Kevin is back from vacation and wondering what the Republicans are up to:
I know conservatives hate to face up to this, and libertarians hate it even more, but the social safety net is really, really popular. You screw with it at your peril, and sometime soon it’s going to become clear that Republicans have no support for a policy that’s designed to cut back on them. The only question is, is “sometime soon” 2004 or 2008?
I agree with the premise–that social programs are very popular–but not necessarily the conclusion. Despite the rhetoric of some, I don’t see a lot of Republicans that are calling for getting rid of these programs. Instead, they’re for tax cuts AND big government. While that’s a rather irresponsible combo, it’s pretty popular. Certainly, more popular than being for big spending and against tax cuts.
While it’s true that a lot of the poll numbers seem to indicate that people don’t really want tax cuts (especially if they’re in the form of “Would you rather have a tax cut for the rich and a nickel for you at the cost of food for granny and the destruction of all mankind?”) voting has gone the other way. The Republicans, to the extent they talk about domestic programs at all, are sometimes willing to go out on a limb and advocate a restraint in their growth. But, mostly, they just ignore them entirely and hope that tax cuts will eventually create a limiting effect. Which, if the entire history of the welfare state is any indication, ain’t gonna happen.