The Men (Women and Children) Behind the Curtain

By , April 11, 2011 8:10 am

Or as Pogo might say,

Today in The Washington Post,
Robert Samuelson writes,

We in America have [elected a] suicidal [president]; the threatened federal shutdown and stubborn budget deficits are but symptoms. By suicidal, I mean that [president] has promised more than [he] can realistically deliver and, as a result, repeatedly disappoints by providing less than people expect or jeopardizing what they already have.

Okay, so I changed a few things, the word president for the word government, for example. Or the word elected for the word created. But Samuelson could have written what I’ve posted and still have been right. Right?

Anyway, he actually says that our suicidal government is so in part because

[We] depend on it for so much that any effort to change the status arouses a firestorm of opposition that virtually ensures defeat.

Why is that? Surprise of surprises, because

The Census Bureau reports that in 2009 almost half (46.2 percent) of the 300 million Americans received at least one federal benefit: 46.5 million, Social Security; 42.6 million, Medicare; 42.4 million, Medicaid; 36.1 million, food stamps; 3.2 million, veterans’ benefits; 12.4 million, housing subsidies. The census list doesn’t include tax breaks. Counting those, perhaps three-quarters or more of Americans receive some sizable government benefit. For example, about 22 percent of taxpayers benefit from the home mortgage interest deduction and 43 percent from the preferential treatment of employer-provided health insurance, says the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Kind of makes you lose hope that things are going to change.

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