Startling new research: the more government “benefits” a person receives, the more that person hates government

New research demonstrates what most people already know:

Government social spending has grown substantially over the past 50 years, even as wages have stagnated.

The new book by Cornell political scientist Suzanne Mettler, “The Government-Citizen Disconnect” examines 21 federal programs including Social Security, Medicaid, SNAP, and the home mortgage interest deduction. Mettler finds that 96 percent of adults have received benefits from at least one of these policies, and that the average person has utilized five government programs. What’s more, those who get the most tend to have the most negative anti-government attitudes.

Mettler is supportive of expansive government programs and expresses astonishment. But the explanation is a simple one: government is a horrible guest, neighbor, provider, and confidant. Those who know government best are most likely to regard it as an enemy. Those who adore and trust intrusive government have had the least firsthand knowledge of it.