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Black and blue
Blacks, Elderly to Government: Stop Helping Us

Is skepticism toward government programs growing in a key liberal demographic? The Washington Post reports on new research finding that African Americans have become more hostile to government programs—even those they benefit from. Here’s the gist of the findings, contained in a report presented at the Brookings Institution:

Blacks are still far more supportive of governmental redistribution than the population as a whole. The elderly used to be as supportive, but now they are more likely to be opposed. What’s more, opposition is growing among these groups to the kinds of redistributive policies that benefit them in particular. Blacks have become more opposed to the idea that the government should help members of racial minorities. The elderly are increasingly adamant that the government should not provide health insurance — despite their fondness for Medicare, a federal program […]

Whatever the reason, when asked specifically whether the government should do more to help blacks and members of other minorities, blacks have become more likely to say that it should not.

It’s not clear exactly why the attitudes are shifting this way. The Washington Post story offers some partial explanations—for instance, seniors may oppose health care insurance expansion because they think it will hurt their Medicare plans. But these explanations don’t account for all the data described in the Brookings report. Perhaps part of these trends is just another aspect of growing distrust in government and the experts that run it. We’ve noted that homeschooling, for example, which is rising among African Americans, is a vote of no confidence in public schools and the teachers who staff them. In his essay on the death of the “emerging democratic majority,” John Judis provided further support for this thinking by looking at the recent midterm results and other factors shaping American politics. Judis argues that middle-class Asians and Hispanics are poised to break right in greater numbers than people once expected, and that millennials in particular “[lack] confidence in government” at greater rates now.

Perhaps the Brookings data reflects these attitudes—and if so, that could be welcome news for the GOP. It’s not likely that either of these groups really does want cuts to the government support they currently get. But they apparently will say they don’t want more government programs, and the big question is whether they will vote accordingly. That’s a question on which a good deal of American politics could depend.

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  • Andrew Allison

    The report acknowledges that the opposition to government funded health insurance among the elderly is health insurance for others (ACA), not themselves. By the same token, I suspect the opposition of African-Americans to to the idea that the government should help members of racial minorities really means other racial minorities.

    • Corlyss

      I was about to say the same thing. The blacks suddenly get fiscal religion when it looks like Latinos will take a lot of the sugar they get from Uncle Sugar. The Blue model can’t generate enough money to turn Latinos into the plantation voters the blacks have been ever since Johnson realized that stealing the Republicans civil rights legislative iniatives would boost Republican votes in the South. Latinos are too ambitious to stiffly all that for the good of the party. If blacks hadn’t been so obsessed with reparations they probably would have tumbled to the Dem scam a long time ago. For 90 years the south knew the Dems were their bulwark against Republican efforts to change their way of life. And in the blink of an eye, Johnson, who probably thought he was doing a good thing, turned on the south and pitched it straight into the waiting arms of the Republican Party!

  • Pete

    The Democrat Party should die. The sooner it does, the better the country will be.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Is it just me, or does this article—-and the last paragraph in particular—-reveal a whiff of hope that blacks and the elderly can be yelled at with political noise (including OBVIOUSLY twisted poll questions) until they finally vote against their own interests in desperation? Then the GOP would laugh at them, right?

    Poll results which cannot be explained are ALWAYS the result of fuzzy, over-generalized poll questions.

    • Corlyss

      LOL I bet you think that ISNT exactly what the Dems have been doing for the last 60+ years! LOL

      • FriendlyGoat

        Neither Republicans nor Democrats should be asking out-of-context questions which then result in the pollster wondering which of many factors might have caused whatever response gets registered.

        “Is America on the right track or wrong track”? Wow. Three quarters or more are mad at something and ready to say “wrong track”. Nothing but a cloud of smoke is the result of the effort.

        • Corlyss

          I sense there’s a knock on me, most likely for responding to something I misconstrued. Wouldn’t be the first time, but can you be a little more specific? What the hell are you talking about. Here’s what I thought you were expressing incredulity at: blacks being persuaded that continuing to vote Democratic is hostile to their long-term interests. I’ve heard that often enough from a variety of people, but never, no NEVER, from Dem ops, which is understandable. The Dem ops are the snake-oil salesmen. They’ll never tell the blacks they’re getting a bum deal.

          Meanwhile . . .

          • FriendlyGoat

            Most blacks are not Ben Carson and Herman Cain and Michael Steele. You can find some people of a certain skin tone to support or oppose anything. This does not mean that large numbers of African Americans are suddenly seeing the GOP light, as you wish to imagine.

          • Corlyss

            “You can find some people of a certain skin tone to support or oppose anything.”

            Typical Liberal contempt for blacks.

            “you wish to imagine”

            Au contraire. I think the blacks will remain politically naïve for many decades to come, as long as their liberal allies can keep screwing money out of the taxpayers to the tune of the trillions that have been spent on them since 1964, in spite of the best efforts of people like Bill Cosby, Jason Reilly, Shelby Steel, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams.

          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s not contempt for blacks for me to maintain that John Lewis still knows what he is talking about.

            If you prefer the likes of Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas, that’s up to you.

          • Corlyss

            John Lewis is still stck in the 1950s. And you still can’t seem to harmonize your opinion with the fact staring you in the face lo these 30 years. Until blacks stop settling for Dems Sugar Plantation in return for their humanity, they are going to be unsalvageable as individuals and as a race.

          • FriendlyGoat

            LBJ stole the ideas for civil rights and voting rights from conservatives, you say? That must be similar to Obamacare being ideas stolen from Romneycare and from the conservative alternatives previously put forward against Hillarycare in the 1990’s. But did you notice who actually passed these things and who didn’t? Did you notice who has been complaining about the passage of such things?

          • Corlyss

            “But did you notice who actually passed these things and who didn’t?”
            Re: civil rights, are you going to make me keep giving you history lessons? Surely you have more pride than to keep being lectured about what you don’t know.
            As a matter of fact, more Republicans voted for the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts than Democrats did, and the only reason the few Democrats that did vote for them did so because LBJ knew where their bodies were buried and threatened them with exposure. LBJ may have always believed in rights for blacks but as long as he was in the Senate he fought it tooth and nail as Senate Majority Leader. Republicans had been proposing civil rights and anti-lynching laws for decades only to founder on the rock of Democratic opposition. You do know, right, that before the Post Reconstruction Dems passed the Jim Crow laws, and while the Union Army under the control of the Republican Congress enforced emancipation, blacks universally voted Republican? Tell me you know that much.
            Republicans as a party have never been in favor of national health care and remain so to this day. Romney was in no position to change that. Why? Because conservative Republicans are preternaturally opposed to the steady accretions of power to the central state. Progressive Republicans are no different from Progressive Democrats.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I could say I appreciate you enlightening me on all the twists of sympathies embraced by named Republicans and named Democrats over 100 or more years. I hope you would say the same to me when I remind you of what was done to the Voting Rights Act by five Republican justices acting ALONE in 2013 with Shelby County vs. Holder.

            We know who brought that case, We know who argued to dilute the Voting Rights Act. We know who ridiculously decided it in defiance of overwhelming Congressional renewal of the original legislation. We know who applauded the outcome. And we know which party has been taking advantage of it wherever they can.

            Republicans are as Republicans do in the present. It’s all that matters in the present.

          • Corlyss

            I somehow don’t think one SCOTUS decision offsets a looooong history of Republican support for black civil rights on many fronts but I admit I don’t know much beyond the top line on Shelby County vs. Holder, so I’ll have to look it over to get the subtleties.
            But while I’m doing that, be thinking of why in 2013, with the exponential improvement in black voting and black national and local office-holding in former bastions of Jim Crow, services to blacks, and black employment ANY American state should continue to be “supervised” by the Federal government. It’s like a modern Reconstruction period throwback. One was understandable in the aftermath of a war; the other was an obscene offense against the Constitution.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, to your last sentence, I do not believe that most policy runs on old-fashioned white/black racism, even in the worst states. I believe voting policy in ALL Republican-governed states runs on the idea of how many poor people can be dissuaded from voting by any means possible—-BECAUSE—-those people, if they do vote, will generally be voting against the GOP effort to pass more high-end tax cuts and fuggedabout everyone else.
            In states with lots of poor blacks, that means dissuading the poor blacks. In other states it may be focused more on dissuading poor Hispanics, poor whites or poor women.

            But the point is the same in all of them. How can the Chamber of Commerce, the country clubs and the right-wing churches turn out THEIR votes and eliminate those from the food pantry, bus-rider, part-time-scheduled class? Answer: They get their legislatures to rig the game by any and every means possible. Inconvenient voting. Tricks designed to confuse voters as to the date of election day or the poll locations or their hours. Gerrymandering. Voter ID. You name it. That’s why any number of our states NEED federal supervision. There is ALWAYS a new scam underway and the state governments lead them.

          • Corlyss

            “I believe voting policy in ALL Republican-governed states runs on the idea of how many poor people can be dissuaded from voting by any means possible—-BECAUSE—-those people, if they do vote, will generally be voting against the GOP effort to pass more high-end tax cuts and fuggedabout everyone else.”
            You’re impossible. You can believe what you want. It would be nice if occasionally, even by accident, what you believed actually conformed to facts on the ground. How many times does the DoJ Civil Rights division have to investigate the rumors of voter suppression and find them groundless, even in THIS most race-baiting administration, to convince you there’s no such thing as this trope about Republicans’ suppressing the poor vote?

          • FriendlyGoat

            You don’t want to admit what the big “Voter ID” movement is about, a movement only driven anywhere by the GOP. Almost no Republicans ever do admit that. It’s one of the many lack-of-honesty reasons I don’t support them.

            I live in a state where the GOP Secretary of State (in a campaign) said:
            “If even one ineligible person casts an improper vote then every citizen in the state is disenfranchised.”

            Nobody would allow a math teacher in ANY school (public or right-wing private) to teach such a profound mathematical impossibility to children in a math context. Yet the GOP thinks this is proper fare for campaign logic. I say they are a nest of serial fibbers.

  • hecate9

    Is it just my imagination or are there a lot of GOP shills on this site?
    The fundamental problem is not a particular party- it’s parties period. We need less party partisans – fewer true believers-and more people who know how to get something done. We have become a nation of courts and parties. Weak central government has allowed special interests to fill the power vacuum. Some of the special interests are aligned with one party, some with the other. Getting more Republicans (or Democrats) elected is not going to fix things-fundamentally.
    Read part IV of Political Order and Political Decay. Read “American Democracy is Doomed” by Matt Yglesias in Vox (3/2/15). Educate yourself. Get an analysis that’s more intelligent than “the Democrat party should die.”

    • Corlyss

      Love the name, Hecate!

      “We need less party partisans – fewer true believers-and more people who know how to get something done.”

      Probably the Whigs and the Dems said the same thing about the slavery debate 160 years ago. Here’s the rub. We have a nation that is pretty evenly divided on what to do. Everyone agrees that something needs to be done, but what is that? Do we want perpetual state subsidies, even tho’ we know they lead to loss of freedom to decide and tyranny, or do we want to have some personal space for some adult-like risk-taking and decision-making without state interference and the likely loss of all that cozy safety-net that cocoons us in aggressive care-taking? There’s no shame, IMO, in fighting for the side you pick, i.e., being a partisan, because eventually, as in the slavery debate, everyone will have to pick a side, there cannot be any “dropping out” of the contest.

      Personally, whenever someone says “we have to stop fighting so we can get something done,” I hear “shut up criticizing the government so we can pass another law limiting freedom in the name of community.” Just my experience. Yours may be different.

  • Kevin

    Maybe. But you can’t beat something with nothing. Until someone offers a credible plan (credible to blacks that is) to improve the lives of black Americans that doesn’t depend on greater government spending (government employment and/or employment preferences for the middle class and transfer payments for the poor) I suspect blacks will continue voting overwhelmingly for Democrats (and not usually centrist ones at that).

    • Corlyss

      “Until someone offers a credible plan (credible to blacks that is) to improve the lives of black Americans that doesn’t depend on greater government spending”

      Honestly, I don’t think it really matters. Blacks have rendered themselves irrelevant between monolithic voting, their devotion to their learned helplessness, their males apparent determination to kill each other or engage in criminal activity, and their failure to grow their portion of the electorate. They have taught both modern parties to ignore them. The minorities who will count in the future, if they don’t go down the same road, will be the Asians and the Latinos. If the Republicans are going to do any cultivating, it should be those two minorities.

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