Dependency Pays Off In Votes


Thomas Sowell writes that the left’s conflation of compassion with big government programs has less to do with actual compassion than vote-buying.

Although the big word on the left is “compassion,” the big agenda on the left is dependency. The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state.

Optimistic Republicans who say that widespread unemployment and record numbers of people on food stamps hurt President Obama’s re-election chances are overlooking the fact that people who are dependent on government are more likely to vote for politicians who are giving them handouts.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt understood that, back during the Great Depression of the 1930s. He was re-elected in a landslide after his first term, during which unemployment was in double digits every single month, and in some months was over 20 percent.

The time is long overdue for optimistic Republicans to understand what FDR understood long ago, and what Barack Obama clearly understands today. Dependency pays off in votes — unless somebody alerts the taxpayers who get stuck with the bill.

Earlier today I responded to criticism for conservatives on opposition to entitlements from Grand Forks Herald editor Tom Dennis pointing out that you can’t applaud the social impact of programs like Social Security while ignoring the economic cost. Today Social Security represent such an enormous transfer of wealth from young to old that younger generations may never be able to afford to accumulate the sort of savings it would take to be self-sufficient after retirement.

Yet, we’re told that pointing out this fact isn’t compassionate. Is it that it’s not compassionate? Or that it’s inconvenient, politically, to the goals of the left?

It’s true that conservatives tend to be much more generous with their own time, talent and resources than liberals. “When an empirical study of the actual behavior of American conservatives and liberals was published in 2006, it turned out that conservatives donated a larger amount of money, and a higher percentage of their incomes (which were slightly lower than liberal incomes) to philanthropic activities,” writes Sowell. “Conservatives also donated more of their time to philanthropic activities and donated far more blood than liberals.”

Yet, because conservatives oppose mandatory collective action through higher taxes that pay for ever more expansive government programs we’re not caring or compassionate.

On what planet does that make sense?

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

Related posts

  • $8194357

    Sowell nails it…
    votes have been bought by taxpayers
    money for quite some time.

  • sbark

    A lifetime of dependency is the cruelest thing a Dem’cat can do to another human being……its a 24/7 and a 365 day per year affliction………
    ….at least the Dem’cats KKK strong arm faction worked mainly only at night

  • robert108

    The Democrat Party never stopped being the party of slavery; they just extended it to all Americans.

    • $8194357

      2 tru 4 skool

    • $8194357

      Minorities, gays, feminists ect..ect..ect..
      Satelite soviet nation building out of cause and group.
      Cultural deconstructive communist social justice false morality.
      Works for unions, farmers, the elderly, any “group” they can make dependent or give “protected status” to in an Equal under the Rule of Law western culture.
      Smart ole marxists in those communist think tanks…

      Look how upset the farming community is without its “subsideized central planning program”….

  • Neiman

    I believe it was Marcus Tullius Cicero that said one politician offers the voter a sum of money if they will vote for them, the next offers more and so it goes until a society collapses from having offered more than they can deliver.

    Just as the soul fills the body, so God fills the world. Just as the soul bears the body, so God endures the world. Just as the soul sees but is not seen, so God sees but is not seen. Just as the soul feeds the body, so God gives food to the world.”



  • flamemeister

    Didn’t LBJ say that the War on Poverty legislation would guarantee the black vote for Demoncraps forever?

    • $8194357

      Sometimes they don’t denie the real agendas..

  • True Republican

    ST. PAUL – Death threats, demands to resign and other attacks have only made state Rep. Mary Franson more determined to stay in office, she says.

    A Democratic-Farmer-Laborite campaign official sent Internet links to a video clip of a recent Franson speech in Browerville in which she discusses a joke she told in March that led to statewide reaction.

    In her March YouTube video, the Alexandria Republican said more food stamps are being distributed than ever while parks officials suggest that feeding animals makes them more dependent. The Welfare Rights Committee and others on the left criticized Franson for what they said was comparing welfare recipients to animals.

    Franson repeated the story in Browerville, which drew laughter and applause.

    “You guys laugh and you guys clap, but what I got from the inside of St. Paul was completely ugly,” she said in a portion of the speech the DFL originally did not post on YouTube. “I don’t want them to be poor. I want them to be able to better their lives.”

    Franson said too many people depend on food stamps and other government payments and some would rather receive unemployment insurance than work.

    Zach Rodvold, the DFL House campaign director, said in an email that Franson’s district includes some of Minnesota’s poorest people. “A recent study showed that 21 percent of children in Todd County, where part of her district is located, are living in poverty and that 13.5 percent receive food stamps.”

    Franson indicated it was not just Democrats who caused problems after her March comments.

    “I did not get any support from my caucus,” she said of fellow House Republicans. “I was left all alone.”

  • dakotacyr

    this is so silly ! The president travels. Are you saying that all of those people must travel with him so he can go to the daily briefing, or can he be briefed in other ways?

    • RCND

      I think I know the thread you meant to comment on, and yes he can receive the brief on the road or whatever golf course he is at. He can let loose our nuclear arsenal from a porta-potty on number 8 if he has to. His entourage is supposed to contain the requisite people to provide the PDB. AF1 has secure links as well. Regarless of administration, the means have been in place to provide the CinC with the intel he needs (and the capability has gotten better with improved technology).

      All he has to do is avail himself of it, and make it a priority (as it needs to be)

  • dakotacyr

    oops, meant that comment for another thread.

    • mikemc1970

      It was all the liquor. It happens.

  • yy4u2

    The same planet where Chavez, Che, Castro, Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Marx, Wilson, and FDR found their followers.

    Where it’s ok for the OWS groupies to take over public places to defecate, do drugs, and rape people while railing against ‘the establishment’ that gave them everything including the right to be who they are but not ok when mom and pop put on some patriotic garb to wave the greatest flag while declaring they’ve had enough of govt intervention.

    The same place where it’s fine to mock a Christian or white person yet not a different ethnicity; btw don’t say anything to most atheists/agnostics/muslims or you will probably wind up in a pickle as well.

    Unfortunately it makes sense to a lot of people…that don’t have common sense. Several of them post on this site daily/weekly. Children instead of adults. The youth want change and will sidestep the normal routes to get it/make it happen. Jonah Goldberg points this out, and much more, in his book ‘Liberal Fascism.’

  • SigFan

    And that is exactly why there should be an amendment to the constitution that prohibits those that are receiving a handout at the public expense from being able to vote.

    “Once the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the Republic”
    – Benjamin Franklin

    • $8194357

      Protected status citizenship IMO is un constitutional under the Equal Rule of Law document…Article 28 as well says no legislation should be passed that doesn’t apply equally amongst all the citizenry, including the elected officles…

  • LastBestHope

    ‘We the People’

    This short piece captures my attitude about this vital election. I trust The People to do what is right for our country. If that trust is misplaced, then I have lived to see the day when America became just another European welfare society, with the current Chicago teachers “strike” an example of what our future will forever look like.

  • Random Passerby

    Any time compassion comes up in a conversation about entitlements, I will agree there is a need for compassion…but there is a sad fact of reality that math has not one whit of compassion. 1+1 cannot equal 3.

  • Harold

    Successful people have no reason to vote democrat.

  • $8194357

    And as the propaganda media remains silent about the Democrats failure to bring about a budget or anything else they are screwing up,
    the “numbers, charts and graph guys” are busy making the left appear to look
    good on paper…
    After all….
    Bush drove the economy in the ditch ya know….


    Whenever you see the monthly official unemployment rates, you have to realize that they are modified rates, not actual rates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes people that are unemployed during the week of the survey and without a job for the four previous weeks. Hence, the latest report says that 8.1% of Americans are currently unemployed.

    But that is not a real picture of what is going on in the American job market. The BLS figures do not take into account the millions of Americans that have had to take part time jobs because they have not been able to find full time work, those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and those who are so discouraged that they’ve given up looking for work.

    There is a second statistic called the Alternative Unemployment Statistic. The AUS is always higher as it counts all of the employed except for the discouraged workers who have been out of work more than a year. The current AUS figure is 14.6%.
    However, there is another even more realistic unemployment statistic that portrays a far more accurate picture of America’s job market.

    The SGS or Shadow Government Statistics encompass all of the different
    factors that deal with unemployment. The current SGS unemployment figure
    is a staggering 23%. That means that nearly 1 of every 4 Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, exhausted unemployment benefits or are so discouraged that they’ve given up looking for work.

    End quote

    So please America…
    Don’t rain on Barrys parade with real numbers and facts…

  • $8194357

    Bobby Eberle
    The presidential election is less than two months away, and there are plenty of
    issues about which the voters are unhappy and dissatisfied. More debt than any
    president in history? Yep. Class warfare and division. Sure thing. High
    unemployment and a stagnant economy? Definitely. But his racial background? Come
    on… give me a break!

    There’s nothing more frustrating than when the media
    manufacture news. Rather than letting events unfold and then reporting those
    events to the viewers or readers, some so-called “journalists” create stories
    out of thin air. In these cases, the goal is not to inform or educate, but
    rather to influence. That’s exactly what’s going on in a recent “racial bias” news story by the Associated Press.

    The headline for the story reads “Does racial bias fuel Obama foes? How to
    tell?” When I first saw this story, I didn’t even think I’d be able to get past
    the headline and keep reading. In an instant, I knew that this was a story
    designed to make the reader come to a certain conclusion: conservatives are
    racists. But, I kept going just to make sure.

    So, now I’ve moved on from the headline. What’s the opening paragraph? It’s
    one sentence that reads, “Is it because he’s black?” Ugh! Can I stop reading

    There’s so much I can write, and so far, I’ve only read the headline and
    opening “paragraph.” Of course it’s NOT because he’s black. I even get so
    frustrated that he is ONLY referred to as black. Geez… he’s as white as I am!!
    (I’m half white and half hispanic.) But, nonetheless, he’s only referred to as
    black, and that is not the reason people don’t like him.

    Are there some racists in this country? Of course. What a dumb question,
    right? I feel I’m at liberty to ask a dumb question, since this AP “reporter”
    wrote an entire dumb news story. The point is that just because humans are
    humans and have all sorts of biases, it doesn’t mean those biases are the issue.
    And it CERTAINLY doesn’t mean that conservatives are racists as the reporter
    wants you to believe.

    Here are the next two paragraphs:

    The question of whether race fuels opposition to President Barack Obama has
    become one of the most divisive topics of the election. It is sowing anger and
    frustration among conservatives who are labeled racist simply for opposing
    Obama’s policies and liberals who see no other explanation for such deep dislike
    of the president.
    It is an accusation almost impossible to prove, yet it remains inseparable
    from the African-American experience. The idea, which seemed to die in 2008 when
    Obama became the first black president, is now rearing its head from college
    campuses to cable TV as the Democratic incumbent faces Mitt Romney, the white
    Republican challenger.

    Just look at that first sentence! Race has become one of the most divisive
    topics of this election? To whom? When? The latest news story on Obama is that
    he’s going after Mitt Romney on the Medicare issue. Romney is on the campaign
    trail too, and he’s talking about jobs. NO ONE is talking about race, except
    maybe this AP “journalist.”

    Then there’s the next sentence which reads, “It is sowing anger and
    frustration among conservatives who are labeled racist simply for opposing
    Obama’s policies and liberals who see no other explanation for such deep dislike
    of the president.” Wow! Does this “reporter” honestly think that all liberals
    feel that any opposition to Barack Obama is racial? What about the dwindling
    crowds at his own rallies. Those should be full of screaming liberals like they
    were four years ago, right? Why are they not showing up? Could it be that they
    are frustrated with Obama’s policies and inability to turn the economy around?
    Hmmmm… Maybe they are racists too?

    The article goes on and on and on. In this entire column, I’ve only analyzed
    three sentences so far, and yet the meaning of the entire news story is clear.
    Go ahead, check it out. See if you can read through the entire thing. If you can
    make it through a few more paragraphs, you will read from an “expert” who

    “We’re at a tipping point,” said Susan Glisson, director of the Institute for
    Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi. “But I don’t know which
    way we’re going to tip.”
    Glisson knows that many conservatives disagree with Obama solely because of
    his policies. “But I am also quite certain that there are others who object to
    the president because of his race, because they have a fear of blacks that is
    embedded in our culture,” she said.

    What about all those people who voted for him simply BECAUSE he is black? (or
    half black)

    This “news” story is a perfect example of what to look for when reading the
    news. There are issues that people are concerned about, and there are issues
    that the media want you to be concerned about. Don’t fall for it!

  • Albert Lickenspittle

    This is classic spinning. Everyone wants to be poor? Wow, what stupidity. People will live in rat infested apartments just to get a free sandwich. The Republicans have been selling this race baiting hate spewing crap for a long time, but election time is a great time to roll out all the old standbys. Now get to work an whup up some guns, gays, and god crap. Be sure to say socialist, or is it Marxist?