.

We all learned early on in school that the Declaration of Independence claimed for each of us the unalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Note that the founders didn’t assert a right to be happy; such is the domain of tinpots and crackpots, of 1984’s “Ministry of Plenty” and Josef Stalin’s aggrandizing self-description as the Soviet Union’s “Constructor of Happiness.” So what, in practice, does this right to pursue happiness mean?

It means the right to define and earn our happiness through our ideas, hard work, and gumption, to earn our success by creating value honestly, in our own lives and in the lives of others. It doesn’t mean the pursuit of a big lottery win or an inheritance. Those bring money, but not happiness. And a mountain of evidence shows that after a fairly low threshold, more money doesn’t make us happier. The best case for free enterprise has nothing at all to do with money or material goods or wealth. Those are just icing on the cake. We must stop talking about free enterprise as just an engine of wealth creation. It’s much more than that.

In short, the secret to the pursuit of happiness is earning our own success; creating value with our lives and in the lives of others. This earned success is the fruit of hard work and just rewards in a system built on merit. Only in a free enterprise system is effort and innovation rewarded over connections and predation. (And this means that we have to draw a distinction between free enterprise, which is based on opportunity and competition between ideas, and corporate cronyism, which is just another form of statism masquerading as free enterprise.)

Here are 3 reasons why I think that social conservatives should support free market capitalism.

1) Right to work

It’s very important for Christians to have an economic system in place that allows them to work without having to promote anti-Christians ideas. But when government gets too big, what happens is that Christians are no longer free to take any job they want, and still keep a clear conscience. In some states, you have to join a union which uses your union dues to elect Democrats, who very often are liberal on social issues. Or, you have big government forcing Christians to perform abortions against their consciences. Or, you have big government forcing Christian organizations to provide health insurance plans that cover abortions and contraceptives. That’s why Christians need to vote against big government regulations on employment – we need the freedom to work at a job that does not violate our consciences.

2) Right to earn

It’s very important for Christians to keep what they earn so that they have the maximum amount of money to make decisions that make sense for them, according to their consciences. Take the example of day care and education. The big government statist is constantly trying to to create more and more government-run day care and public schools. Why? They want to take money away from families so that they cannot afford individualized private and parochial schools, and lump them all into government run schools that are more “equal”. The problem is that this is bad for Christians who want more oversight into what their children learn. For example, what sense does it make for a Christian man to pay for day care and public schools when he marries a teacher who becomes a stay at home homeschooling mother for his children? He has to pay for day care and public schools he will never use, and it eats into the money he has to afford a stay-at-home homeschooling mom. Christians should oppose a day care and education system run by a secular leftist government. They will never reflect the values of Christian parents.

3) Right to spend

It’s very important for Christians to have the freedom to purchase products and services that make sense in their worldview. Take the example of health care. Secular leftists would love to force private medical insurance companies to cover things like abortion and contraception as health care. In some states, these things are specified as mandatory for every health care plan. That means that Christians who purchase health care are being forced to pay for services like abortion which they will never use themselves. This is nothing more than the redistribution of wealth in order to lower the cost of abortions for people, in order to encourage them to be sexually active before they are able to accommodate children. Christians need to oppose this – we do not want to have to pay for things that go against our consciences.

So, in addition to the reasons that Brooks mentioned (the happiness of earning your own way and serving others), it’s important for Christians to understand how free market capitalism fits into their plans. We do not want to support big government, especially when big government so often is not compatible with Judeo-Christian values. In the free market, it is much harder for ALL the businesses to conspire together to block Christians from working, earning and spending according to their consciences. We must resist top-down control of the free market so that we have the liberty to do what we ought to do in order to be virtuous.

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