Thomas Sowell

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 reelection 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 reelected 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.

The Obama administration is shamelessly advertising in the media -- whether on billboards or on television -- for people to get on food stamps. Welfare state bureaucrats have been sent into supermarkets to tell shoppers that food stamps are available.

The intelligentsia have for decades been promoting the idea that there should be no stigma to accepting government handouts. Living off the taxpayers is portrayed as a "right" or -- more ponderously -- as part of a "social contract."

You may not recall signing any such contract, but it sounds poetic and high-toned. Moreover, it wins votes among the gullible, and that is the bottom line for welfare state politicians.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate