So says Mike Huckabee:
[Y]ou cannot have a strong economy if you have a social structure that’s falling apart. If you look at the most runaway costs of government, it’s Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid—all of which are essentially programs government designed to pick up the pieces of broken people. There was a day in our culture when families would have taken care of their family members. Two-thirds of women today who are impoverished, their children would not be in poverty if they were married to the fathers. There’s a $3 billion Dad deficit, which is the direct cost that results from absentee fathers and single parents. I know some people who are fiscal conservatives who aren’t necessarily social conservatives, and they may even be philosophically—they just don’t think it’s all that urgent. But the truth is the social conservative movement is also the foundation of the fiscal conservative movement.
I’m basically inclined to agree with this statement.
To be sure, you can cut government spending on social problems without giving any thought to those problems, letting the chips fall where they may, but I think that it’s not only politically smarter but truer and more principled to argue that limited government works best with a healthy civil society. People who aren’t embedded in happy families or viable communities are more likely to demand help from government. And unless you think (mistakenly, I might add) that you can abolish all the programs for which they’d be eligible, you’re much better off (and, more importantly, they’re much better off) working to deal with the issues that have landed them in this predicament.
This is, of course, only the beginning of the argument or inquiry. We can still debate how best to shore up the institutions that enable human flourishing. And the checks don’t necessarily have to be signed by a government employee.