What GOP boosters studiously ignore is why the welfare state is so popular. It educates the young and through its growing political control, socializes or re-socializes adults. It not only sends us Social Security payments but also uses its power, including control of the public purse, to get us to act the way it wants. Government oversees education and behavior by how it distributes or withholds money and by how it enforces anti-discrimination codes. Public intervention in what used to be the private sector has grown furiously since the 1960s. What the New Deal brought forth pales in comparison to how public administration has exploded in the last 50 years.
Equally important, the volume of disposable income available to American families is now several times greater than what it was 50 years ago. Americans have become used to living with lots of gadgets and frills, and they expect government to furnish them with the services they don’t want to make allowances for, e.g., paying their medical expenses and the costs of their children’s education. Significantly, as fat and intrusive as government has become since the 1950s, it has taken less from taxpayers than the growth of their buying power has added in the same time period. Those regions with the highest incomes, such as Connecticut, are also the most receptive to government growth and control.
Unfortunately, the answer may very well be yes.
When opposition to Obamacare features protesters exhorting the government to get their hands off of Medicare, the battle may already be lost.