I am impressed with Barack Obama’s recent adjustment. After being criticized by John McCain for expanding welfare (increasing payments to those who do not work)… Obama improved his position, dropped those payments, and focused on a class which we used to call the deserving poor:
Political Radar: Obama Tweaks Tax Plan to Rebut McCain
Facing criticism from John McCain that his tax plan constitutes “welfare,” Barack Obama recently added a work requirement to one of his proposals.
“They started saying this was welfare,” said Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee. “So, just so they would absolutely not be able to say that, we decided that for the last two percent we’ll simply add a work requirement.”
Goolsbee referred to the number of non-working Americans who would benefit from the original understanding of Obama’s plan as an insignificant “sliver” when compared to the much larger number of working Americans who would benefit from Obama’s plan.
Our brains are wired to detect cheaters. Cheater detection is the part of human nature that revolts at providing subsidies to those who do not contribute fairly. One big problem that old-style tax-and-spend liberals had is that they wanted subsidizes for all those who were poor, whether they were deserving or not.
People naturally are repelled at providing to charities to encouraging social cheating, such as shirking responsibility, and it is virtuous for people to refuse to support such institutions. Too many old-fashioned Democrats were never able to see that, so potentially good social programs were either trashed out of concern the Democrats would let the cheaters in, or become magnates for cheaters themselves.
Obama, by shifting his position to try to freeze out the ‘undeserving poor,’ seems to understand that. And that’s a good thing.