One of the most galling moments for hard-left Democrats in the last two decades was Bill Clinton embracing welfare reform. Gone were the days that welfare acted as a black hole that sucked people in and kept them there. The spirit of the law was changed from one of dependence to one of independence, removing from the law books a set of incentives that created a permanent underclass.
To most Americans, this was a victory and a reinforcement of the principles of self-determination upon which this nation was founded. To the far left, this was a stinging rebuke of their core beliefs. Now that they’re in power, they seek reinstate dependency as a core value of the federal government. The rhetoric has been clear for months. They want dependency on the state for health care, jobs, mortgages, and banking. They want each of us to have no choice but to live an life inexorably entangled with bureaucrats.
Now, the stimulus package sees the first implementations of those desires. Mickey Kaus points to a line item intented to increase the number of welfare recipients:
A State meets the requirement of this clause for a quarter if the average monthly assistance caseload of the State for the quarter exceeds the average monthly assistance caseload of the State for the corresponding quarter in the emergency fund base year of the State.
States are rewarded for keeping their welfare numbers up. Get people off welfare and back to work? Lose the grant. Get more people on welfare? Get a bigger grant.
On the health care front, Democrats are acting like dope dealers, pushing the first hit of Medicaid on people who’ve lost jobs:
Under “stimulus,” Medicaid is now on offer not to just poor Americans, but Americans who have lost their jobs. And not just Americans who have lost their jobs, but their spouses and their children. And not Americans who recently lost their jobs, but those who lost jobs, say, early last year. And not just Americans who already lost their jobs, but those who will lose their jobs up to 2011. The federal government is graciously footing the whole bill. The legislation also forbids states to apply income tests in most cases.
House Democrat Henry Waxman was so thrilled by this blowout, it was left to Republicans to remind him that the very banking millionaires he dragged to the Hill last year for a grilling would now qualify for government aid. His response? A GOP proposal to limit subsidies to Americans with incomes under $1 million was accepted during markup, but had disappeared by final passage. In this new health-care nirvana, even the rich are welcome. CBO estimates? An additional 1.2 million on the federal Medicaid dime in 2009.
Even the tax “cuts” reek of dependency. Instead of implementing tax rate cuts, the Democrats are proposing one-time refundable tax credits. These are transfer payments granted by the beneficence of the current congress and administration. True tax cuts allow people to keep the money they’ve earned. These payments allow the government to give money to those they think deserve it.
This fundamental mindset, that people should depended on government for wealth and health, is incompatible with a free society. The patriotic thing for all Americans to do is to oppose this mindset and all actions that flow from it, including the stimulus bill.