Reagan was right, of course.
But it is not No. 1. That distinction belongs to California.
Liberal California discourages eligible people from signing up for food stamps at rates conservative activists elsewhere envy. Only about half of the Californians who qualify for help get it.
That stands in contrast to other states, including some deeply Republican ones, that enroll 80% to 90% of those with incomes low enough to qualify.
That public policy paradox — one of the country’s most liberal states is the stingiest on one of the nation’s biggest benefit programs — has several causes, some intentional, some not. It also has two clear consequences: Millions of Californians don’t get help, and the state leaves hundreds of millions of dollars of federal money on the table.
Late in 2010 I was being interviewed by a progressive author and she asked why I thought the government shouldn’t be providing health care. I replied that it’s because I don’t think it can and then I went into my longtime anti-bureaucracy rant.
The merits of one program after another don’t even need to be considered, bureaucracy exists solely to bloat itself, has almost zero accountability and therefore doesn’t really worry about what its purported mission is.
This is a classic example. The hot mess of bureaucratic hoops keep poor people in California from getting food stamps. The author of this article takes great pains to avoid that fact, even throwing in a dig at Texas which had nothing to with the piece at the beginning.
The government doesn’t really help because the government really can’t help. It’s that simple.