Over at the Plum Line, Greg Sergeant talks about a couple of issues we have discussed here. First, that you don’t pay federal taxes or even that you have received federal aid does not mean that you approve of the government’s efforts to increase dependency.
On “dependency,” the study finds that large numbers of working class whites (46 percent) have received Social Security or disability payments over the last two years; more than a fifth have received food stamps; 19% have received unemployment.
Yet the study also finds that three quarters of working class whites believe poor people have become too dependent on government assistance. There’s obviously overlap there, which bears out what some have already pointed out — many of these voters simply won’t think Romney’s comments about the freeloading 47 percent, or about government “dependency” in general, are about them.
I think this can be summed up by the line the argument that support of a social safety net does not mean that you want it used like a hammock in order to take a permanent vacation from the labor force. Of course none of these people believe they, themselves are in the hammock… even if they are.
He goes on…
But the findings on “redistribution” are also revealing. White working class voters want to soak the rich, and they agree with key aspects of Obama’s views about capitalism and inequality.
Nearly two thirds of working class whites want to hike taxes on those over $1 million. More than half say one of our biggest problems is that we “don’t give everyone an equal chance in life.” Seventy-eight percent of them blame America’s economic problems on corporations moving jobs overseas and 69 percent on Wall Street making risky decisions.
This is the issue we talked about in the post entitled “What the hell is the deal with Iowa?” Working class whites may generally support Republicans, but they don’t necessarily understand how the economy works. They often have a very simplified view of the world and believe that the rich are somehow responsible for their, well, not being rich. They are suspicious of corporations, capitalism and want more equality even if it is imposed from above. This is the populist song of Barack Obama and it is pleasant to the ears of a large subset of under-educated, white, working class person.
A white, working class, Obama supporter accepts transfer payments from the government but doesn’t see himself as in anyway dependent on the government. He believes he is the victim of “fat cats” who don’t give him a chance in order to keep him from achieving any level of social equality. These are the people at whom the Romney-Killed-My-Wife ad were directed.