…and most of the Republicans in Congress don’t really seem to want to do very much of it.
There’s a reason for that: human nature. Such cuts are unpopular with people.
Ever since the 1930s, this country and Europe have fostered an ever-expanding percentage of people depending on government programs of various kinds. I almost wrote “government largesse” but I changed it because the word “largesse” has more of a “gift” connotation. While it is certainly the case that some people pay a minimal amount of taxes (although everyone pays sales taxes in states with them) and get a lot back, so that that group could be called recipients of a gift, and other people pay much more than they ever get, there is still a huge population in the vast middle who fall somewhere between those two extremes on the pay/receive continuum.
That means that even though most of us have never been and will never be on welfare or food stamps, the majority of us are looking forward to that Social Security check and that Medicare in our supposed golden years. What’s more, the economy has changed in ways that make most of us more dependent on getting that assistance—for example, the near-ubiquity of third-party payments is one of the things that has helped put a great many medical costs out of the reach of the average retired citizen if he/she had to depend on income and savings alone.
And so why should it be a surprise that, as DrewM of Ace’s writes, in speaking of the proposed Ryan budget and the fact that it only slows but does not halt the continuing growth of government:
People will keep telling pollsters they want these problems solved but when it comes to voting they will send people to DC who will support more spending (which is what the voters really want) that will only make it worse.
Please read the whole thing.
Thinking back to the growth of government under President Bush and his Republican Congress, it seems to me that Republicans face a built-in conundrum, which Bush and especially that Congress solved by becoming Democrats-lite (or maybe not even so lite). It didn’t serve to keep Congress Republican in 2006, did it, or keep the presidency in Republican hands in 2008? As the saying goes, given a choice between a fake Democrat and a real one, the public will choose the real one every time (although Bush’s election and re-election indicates the saying is not always true).
I have another question, though: how often, given the choice between a real Republican and a real Democrat, will the public choose the real Republican? Well, it depends on the state. On the national level, at least since the 1930s, the only time I can think of when the public chose a real Republican over a real Democrat was Reagan’s two victories (and the only time another “real Republican”—i.e. conservative—was nominated was in 1964, when Goldwater was defeated in a landslide). It also depends on the politicians in question and their “likeability,” whatever than means.
And it also depends on what people see as their most pressing problems, and what they feel most threatened by. It’s that latter thought that Obama exploited most effectively in the last election.
[NOTE: The above is why conservatives were so worried about the passage of Obamacare and why the Democrats were so eager to pass it ASAP, despite its lack of public support at the time. “Try it, you’ll like it,” was the bet the Democrats made, and the Republicans knew it might indeed work just that way.
Notice how, since the election of 2012, there hasn’t been so much talk of doing away with it, since the Senate would be an obstacle and Obama’s veto would also stand in the way? However, Ted Cruz is still on the case:
]This week, [Cruz] will introduce an amendment he calls “Restore Growth First” as the Senate considers a continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of the year. The amendment would cut funding for the implementation of Obamacare, at least until economic growth — currently at a terrible 0.1 percent — returns to its historic average of about 3.3 percent.
“My preference is to repeal Obamacare in its entirety,” says Cruz. “But at a minimum, it doesn’t make sense to implement Obamacare now. It would kill jobs, it would have an enormous negative impact on the economy.”
Of course, actually passing such an amendment is impossible, given the Democrats’ 55-seat majority in the Senate. The question is whether Cruz, his co-sponsors Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson and James Inhofe, and fellow Republicans would be willing to jam up the continuing resolution — that is, risk a government shutdown — over Obamacare.
“I am willing to do anything possible to ensure that we get a vote on this,” Cruz says. “There are a variety of procedural mechanisms that a senator can employ to get a vote. I am confident we are going to get that vote.”
So the vote itself is the important thing. But even pushing for a vote has exposed some serious Republican divisions on continuing the fight against Obamacare. In the House, the GOP leadership wouldn’t allow a vote on a defund-Obamacare measure before passing a continuing resolution last week. And at a meeting of Senate Republicans recently, several lawmakers spoke out against Cruz’s plan, with some raised voices. Obamacare is a reality, one lawmaker argued; there’s just been an election that was in part a referendum on it, and Republicans lost.
To Cruz, opposing Obamacare, even after it has been passed by Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court, is about sticking to principles.
I’m with Cruz on that one. But I see the dilemma, and Republicans could be successfully demonized for it.
Between a rock and a hard place.]