It’s pretty easy to see what the 2022 midterm elections will be about. It’s this: Do you want to vote yourselves more benefits from the federal government? That will be the bottom-line issue.
The choice will be clear and the contrast very stark. If you want things like free community college, student loan debt cancellation, rent help, eviction moratoriums, free health care via Medicare expansion, free pre-kindergarten for all children, and on and on, then vote for Democratic candidates.
On the other hand, if you’re worried about tax increases, inflation, more government control and reduced individual responsibility, then vote for Republican candidates.
A lot of wise political philosophers over the decades have noted that the Achilles’ heel of democracy is the ability of citizens to vote themselves more and more government largesse. It’s pretty tempting to do so.
That’s especially true because certainly, in this election, it’s not just low-income people who stand to benefit. I remember when government welfare was mostly for poor people. Now middle-income folks are eligible for all sorts of government help. And there will be a lot more of it if Democrats win big majorities in the U.S. House and Senate.
Let’s say, for example, you’re a couple earning $140,000 a year and you have four young children. Right now you’re probably getting an extra $1,000 to $1,200 a month, depending on the age of your children, for your child tax credits provided by the Biden COVID-19 relief bill. And a lot of Democrats want to make that monthly payment permanent.
Who can’t use an extra $12,000 to $14,000 a year — free from the government — even if you make up to $150,000 a year?
So, here’s the political question that will be extremely relevant in 2022: Will you vote for politicians who created this program and want to make it permanent? Or will you vote for politicians who want to kill it? In other words, will the monthly payment influence your vote? Will you vote yourself more government largesse?
This is not a new issue, of course. But it’s a bigger issue than ever before because the potential government benefits are greater than ever in the nation’s history. By Election Day 2022, the Democrats may or may not have passed their $3.5 trillion human infrastructure bill — an unfathomable amount of money enabling an array of benefits that could not even have been imagined just a few years ago. It’s possible the fate of that legislation will be determined by the election.
I’m somehow on a lot of political email lists, and I get all the emails and press releases from the Democratic National Committee. Over the past several days I’ve received dozens of messages with links to numerous news stories about very happy families receiving their child tax credit — $250 or $300 a month per child, for people with incomes up to $150,000. Lots of American families are very pleased to receive that extra money.
So that’s the big question for 2022: Do you love that “free” money coming in every month? Would you like even more free stuff from the federal government? No doubt, it’s very enticing.
And it will be very interesting to see what the American people decide.