The most common political question I get from family and friends these days is this: with unprecedented economic stagnation, a terrible job market, and radical policies and scandals from the current administration, why is Obama still ahead, or at worst, tied with Romney?
While I’d like to blame some of this on the weakness of the Republican candidate, there is something more fundamental taking place. I firmly believe that if Reagan were to be reincarnated and run for president, he would probably win, but not in a 49-state landslide like he did in 1984. What has changed? Dependency and demographics. To a large extent, the two are related.
Yesterday, Investor’s Business Daily put together a string of recent reports detailing some of the most pungent statistics concerning the growing rate of dependency in this country. Here are the tidbits:
• In the second quarter of 2011, 107 million Americans were receiving some kind of government welfare — not including Medicare or Social Security — according to a new study from the Senate Budget Committee. That’s up from 97 million just over two years ago.
• In the last three months, more people have applied for Social Security disability payments than found jobs in the private sector, federal data show.
• A new economic study says almost half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets — a sad comment on how government has displaced personal initiative and private savings in preparing for retirement.
• IRS data show that almost half of all Americans — 49.5% of us — pay no income taxes at all.
• In today’s federal budget, 70% of all spending now goes to aid for individuals such as housing, food, income, student aid or other forms of welfare.
• Still another study estimates that total U.S. long-term debt now stands at $211 trillion, up $11 trillion in just one year, thanks to growing red ink from out-of-control entitlement spending.
It’s hard to run against the Democrat’s self-fulfilling ability to create dependency and generate permanent electoral constituencies. Democrats don’t care about the future of this country. That’s why they can blithely issue more debt and appoint people to the Fed who will print more money to feed the rapacious appetite of the dependency state. They feel that they’ll be long gone when the system comes crashing down. Besides, nobody will remember who precipitated the fiscal calamity in the first place.
Here’s one final nugget from the IBD piece:
• New Census data show 43% of all immigrants remain on welfare 20 years after arriving in the U.S., a stunning statistic suggesting the old model of immigration being a path to opportunity may have broken down in the Age of Obama.
Republicans are too scared to combat illegal immigration; they certainly don’t have an appetite to push reforms of our legal system in an effort to limit the massive wave of low-skilled immigrants over the past few decades. Many of them are caught up in the nostalgia of the successes from previous waves of immigration. But as noted by IBD, the welfare state has changed the dynamics of immigration. By letting in millions of low-skilled immigrants each decade, we are ensuring a robust growth of the welfare state – something that did not exist in the large wave of immigration from 1881-1924. And by extension, we are supplying Democrats with a permanent electoral majority. Unlike previous eras of immigration, much of the current wave is encouraged not to assimilate. As such, we are not seeing a trend towards the Republican Party by much of the second generation, as we did earlier in the century.
At some point, Republicans must get serious about reforming the welfare state and our immigration system. They need to enact reforms the next time they assume full control over the federal government, lest we be relegated to a permanent minority. The clock is ticking, and the numbers are working against us….
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