Republicans Love-Hate Relationship With Government

Posted by | October 2, 2011 10:30 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Gregg Easterbrook writes about the irony of Republicans decrying government at the same time they use every means possible to try and take over the government (it wouldn’t be ironic if any of them besides Ron Paul really wanted to follow libertarianism to its logical conclusion).  Easterbrook’s best point though is about the voters the GOP is courting.

But there may be a larger dynamic – that voters, not candidates, are the biggest hypocrites.

Suzanne Mettler, author of the terrific, and terrifically important, new book The Submerged State, points out that in a 2008 Cornell Survey Research poll, 57 percent of Americans denied they had ever benefited from any “government social program.” But then asked specifically if they had used student loans, the mortgage-interest deduction, Social Security and other common government social programs, it turned out almost every one of them had.

The Republican presidential candidates who denounce government, yet enjoy cushy government jobs, reflect the two-faced nature of much of the electorate.

As Elizabeth Warren said recently, anyone who has driven on a road, gotten an education, or relied on the police has needed the government.  As Mettler elaborates, many of us (including Republicans) have needed much more.  Maybe, like Ron Paul, the other candidates should explain to their constituents exactly which benefits the voters will lose if they vote for them.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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