Obama’s goal: make the middle-class dependent on government

| February 24 2012
Christopher Cook

Several days ago, we posted an excerpt of a profoundly disturbing article titled “Creating the Unbounded State.” It begins . . .

How can the centralized State accumulate unlimited power, while still retaining the outward form of a democracy?  This question has been the obsession of the American Left for over a century.  The answer lies in subduing the middle class, which is always the deadly enemy of statism.  Middle class voters have the numbers to secure electoral victory, coupled with an appreciation for the value of capital.  They are sensitive to collapsing stock values, rising consumer prices, high unemployment, and the other typical consequences of decayed economic freedom.

To subdue the middle class, it must be made dependent upon the State.  Middle class voters must, at some critical juncture, voluntarily relinquish a terminal amount of their economic freedom.  The trick is keeping them quiet while the State passes the event horizon of growth.

As it turns out, that plan has had no greater friend than Barack Obama. In Welfare state should not be a middle-class subsidy, Conn Carroll provides a disturbing list of proofs that Obama is in the process of implementing exactly the plan laid out above:

Basically, the safety net is the same, but more people are falling into it,” Krugman said.

This is just plain false. One of Obama’s first acts as president was to expand eligibility for Medicaid’s State Children Health Insurance Program.

Medicaid enrollment has grown by more than 3 million since then, helping to increase Medicaid spending by more than $23 billion in just three years (see Table 11.2).

And Obama expanded Medicaid eligibility even further, all the way up to 138 percent of poverty, through Obamacare. As a result, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid predicts an estimated 25 million more Americans will be enrolled in the program by 2020.

Obama has also greatly expanded unemployment compensation eligibility. Before he was president, most states only offered 26 weeks of benefits. Now the many unemployed can get checks for 99 weeks —that is almost two years’ worth of benefits.

Food stamp allowances were also liberally expanded under Obama’s stimulus. According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, between 2008 and 2011, food stamp spending nearly doubled from $39.3 billion to $75.3 billion.

Carroll goes on to discuss how the poorest income quintile is no longer the recipient of the majority of transfer payments. The takeaway is clear: The middle-calss is becoming increasingly dependent on government.

Given the centrality of this strategy to the left, and given that Obama is arguably well to the left of any previous presidents, it is increasingly hard to see this development as either coincidental or unintentional.

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