Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” remarks, in which he told attendees at a private fundraiser that he could “never convince” people who receive government benefits “that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” became one of the most damaging moments of his campaign. Now, another Republican candidate is adopting similar language.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee in the state’s 2013 gubernatiorial race, will release a new book in February to burnish his conservative credentials. In excerpts reviewed by the Washington Post, Cuccinelli takes a similar tack to Romney, criticizing both politicians who “dispense subsidized government benefits” like Medicare and Social Security and Americans who “vote for those politicians…rather than the fiscally responsible” candidates:
“One of their favorite ways to increase their power is by creating programs that dispense subsidized government benefits, such as Medicare, Social Security, and outright welfare (Medicaid, food stamps, subsidized housing, and the like). These programs make people dependent on government. And once people are dependent, they feel they can’t afford to have the programs taken away, no matter how inefficient, poorly run, or costly to the rest of society.” […]
“Citizens will vote for those politicians who promise more benefits each year, rather than the fiscally responsible politicians who try to point out that such programs are unsustainable and will eventually bankrupt the states or the nation.
“Creating government dependency is the typical method of operation for big-government statists.”
Cuccinelli’s attacks on a “culture of dependency” are common among top Republican politicians, but they ignore facts about the programs he criticized. Social safety net programs keep millions of people out of poverty each year — without safety net programs that provide food and housing assistance, unemployment insurance, Social Security, Medicaid, and any number of other services, more than a quarter of Americans would have lived in poverty last year, doubling the already historically-high rate.
Cuccinelli spares no one when it comes to his attacks on safety net, though. In a little-noticed speech at a religious conference last year, he blasted the Catholic Church for creating “a culture of dependency on government, not God.”