that “It is the responsibility of the government to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves.” In 1987, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, fully 62 percent expressed this view. For independents, the figure has dropped from 70 percent in 1987 to 59 percent today.
Wehner does point out that it could be an issue of wording of the question.
The question was phrased as “It is the responsibility of the gov’t to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves.”
Personally, I would have phrased it “it is a responsibility of government to take care of people who don’t take care of themselves.”
The word the could imply to a reasonable person that it excludes other legitimate functions. And who wants to go on record as opposing those other legitimate functions, though by answering in the negative to the question as written means you go on the record opposing taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves.
Matt Lewis at the Daily caller writes:
But let’s not discount the possibility that some of today’s conservatives have, amid their anti-government zeal, forgotten that caring for those who truly cannot care for themselves is, in fact, a legitimate purpose for government. Created as a legitimate response to overreach, the Tea Party (and many of its adherents) now seem to rage against the very idea of government — at least as we know it today. That’s a concern. There are proper functions of government.
As it is, count me firmly in the camp of the belief that government has a role in taking care of those who can’t (not won’t, but can’t) take care of themselves. My libertarian inclinations do not extend to throwing people to the wolves.
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