Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Does the “Left” actually need people to be on welfare to win elections?

This guest post by  Nick Sorrentino is something we might wonder about Labour…

First, what is called “Right ” and “Left” in politics today is increasingly up for grabs. The left-wing/right-wing political paradigm makes much less sense now that a significant part of the population self identifies as “libertarian,” which does not fit into the 20th Century way of looking at politics.


But the question of terminology is less important than whether those who advocate ever-larger government have to keep people “hooked” on welfare of one sort or another in order to win elections. Whether creating dependence on government is in itself a political strategy.

These are pretty fair questions. If the government sends money in the mail, and one comes to rely of that money, would one ever vote for someone who threatens to limit or eliminate that check? Probably not.

Is it fair then to say that statist politicians might actually seek to expand government reliance simply to increase their political power?

I think the answer is obviously yes. But I’ll leave the question open, especially for our lefty readers.

And I’ll ask another related question.

Isn’t the elimination of various types of welfare 100% the ultimate goal? Isn’t that what we’d want ideally? A private sector so vital that the issue of jobs is a non issue? Isn’t that where we’d want to go, and isn’t that what we should be aiming for?

Or are there people who in fact need other people to rely on government to remain in power? Political people who need other humans to remain permanent wards of the state. Modern serfs. And that’s a kind way of putting it.

Here’s a case study, from IBD.com:

Brazil's Election Shows How The Left Thrives On Welfare Dependency
A Brazilian economist has shown a near-exact correlation between last Sunday’s presidential election voting choices and each state’s welfare ratios. Sure enough, handouts are the lifeblood of the left…

    [“Centre-right challenger] Aecio Neves won 34% of the vote, [leftist incumbent] Dilma Rousseff took 42% and green party candidate Marina Silva took about 20% — and on Thursday, Silva endorsed Neves, making it a contest of free-market ideas vs. big-government statism.
    But what's even more telling is an old story — shown in an infographic by popular Brazilian economist Ricardo Amorim.
    In a Twitter post, Amorim showed a near-exact correlation among Brazil's states' welfare dependency and their votes for leftist Workers Party incumbent Rousseff.
    Virtually every state that went for Rousseff has at least 25% of the population dependent on Brazil's Bolsa Familia welfare program of cash for single mothers, given for keeping children vaccinated and in school.
    States with less than 25% of the population on Bolsa Familia overwhelmingly went for Neves and his policies of growth….Brazil elections c                          c    Fact is, the left cannot survive without a vast class of dependents. And once in, dependents have difficulty getting out.
    So Brazil's election may come down to a question of whether it wants to be a an economic powerhouse — or a handout republic.

Read More At Investor's Business Daily: Brazil's Election Shows How The Left Thrives On Welfare Dependency

Nick SorrentinoNick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org . A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, his work has been featured at Breitbart.com, Reason.com, NPR.com, Townhall, The Daily Caller, and many other publications. A graduate of Mary Washington College he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
This post first apppeared at Against Crony Capitalism.


  1. Yes they do. It has been standard procedure here in NZ since the turn of the century

    1. Put large numbers of people on the State payroll (99% of whom are unnecessary)
    2. Run a 24/7 campaign (speeches, press conferences, interviews etc) attacking those who would stop these welfare programs, with images of elderly people living under bridges, widows and orphans cast into the snow etc
    3. Instil this 'public good' into children at school (so everyone under 25 is fully indoctrinated)
    4. Have state agencies such as IRD regularly saying "tax dodgers are cheating their neighbours" etc
    5. Demonise right wing politicians as being cruel and heartless for taking food from the mouths of the needy
    6. Attack media people for not demonising right wing politicians - "you are failing in your duty if you will let him cast widows and children into the snow"
    7. Right wing politicians start to get nervous about all the personal abuse they receive
    8. Right wing politicians get sick of losing elections and .....simply give up

    It has been devastatingly effective in New Zealand although, ironically, not for the benefit of the left wing parties.

    The National party saw the demonization and abuse suffered by Ruth Richardson and Jenny Shipley a generation ago and had no intention of falling into that trap again - so borrowed $50 billion to spend on welfare; basically buying votes and popularity.

    So successful has this been in NZ we have the situation whereby even the libertarians - deep down - don't actually believe much of what they say; believe calls to end welfare is doing something wrong.
    Believe all their friends who think they are a**holes are 'probably' correct haha! (as was demonstrated at the recent election by at least 4 ACT candidates who are self styled libertarians)

    In a funny sort of way I am very impressed at the success of the left wingers; if you look at how they have managed to dehumanise 1/3 of the population - turn them into welfare sated morons - and that receives applause and votes from the other 2/3rds it really is remarkable.

    Their power is unchallenged - and will always be unchallenged probably for the rest of this century.

  2. "So successful has this been in NZ we have the situation whereby even the libertarians - deep down - don't actually believe much of what they say; believe calls to end welfare is doing something wrong."

    The history of welfare shows a swing from state to charity and back, more than once in countries older than NZ. I'm committed to less government welfare but won't call for an end to it.

    1/ The public sentiment that pervasive dependency has engendered in the rest of the population has reduced a willingness to voluntarily support people.

    2/ Ending working-age welfare as a policy is unelectable. Non-beneficiaries looking at family members who will become their responsibility won't vote for it. When the state was 'lean and mean' even distant family members could be dragged through the courts to pay maintenance.

    3/ It takes time to educate people towards self-sufficiency. We are on the downside of the welfare-cycle. You can take heart from that, if nothing else.


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